Summer’s spent, cinematically. So it’s time to tally up the take, pat a few folks on the back and pass the buck of blame around Hollywood for the cinema season that was
The sequels showed up in droves, and some — from “Spider-Man: Less Amazing Than Ever” to “X-Men: How MANY of These Xes Can we Stuff Into One Movie?” — were hits, others, not so much. Every week had a potential blockbuster, many weeks, those films fell short.
But an August box office rally lessened the pain of a season that lagged 20% behind last summer’s epic numbers.
Some films are remembered, many will be forgotten. And since the Academy of Motion Arts and Sciences is loathe to recognize or even remember summer films come Oscar time, let’s hand out another summer’s load of Summer Oscars, “Sumoscars,” naming names and spreading the love as we do.
Best popcorn picture — The jokey-retro-cool “Guardians of the Galaxy,” because “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” was all about the animated apes as humans sat around waiting for better characters and dialogue. “X-Men Whatever” was the only other popcorn pic that came close.
Best Food Film — “Chef.” Jon Favreau’s scruffy food truck road-trip comedy trumped the bloated Oprah-Spielberg backed “The Hundred-Foot Journey.” French cuisine and Helen Mirren bested by Cubanos and a Leguizamo.
Biggest Laughs — “22 Jump Street” mocked its very existence and got away with it — hilariously.
Loudest — “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” a Michael Bay production, got a Michael Bay soundtrack.
Most Likely to Succeed as a New Disney Princess — “Maleficent.” Bad girls need a tiara, too.
Most In Need of a Fresh Gag — Melissa McCarthy, “Tammy.” Watch “The Fluffy Movie,” dear, if you want to know how short the shelf life on fat jokes is.
Best Movies You Missed — “Filth,” with James McAvoy as a twisted, tormented Scottish cop, “Belle” with rising star Gugu Mbatha-Raw as the daughter of a slave, raised among aristocrats, and “Begin Again,” a tuneful, wistful New York romance where the love is all about the music.
Worst Served Genre — Animation. A tired and joke-starved “How to Train Your Dragon 2,” and an improved-but-still DOA “Planes: Fire & Rescue.” Kids deserve better.
Best Curtain Call — Philip Seymour Hoffman, “A Most Wanted Man.” It’s a pity he has to turn up in tiny doses in future “Hunger Games.” This Le Carre adaptation was a fitting exit.
Worst Curtain Calls — Woody Allen’s tin-eared “Magic in the Moonlight,” Clint Eastwood’s tone-deaf “Jersey Boys.” Does either still have the patience for rewriting jokes or retakes of flatly played scenes?
Best Hate Mail — “Jersey Boys.” Who knew senior citizens could be such potty mouths? Fuggedaboutit.
Best Career Move — Dying on screen. Tom Cruise did it scores of times, to the delight of fans and especially haters, in “Edge of Tomorrow.”
Best sequel — “The Trip to Italy,” in which all these years of comical bickering, and now two road-trip movies further into their collaboration, Rob Brydon finally gets Steve Coogan to crack up with laughter.
Most Bored Star — Dwayne “Hercules” Johnson. Those Seven Labors tuckered the old wrassler out.
Worst sequel — “Transformers: Age of Extinction,” because “Planes 2” at least tried harder.
Worst Acting — The cast of “Into the Storm,” for which director Steven Quale should take the credit.
Biggest Marketing Fail — “Get on Up.” A stunning star turn by Chadwick Boseman could have been an Oscar contender, but Universal rolled the film out to the sounds of silence in early August. The Weinstein Company’s abandonment of “Snowpiercer” comes in a close second.
Most Prescient — “Let’s Play Cops,” about two goofs who dress up as police to get girls and find purpose and machismo. It comes out just as a Ferguson-sensitized America is debating real-life cops who all want to play dress up in macho SWAT gear.
Biggest Suckers — Ticket-buyers to “America,” a documentary-length whine by convicted liar Dinesh D’Souza proclaiming himself a martyr for being caught lying and facing jail time for it.
Real Oscar nominees — “Boyhood,” a possible best director, best screenplay and/or best picture contender. And “Life Itself,” the warm and engaging Roger Ebert documentary becomes the Academy documentary branch’s next chance to screw up, big time.