Well, we've just about hit that spot in the month of August when it's time to begin assessing the summer movie season that was. What were the biggest hits and misses? Which films turned out better than you thought they would, or, alternatively, which films turned out worse? There's so much we could go over – from acting performances to best use of special effects, but for this week's Friday Five I'd like to concentrate on which five films turned out to be the most entertaining overall. Here's mine:
- Star Trek – Kudos to J.J. Abrams and his fanboy crew for transforming what had become a very dull franchise into something new, hip, electric and fun. Their re-vamped version of Star Trek – starring a cast full of hot up-and-coming faces – turned out to be a surprisingly smarter start to a summer season full of big, bold, brain-dead films. Of course the sequel is all we can think about now, but I can't be the only one who's looking forward to another go-round with the Enterprise crew on DVD.
- Up – Once again Pixar arrived during the summer months to dazzle us with a story so human and so heartwarming that it had audiences tearing up within the first five minutes. Only Pixar would take a chance on an adventurous action movie with a buddy team consisting of a cranky old man and a nosy little boy – but they pulled it off big time, and wound up churning out one of their most entertaining and satisfying movies yet.
- The Hangover – Every summer movie season needs a dirty, foul-mouthed, R-rated piece of hilarity, and The Hangover was definitely that … times ten. Todd Phillips returned to the big screen with a movie that could've easily been written off as a sequel-of-sorts to his very funny Old School – and the talented combo of Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms and Zach Galifianakis was a welcomed departure from the usual comedic standards, helping to propel this sleeper into a spot up top the very short list of this summer's best comedies.
- Moon – If 2009 will be known for anything, it will be for a much-needed surge of smart, entertaining science fiction movies. Following Star Trek's grand entrance at the beginning of the summer, June brought us a smaller, quieter sci-fi flick about a man stationed on the moon who realizes he's not alone. Sam Rockwell absolutely stole the show, and Duncan Jones (making his directorial debut) immediately became one of two fascinating new directors sure to be entertaining us for years to come.
- District 9 – The other new director is a guy named Neill Blomkamp, who, along with producing partner Peter Jackson, followed up Moon with this low-budgeted, brainy alien movie that wowed audiences and critics alike to the point where some folks are already talking Oscar nod in at least two categories: Best Screenplay and Best Picture.