It’s time once again for Vulture’s Summer Movie Preview, which means all week long we’ll be taking deep dives into this season’s biggest blockbusters and indie surprises. Which are which? Well, let’s figure this out together with our annual game of F, Marry, Kill, where we group similar summer movies in groups of three in order to determine which one we’d marry (because we love it and want to see it every day), which one we’d fuck (because it looks more like a fun one-time thing), and which one we’d kill (because in every summer movie season, there’s gonna be some carnage). Click through for our summer 2013 choices, and feel free to weigh in with your own.
Is it folly to get our hopes up for Man of Steel after that new, stirring trailer? Perhaps, but we’re ready to propose marriage every time we watch it (and we’ve basically been watching it on loop since it debuted). We’re looking forward to another roll in the hay with Iron Man 3’s Tony Stark, even if we’ve been seeing an awful lot of him lately, which means The Wolverine must die by its own clawed hand. (We’d be a little more excited for that one if original director Darren Aronofsky had stayed on.)
Well, no one said these would all be easy! Here we have three summer movies of frankly terrific provenance, which makes the task of narrowing them down awfully touchy. The large chunk of Elysium that Sony screened for press felt like especially brainy sci-fi, so it gets our marry vote, while the Star Trek sequel is such a sexy tease (who is Benedict Cumberbatch playing, anyway?) that we’ve got to eff it. And so, sadly, we must kill Pacific Rim by process of elimination. Don’t get us wrong — we’re still psyched to see anything Guillermo Del Toro puts out … it’s just that we’ve hit a wall when it comes to endless battles between two CG creatures, and the robots-versus-monsters story of Pacific Rim had better do its damnedest to make us care.
In this battle of the artfully made punch-em-ups, we’ve got a ring ready for Only God Forgives simply because Drive, the previous team-up of director Nicolas Winding Refn and star Ryan Gosling, sent us into a state of holy matrimony. Grandmasters is the first film from modern master Wong Kar-Wai in six years, so this is one eff that will hopefully be worth the wait (even if Wong loves us then leaves us). As for Lone Ranger … listen, we loved Gore Verbinski’s last Western, the animated Rango, but this has not been clicking for us so far. We’ve got our fingers crossed for Armie Hammer, movie star (let’s make this happen, people!), but for the purposes of this game, it’s time to tie Lone Ranger to the tracks with a train fast approaching.
Kerry Washington, we love you. Craig Robinson, we’re looking forward to This Is the End. But Peeples? That is a no. Boom, dead. The Internship reunites Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson from Wedding Crashers, so it seems apropos to give that our eff vote; we’re saving ourself for the Michael Cera–in-Chile comedy Crystal Fairy, a Sundance standout.
Why do we want to marry The World’s End, Edgar Wright’s first movie since the underrated Scott Pilgrim vs. the World? Because Wright directs the kind of movies you can come back to again and again, so his new apocalypse comedy (which reunites him with his Shaun of the Dead stars Simon Pegg and Nick Frost) will hopefully be worth shacking up with. Meanwhile, Seth Rogen’s star-studded This Is the End looks like a fun eff (if not a particularly resonant one), which leaves M. Night Shyamalan’s After Earth (with Will and Jaden Smith) as this category’s casualty, since it can’t help but feel a little derivative after the awfully similar Oblivion.
We’ve been tracking Celine (Julie Delpy) and Jesse (Ethan Hawke) ever since 1995’s Before Sunrise, so obviously we’re in this for the long haul, and the excellent Before Midnight gets our marry vote. It was a close one, though: The Spectacular Now is pretty terrific, too, and as the leads in this high-school romance, Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley are revelations. We’ll make tender love to it and think back fondly of the experience. As for Noah Baumbach’s Frances Ha, starring Greta Gerwig and Girls star Adam Driver in another New York indie rom-com … well, Greta, you are a delight and we’re looking forward to your movie, but Lola Versus depressed our interest in Greta Gerwig rom-coms a teeny bit last year.
With all of those muscle cars (and actual muscles), how could anyone resist an eff with the latest installment of the Fast and Furious franchise? It may not have a lot on its mind, but it’ll look great doing it. Meanwhile, we’re already engaged to Sofia Coppola’s kids-robbing-celebs tale The Bling Ring, and must therefore kill off Now You See Me, a magicians-planning-heists film with a promising cast (Jesse Eisenberg! Mark Ruffalo! Dave Franco!) but a spotty director (Louis Letterier, who made The Incredible Hulk and Clash of the Titans).
Did you see the first Grown Ups? We should have killed it then, when we had the chance, but we won’t make the same mistake again, Adam Sandler. That leaves us with the action shenanigans of Red 2 and the trilogy-ending Hangover III … and since we’ve come all this way with The Hangover, we might as well sign up for a quickie Vegas wedding.
The Gatsby trailers are making us feel all the feelings, and if the wedding is half as lavish as those sets, we’d better propose marriage. YA adaptations Percy Jackson and The Mortal Instruments would love to be your new Harry Potter and Twilight, respectively, but the former already had its chance with an underwhelming first installment, so we’re giving it the ax.
