Sick of Sequels? Or Are You Just Sick of Bad Movies?

Perhaps calling the lagging box office so far this summer movie season “Sequelitis” is a little short-sighted.

hooray! this can only mean great news -- no sex and the city 3!

hooray! this can only mean great news -- no sex and the city 3!

Yeah, every summer movie seems to be a sequel so far this summer. And yeah, all of them have underperformed the lofty expectations set upon them. Maybe the expectations weren’t terribly realistic — we’ve already covered the lunacy of thinking Iron Man 2 would surpass Dark Knight’s opening weekend — but these big movies are doing far worse than even the worst expectations.

It’s not just sequels though. How about the disappointment of Prince of Persia? Or of Robin Hood? Or the historically bad performance of MacGruber? None of them is going to reach the heights studios had hoped, so maybe there’s something else at play here — bad movies. The reviews for the big movies of the summer so far have been collectively horrible, with the five big, major releases averaging a 45 on Rotten Tomatoes and a 49 on Metacritic.

The movie-going public has sent the message — we’re not going to stand for bad movies at ridiculously high prices. There is a tipping point somewhere, and we may be starting to see it. We’re willing to pay money to see good movies — but not crappy retreads.

Keep voting with your dollars everyone.

Just in case James Cameron’s head hasn’t ballooned to twice the size of New Orleans yet, the U.S. government would like to help pump it up a bit more — by asking him for tips on how to stop the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico. “Excuse me, Mr. Cameron? Can we call you Jim? No? OK, Mr. Cameron it is. We know you’ve never worked for the government, have never worked on an oil rig, have never built an oil pipeline and you’ve never even used oil on your hair. But can you be a dear and tell us how we might be able to stop this oil leak? That’d be great, thanks!” It’s like NASA asking Tom Hanks how to get to Mars because he made a miniseries about going to the moon. I’m not in favor of that either. This Cameron thing gives you just how much of an idea desperately screwed the government is on this one. That oil leak may never be fixed.

sure a black man can be spider-man. he just can't doom a great tv show at the same time.

sure a black man can be spider-man. he just can't doom a great tv show at the same time.

Meant to post this yesterday, but I’m still not totally sure how I feel about Troy from Community as the next Spider-Man. There’s a Twitter and Facebook campaign going on to get him at least a screen test, but I don’t think I approve. That’s not a white-black thing, it’s a “I don’t want Community to end” thing. Already, I’m wondering whether I could possibly see him doing anything else other than Community. He’s already typecast in my eyes, I guess. Troy leaving would start to signal the end of the show, and I certainly don’t want that to happen since it was my favorite new show of the year (did I say that before?). The show probably won’t make it past its second season anyway because it will be going against Big Bang Theory next year, but that’s only a chance at this point. Losing Troy from the cast would go a long way to guaranteeing it.

It’s still sinking in that Fox actually renewed Lie to Me. Everything was set up for the show to be canceled, especially when A-list showrunner Shaun Ryan left what seemed like a sinking ship right before the upfront presentations in May. Normally, when that happens, it’s because Ryan would have gotten word that the show was about to be canceled and he wanted to make sure he wasn’t wasting his time. But for once, the news actually seemed to be true, that Ryan was leaving for no other reason than to work on his two new shows he’s developing because Fox decided to stick with the show and bring it back for season 3 in the fall. Now the show gets handed to its third executive producer in three years. The remaining episodes of season 2 will start Monday, paired with the new show The Good Guys. That reminds me …

beyond the stache

beyond the stache

Fox’s new tactic of premiering a fall show in the spring is an interesting little gimmick, and it’s paid off quality-wise two years in a row. Last year it was Glee, which I still say was one of the best pilots I’ve ever seen from the guy who can now be called one of TV’s true innovators, Ryan Murphy. This year’s edition — The Good Guys — isn’t as good as Glee, but it’s got the same kind of pedigree. Creator Matt Nix is following a similar career path of Murphy: Make a very good cable TV series (Burn Notice vs. Murphy’s Nip/Tuck) that creates some buzz and afford you the opportunity to start another show on network TV. The pilot of The Good Guys has all the same wit, smarts and fun of Burn Notice and looks like a fun summer distraction, especially paired with Lie to Me, which I’ve never thought of as any more than an interesting distraction. Although I seriously doubt you’ll be seeing any commercials for Fox’s summer Monday lineup calling “Distraction Night.” PILOT GRADE: B+

Lie to Me and The Good Guys will be more alone than usual this summer. For the first time in a couple years the summer TV seasonhas calmed down a smidgen or two. At the very least, it doesn’t seem like there are very many new shows to keep taps on. The big ones are the same as they were for the last couple years — Mad Men, Rescue Me, True Blood, Entourage, Burn Notice, etc. — but at least our DVRs can take a little bit of a break. The one new show I’m looking forward to is Memphis Beat, the Jason Lee cop show. The only reason is because of Jason Lee. I was reminded of that watching Mallrats over the weekend, and I feel like I should watch Chasing Amy to get even more excited for it.

Although the trailer for the new comedy from MTVlooks possibly promising. I wish MTV would get more into the smart comedy for the 20-ish crowd it had in the 90s (Beavis and Butthead, The State) instead of just shooting for 16-year-old girls, but any effort by MTV to actually get into scripted comedy again is a useful endeavor. It premieres Sunday.

Just in case you need a refresher on the chronological sequence of Pulp Fiction, here you go. I have nothing to add. It’s just cool and it’s nice to have something like this for the next generation of fans who might watch it for the first time.

For the last two years, it’s been kind of a pain going to two different TV Guide Web sites, and The company split in 2008 and formed two different sites. But now they’re back together at Not totally sure what that means, but my weekly fix of Ask Matt— the best weekly Q&A about TV on the Net — was back on yesterday. So that’s a start.

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