By Tressa Eckerman, Senior Staff Writer
Summer is often a mixed bag when it comes to entertainment. Good films are usually sandwiched between awful, loud shoot-um-ups, TV shows are light, fluffy summer fun, and the radio is inundated with guilty pleasure music that we’ll swear we hated by the time winter rolls around.
The summer’s first big blockbuster was a throwback to films like “E.T.” and “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.” A charming and talented young cast stars alongside “Friday Night Lights” star, Kyle Chandler.
Melissa McCarthy and Chris O’Dowd steal this R-rated comedy about a woman whose life is spinning out of control after she learns that her best friend is engaged.
“The Tree of Life”
The first Oscar contender of the summer season, legendary director Terrence Malick directs Brad Pitt, Sean Penn and Jessica Chastin in a film about a family in small town Texas with a tough father and loving mother. Also providing mediation on the meaning of life, this proves to be a truly jarring film.
A lovely character-driven, independent film about a man who finds out that his father is not only dying, but also gay. This is a sure Oscar contender.
In an adaptation of their BBC show, comedian Steve Coogan and his long time friend Rob Brydon play themselves in this gut-wrenchingly hilarious film about Coogan, who accepts a job as a food writer so he can have a romantic trip with his foodie girlfriend. She cancels and he ends up taking the trip with Brydon instead, whom he only tolerates.
Sure it was an HBO miniseries, but Kate Winslet and the always-welcome Guy Pearce are marvelous in this lush, epic story about family, survival and success.
There were so many high hopes for this comic book adaptation, but too many things went wrong. The charming Ryan Reynolds wasn’t a good fit, Blake Lively was typically wooden and the special effects were anything but special.
“Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon”
What did we ever do as an audience to make Michael Bay hate us this muh?
The word disappointment doesn’t even begin to describe this film directed by Tom Hanks. Hanks’ last directorial effort was the fun and enjoyable cult classic “That Thing You Do.” Perhaps he should have left it at that.
Cameron Diaz wore out her welcome a long time ago. Justin Timberlake could have chosen a better follow-up to his role in “The Social Network.” And doesn’t Jason Segel deserve better than this?
You can’t expect much when Kevin James’ name appears on a movie poster, but haven’t we had enough movies with talking animals?
“The Hangover Part II”
You know if Bradley Cooper can’t make a movie enjoyable, then you’re in trouble. The first film was like catching lightening in a bottle, but the laughs in this film were few and far between.
BEST TV SHOWS
This wickedly funny show returns and picks up three years after pot-dealing mom Nancy Botwin gets out of prison and moves her family to New York.
One of the best shows on TV returns for its final season. Following the men of 62 Truck Company in New York and emotionally damaged alcoholic Tommy Gavin’s family, the show comes full circle with the anniversary of 9/11.
“Torchwood: Miracle Day”
Nerds rejoice! “Torchwood” is back after almost a two-year hiatus and this time the “Doctor Who” spin-off is pulling out all the stops. Everyone in the world stops dying, while the show’s immortal hero Captain Jack Harkness becomes mortal for the first time in hundreds of years.
“Curb Your Enthusiasm”
It’s hard not to love Larry David as he returns to his old stomping grounds in New York for the final season of his beloved HBO show.
The boys are back. Thank God. Even if it is the final season of this award-winning show, there is a long-rumored movie in the works.
The bitterly funny and painfully awkward Louie C.K. returns to playing himself: a single dad in New York who is forced to deal with a world he has trouble understanding.
“Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations”
This is a truly enjoyable and smart reality show that features the feisty (and charming) chief traveling around the world and experiencing different cultures. The season premiere was in Cuba, where he reminded viewers how refreshing it is to see someone smart inhabiting our TVs.
This is the perfect summer show. Most critics might not be in love with this “Heroes” style show, but Oscar Nominee David Stratharin shines in this show about a group of extraordinarily-gifted people who work for the government.
WORST TV SHOWS
“Franklin and Bash”
This is by far the most insufferable, obnoxious and painful show to premiere in a long time. There is virtually no redeeming value in this TNT show.
Jason Lee deserves a lot better than this cliché cop show set in Memphis. All of the charm of the setting is wasted on contrived plots and just plain stupid dialogue.
Was a remake of the 1980s Michael J. Fox movie really necessary? And whose idea was it to make it a laughably serious MTV drama?
“Hot Sauce Committee Part Two”
The Beastie Boys
No one, and I mean no one, can ever touch The Beastie Boys. Even though they’ve all joked in interviews that they’re getting too old for the kind of music they do, they prove themselves wrong. This album is absolutely flawless from start to finish.
Foster the People
Anchored by the catchy hit song, “Pumped up Kicks,” Foster the People, an indie pop band from L.A., somehow manages to give some weight and credit to their genre and make a well-crafted and enjoyable album.
Even though Americans can only get these songs online, this cult British band have returned with an amazing album. They’ve always been a band that’s “oh so easy” to fall in love with and have your friends fall in love with them, too. This album, only their third, makes this task much easier.
The Black Eyed Peas
I include this only because the third single from this album, “Don’t Stop the Party,” was released in May. This overblown pop group managed to make one of the worst albums in a long time, with virtually no redeeming value in lyrics that sound like they could have been sung 10 years ago and beats that sound like something anyone could have made on a keyboard at home.
I realize I’m treading on dangerous territory because there are still some really dedicated Moby fans left over from the 90s, but did the world really need another Moby album in it?
Basically take my above statement, replace Moby with Limb Bizkit, cut the dedicated fans part and you have the same statement about this album.