The affecting Fruitvale Station won top honors at Sundance and just got into Cannes; more awards are surely in store for this fact-based drama about a controversial Bay Area murder starring Michael B. Jordan and Octavia Spencer, which we’ve chosen to marry. Meanwhile, we’ll eff Woody Allen’s latest, Blue Jasmine (starring Cate Blanchett as a fashionable Manhattan housewife), simply because we never know whether we’re getting something significant from the helmer or a mere one-off. As for Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, which earned some admirers at Sundance … well, we already have a self-mythologizing drama about a small-time criminal and the patient baby mama who waits for him, and it’s called The Place Beyond the Pines.
We were sort of surprised by how fun the R.I.P.D. trailer looked, even if this sci-fi comedy is basically Men in Black IV starring Jeff Bridges and Ryan Reynolds. We’ll marry that one. We’ve heard that World War Z is trouble (all those behind-the-scenes reshoots and Brad Pitt giving Marc Forster the silent treatment), but it looks awfully pretty, and isn’t that the very definition of a you-know-you-shouldn’t-but-you-want-to eff? Murdered, then, is The Conjuring — a James Wan horror movie starring Vera Farmiga — but in this genre, death is only the beginning.
Aubrey Plaza spends the entirety of The To-Do List trying to get laid, so our eff vote is assured. (Good cast, too: Connie Britton, Donald Glover, Adam Pally, Alia Shawkat … ) Let’s hope that Bridesmaids director Paul Feig has made something worth marrying in The Heat, the buddy cop comedy where Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy are the buds. As for Austenland, where Keri Russell simpers in Jane Austen cosplay … some people liked it at Sundance. Some [cough, cough, pointing to self] didn’t. Death by arsenic-laced tea.
Stories We Tell is Sarah Polley’s absorbing documentary about her secret-keeping mother, and its exploration of family secures our marriage vote. We’ll be seeing a lot of Julian Assange on 2013 screens (Bill Condon has a feature coming out this winter starring Benedict Cumberbatch as the WikiLeaks leader), so let’s eff Alex Gibney’s Assange doc Secrets for now to see how we like it. Yes, that means the One Direction documentary must die. Sorry, Twitter.
Pedro Almodóvar’s movies are always so freaking eff-able, so when it comes to his airplane comedy I’m So Excited … well, the title speaks for us. Joss Whedon set his adorable, modern-day Much Ado About Nothing adaptation in the helmer’s own house, which is so cute that we’ve simply gotta marry it. This bodes ill for the thriller Getaway, which puts Ethan Hawke and Selena Gomez in a car for most of its running time. Cut the brakes on that one.
Nick Offerman is utterly delightful in The Kings of Summer as the wry father to a runaway teen who builds a house in the forest with his friends. Marry! Steve Carell is also pretty good in The Way Way Back, where he plays a jerky stepfather-in-waiting … and he’s weirdly tanned and buff, too. Eff! As for We’re the Millers, which teams Jason Sudeikis and Jennifer Aniston in a pot comedy … well, the word is already out about a big comic set piece where a tarantula bites someone on the penis. Kill!
The ecoterrorists played by Alexander Skarsgard and Ellen Page in The East have a lot on their mind, which means that this tight thriller is marriage material. White House Down may not be quite as brainy, but it’s got Channing Tatum saving President Jamie Foxx in a Roland Emmerich blow-em-up: What’s not to eff? That leaves us with Closed Circuit, starring Eric Bana and Rebecca Hall in a courtroom drama about terrorists, and we’re willing to let the C4 go off for that one.
Planes began life as a direct-to-DVD Cars spinoff, and now it’s been bumped up to a totally unnecessary theatrical release. Sorry, Planes, but this will end in a fiery crash. We’ll instead marry Pixar’s Monsters, Inc. prequel, Monsters University, while saving a PG-rated assignation for Steve Carell’s Despicable Me 2.
We’re sort of over vampires by now, but Saoirse Ronan and Gemma Arterton in a genre film by Neil Jordan? We’re intrigued enough to spend the night with Byzantium. Meanwhile, we love the new guerrilla ad campaign for You’re Next (
Lionsgate has been inlaying the scary silhouette of its masked killer on bus stop ads for the studio’s other movies) so much that we want to marry it, leaving The Purge — a Lena Headey/Ethan Hawke horror thriller about government-sanctioned carnage for 24 hours — on the scrap heap.
Obviously, The Smurfs 2 should die, and there’s no sense in prolonging that. Epic has a tiny fairy queen voiced by Beyoncé, while Turbo’s got a racing snail played by Ryan Reynolds. Six of one, half a dozen of the other! Beyoncé already has a ring on it, so let’s marry Turbo and eff Epic.
We’ve got reservations about all three of these movies with twos, but action comedy 2 Guns joins Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg, so maybe it’s worth wedding. Kick Ass 2 looks noticeably cheaper than the potty-mouthed original, but new addition Jim Carrey is giving a committed, crazy performance in that trailer, so it gets our eff vote. And then there’s 300 Part 2, which we didn’t really need, did we? We’re loathe to kill off any movie starring Eva Green, but those Spartans knew the odds are grim going in. Charge!