As a movie fanatic, I love summer. As the weather heats up, the entertainment business can always be counted on to pull out its biggest explosions, its baddest villains, and most epic plots. School’s out, vacation begins, and Hollywood reliably launches a slew of blockbusters. Recent years have brought us knockouts like Guardians of the Galaxy, Star Trek and superhero flicks like Iron Man and Captain America. And in the middle of summer, it can be nice simply to have an excuse to sit very still in a cold, dark room for two or three hours. So win-win.
But then there are the flops. Inevitably, production houses try to slip in its weakest plots into the lineup along with its most epic, as if we’ll just be too overheated to know the difference. This most fun of movie seasons has also brought us the likes of Superman, Transcendence and so, so many others. Quite honestly, there’s some movies that are just not even worth the AC.
This summer’s lineup is no different, with a number of the usual suspects, with dramas that fall flat, the comedies that lack in laughs, and the never-should-have-been-even-considered sequels. I’ve also got the stakes-to-low-to-matter flops and the rarer but no less disappointing, you-should-know-better TV-to-movie attempt. So do yourself a favor—take a peek at these movies to miss, and spare yourself hours in the wrong theaters this summer. After all, you could be at the beach. Here’s the top 10 movies to avoid at all costs in summer 2015.
10. Bravetown (May 8)
In Bravetown, a teen thug (Lucas Till) is shipped off to small town Americana to get court-mandated therapy and turn his life around, while making amends with his father. It’s not going so well until he meets Kerry (Kherington Payn), the head of the high school dance team, at which point the usual predictable teen romance ensues.
The script includes brilliant lines like “I liked it better when you were smiling,” and “Let’s give this town something to talk about.” Not even a supporting cast featuring Laura Dern and Josh Duhamel, can keep this movie from nosediving.
9. D-Train (May 8)
Dan Landsman (Jack Black) is determined to make his high school reunion incredible to prove to his old classmates that he’s no longer the geek he was as a teen. But despite his efforts, no one seems into it.
But then Dan spots an old high school friend, Oliver Lawless (James Marsden), in a commercial, and it inspires him to come up with a brilliant plan to turn the entire event around: If only he can get his pseudo-celebrity classmate to come to the reunion, surely the rest of the class will come too. So. Really high stakes.
8. 5 Flights Up (May 8)
Dubbed a coming-of-age story, this movie follows 60-somethings Alex Carver (Freeman) and his wife Ruth (Keaton), as they try to sell the sketchy Brooklyn neighborhood apartment that they’ve loved for 40 years, and find a new one. Meanwhile, the Brooklyn Bridge is rumored to be under the threat of a terrorist attack (because, New York), and Ruth’s dog falls ill. Sure, there’s an audience out there for the senior life transitions sub-genre, but this plot is just too quiet for anyone else.
7. Hot Pursuit (May 8)
In this film, uptight cop Cooper (Reese Witherspoon) is tasked with protecting the widow of a drug boss (Sophia Vergara), who is a critical witness in an upcoming trial. Somehow they end up on something resembling a road trip, and the typical chaos ensues.
You’d think this comedienne team-up would be hilarious, but the punchlines come off as rather stiff and tired. Although the feminist in me kind of wants to laud that stupid comedies aren’t just for men anymore, the moviegoer in me just cannot understand why these two fantastic ladies would do this to us.
6. Skin Trade (May 8)
Brought to you by the vague concept of the supporting cast of every Sylvester Stallone film. In Skin Trade, Dolph Lundgren leads a cast of over-sized, middle-aged lunkheads (Ron Perlman, Michael Jai White, Peter Weller) as Nick, a New York City cop who teams up with a Thai detective (Tony Jaa) to take down “some very dangerous men”—a Serbian gang bringing in shipments of women for their human trafficking operation.
And then Lundgren’s hot daughter also goes missing, so they have to go to Thailand and blow some things up to rescue her.
(See also: The Expendables, Taken)
5. Area 51 (May 15)
In this Blair Witch-style horror mocumentary starring Sandra Staffs, Glenn Campbell and Jelena Nik, a bunch of early-20 year old conspiracy theorists decide to break into Area 51, the government site where the rumored alien bodies of Roswell were supposedly taken. Although, as they explain in the trailer, Area 51 is “harder to break into than a bank”.
Unfortunately for us, it appears that they get in anyway. The manufactured intensity of the glimpses inside the facility come complete with nonsensical creepy dolls in a dungeon and plenty of cheap jump-out scare moments.
This movie was directed by Orin Pelli, who brought us Paranormal Activity. Enough said.
4. Entourage (June 3)
The teaser includes introductions of already established nicknames of the TV show’s cast including Adrian Grenier, Jeremy Piven, Kevin Connolly, Jerry Ferrera and Kevin Dillon (even though, surely, anyone who cares about this movie already knows the characters). Additionally, it includes a slew of random celebrity cameos including Liam Neeson, Mark Wahlberg, Billy Bob Thornton and more. And a long series of women looking at the male leads like they’re dumb a**es.
The trailer also does not include a clear plot. But then again, when has making a movie based on a TV show ever been a mistake? It worked out so well for this flick’s female counterpart, Sex in the City.
3. Ted 2 (June 26)
As if the original Ted movie wasn’t ridiculous enough, Seth MacFarlane is back with a second to drop your IQ another 10 points. John Bennett (Mark Wahlberg) and his cynical talking teddy bear (MacFarlane) are back to deliver all the jokes that apparently didn’t make the cut for Family Guy, and this time Ted gets married. He and the Mrs. want to have a kid, and they need a sperm donor, since Ted has no, ya know, man parts. Insert sperm bank jokes here.
And then they have to go to court to find out whether an animated teddy bear is constitutionally able to be a legal guardian, and overtly ask the question, “What does it mean to be human?” multiple times.
2. Magic Mike XXL (July 1)
And yes, the title for this sequel is indeed, very appropriately camp—I’ll totally admit it, I snort-laughed when I read it. I’m sure millions of soccer moms have the first Magic Mike film hidden in their naughty drawer right next to their copy of 50 Shades of Grey, but let’s be real. If you’re considering actually paying to go to this movie, do yourself a favor and get some sex toys instead. You’ll probably be enjoying your investment for much longer.
1. Pixels (July 23)
Years ago, people sent a time capsule into space with a collection of toys and games from Earth as a message of peace to whoever might intercept it. Unfortunately, the aliens who got the message misinterpreted it—as a declaration of war. They retaliate by sending real-life versions of video game monsters like Pac-Man, to attack Earth. And hey, it somehow got Game of Thrones star Peter Dinklage, to make an appearance in it. I was almost into this one for the camp factor … until I found out that it stars Adam Sandler and Kevin James.
With the massive quantities of movies released each summer, they simply can’t all be jewels. Some are clear blockbusters from the release of the first teasers (Avengers: Age of Ultron; Mad Max) … and others are just plain flops. Don’t waste your money—or your time—on movies that aren’t worthy. There’s plenty of quality entertainment for everyone.