Sunday, May 31

Love or Hate: Watch a summer flick or stay home?


1 Walt Disney Pictures

Welcome to the summer movie season! Today, we’re showing the usual: an action film based on your favorite franchise, a comedy film starring your favorite actors, a horror film for the adults, an animated film for the kids and a Tyler Perry movie.

Here at Daily Bruin theaters, we bring you the best summer blockbusters and biggest motion pictures you’ll find anywhere. This week, we’re hosting our last Love or Hate column of the quarter. Columnist Sebastian Torrelio supports the original amusement that only summer brings to the movies , while Tony Huang doesn’t want to bother with the film industry’s lackluster attempts to take everyone’s money.

Theater’s on your right, and popcorn is delicious but horribly expensive. Please silence your cell phone and enjoy our feature presentation.


Sebastian Torrelio

As I returned from seeing “Fast & Furious 6” this weekend, a distressing thought crossed my mind. It was good. There were jokes, flying cars, things on fire and even races with tanks (though that may have just been Dwayne Johnson running). By no means was it a great movie, but like predecessor “Fast Five,” it was good enough to make me a satisfied customer.

By all means, “The Fast and the Furious” movies appear to be cheesy, uninteresting films with no appealing characters, a trend that most of the franchise followed well. But what follows in “Fast & Furious 6” is an epitome of how fun blockbuster entertainment can be.

In the summer season, the biggest, and sometimes baddest, movies come to the forefront. I don’t have a very friendly relationship with series, such as “Transformers” and “Pirates of the Caribbean,” which insist on killing any quality they may have once had with summer sequels.  But for every one of these lackluster attempts at engaging filmmaking, a superhero movie comes to save the day, or a Pixar movie shines critically bright. They’ve come to be as consistently reliable as any poor box office-breaking attempt, if not more so.

This year has been no different. “Iron Man 3” and “Star Trek Into Darkness,” though both not as good as some other entries in their franchises, are reliably great. For those not expecting their cinematic world to change, both films satisfy with the action and humor that a summer movie should. Am I looking forward to “Despicable Me 2,” “Pacific Rim,” “Man of Steel” and “Monsters University” for the same reasons? Of course.

Summer should not be something movie-aficionados are afraid of. Sure, the best movies of the year usually come during other seasons. But there’s always enough good, maybe even great, cinematic amusement to keep interested. Fortunately enough, my favorite movie of the year so far, “Mud,” happened to release this summer anyway. But hey, that’s entertainment!


Email Torrelio at [email protected] if you’re on the “love” side.


July is the cruelest month. Its virtues and vices cancel out: an abundance of free time is countered by a deficit of anything worthwhile to do. Everyone flocks to the multiplex, and I brood.

Sure, like anyone else, I look forward to Batmans, Supermans and Spider-Mans; I ogle the newest ways computers approximate life. I wonder if the next $100 million production will be sufficiently satisfying. But I feel coerced – even when I enjoy the latest man in spandex. Summer movies slip away from me. I keep forgetting how mediocre they are because it’s too depressing to spend a whole season disappointed.

I can remember the last time I enjoyed a summer movie, and I’m still a little embarrassed: last year’s “Prometheus,” Ridley Scott’s “Alien” cash in. It’s not great. Its plot is nonsensical and its themes are half-baked. But in a sea of half-baked flicks, from “The Dark Knight Rises” to “The Amazing Spider-Man,” it reigned supreme.

And why did it not fail as much where others had failed? Because beneath the million dollar baggage “Prometheus” actually had some semblance of personality. It’s a failure, but it’s interesting, which is more than I suspect I’ll be able to say about “After Earth” or “Elysium” or “The Future And/Or Outer Space is Dangerous 2: Dangerous Danger.” But the time will come around when I have no other choice, and reluctantly I’ll nod along, humming, ”great special effects, yup, great.”

That’s my main grievance: I find myself lying about summer blockbusters. “Oh, that was fun. That was good. That was worth it.” And then fall season rolls around and I bite my tongue harder than a feudal war criminal. It’s all diversion, no heart, all glitter and no gold. Wake me up when September ends.


Email Huang at [email protected] if you’re on the “hate” side.

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