Youth Culture Window
Even after Iron Man 2, Robin Hood, and Shrek, this summer’s box office has still more to offer teenagers. So silence your cell phones and down in front. Here’s what the last half of summer holds in store at theaters near you…and your kids.
One, Two Combo
This year’s summer movie lineup was so big I couldn’t squeeze all of it into one article. So, if you didn’t catch last week’s YOUTH CULTURE WINDOW article, you need to check that one out before continuing here; it covered what’s playing in theaters during May and early June (along with other important info).
Going to the movies nowadays costs an arm and a leg, but according to Kaiser Family Foundation’s latest study, lots of kids are still doing it. On any given day, roughly 12% of all kids (8-18 years old) can be found in a movie theater. Typically, those same kids will spend 3 hours and 16 minutes while there. That means movies are important to them!
So, what will our kids see in theaters this summer?
Here are the flicks – organized by date of release – that will launch between mid June and August. Just like last week, I’ll provide the movie’s plot synopsis, a link to its official trailer, and rating (if available).
Part Two – Mid June to August
The A-Team (June 11)
Geez. Don’t tell me there’s another hit from the 80’s being ripped off by this generation? I pity the fools!
This explosion-packed action flick follows the “elite commando unit” that “was sent to prison for a crime they didn’t commit.” The movie sticks fairly close to the original TV show even though there are no longer links to the Vietnam War; they even have the famous, blacked-out, GMC conversion van.
The official movie trailer reveals that all the major players of “alpha unit” are back in action: Murdock (Sharlto Copley), Hannibal (Liam Neeson), B.A. Baracas (Quinton “Rampage” Jackson), and Face (Bradley Cooper). Jessica Biel also appears as the ever-sexy Lt. Sosa.
Currently, the official website for the movie has the film unrated; my guess is that it will be PG-13. After all, clearing their names and battling corrupt governmental officials requires a good bit of violence. And this time, the A-Team will have to get it right, “Because there is no plan B.”
Knight and Day (June 25)
Last week, I took my wife to a movie, and one of this film’s trailers played during the promos that aired before our feature presentation. It actually made me laugh out loud, something I rarely do at movies.
This seems to be one of the most original plots coming out of 2010’s summer lineup. IMBD’s version of the storyline is it’s “an action-comedy centered on a fugitive couple on a glamorous and sometimes deadly adventure where nothing and no one - even themselves - are what they seem. Amid shifting alliances and unexpected betrayals, they race across the globe, with their survival ultimately hinging on the battle of truth vs. trust.”
My version is, an attractive girl (Cameron Diaz) literally bumps into a dashing guy (Tom Cruise) who has more skills than Napoleon Dynamite. Chaos ensues.
Knight and Day is also not currently rated, though again, I would expect something in the ballpark of at least PG-13 if not R. Hey, Hollywood isn’t known for “wasting” sexy talent like Diaz and Cruise by not getting a little risqué.
The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (June 30)
You can’t see it from where you’re reading this, but as I write this part of the article, I’m groaning on the inside.
Here’s the thing. I wrote about Twilight and New Moon when they were released, and Jonathan and Todd (our movie guy) and I all agree, these films contain some immitatible behavior and also present Bella as a hyper-emotional person whose entire identity and self-esteem is wrapped up in the hunky vampire, Edward. With Eclipse’s release, I’m just wondering what subtle messages this worldwide bestseller-turned-worldwide blockbuster holds in store for our kids.
The trailer paints a continuation of the love triangle between Bella (the human), Edward (the vampire), and Jacob (the werewolf). (It feels weird just “typing” that!) In addition to Bella having to choose between her two suitors, she’s also still trying to decide between mortality and immortality. To further complicate matters, the evil vampire-ette Victoria is still on the loose, seeking revenge on Bella because Edward killed her beloved James (who was also a vampire).
The official movie website hasn’t released a rating for the film yet, but if it stays the course with the rest of the Twilight Saga, it will also be PG-13. Regardless of its rating, it will be huge on its opening weekend.
The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (July 16)
Here is yet another film that merges two genres into one: comedy and adventure. Balthazar (Nicolas Cage) is a master of the ancient art of sorcery and defends a modern day metropolis from his nemesis, the evil Maxim Horvath (played by Alfred Molina). Since he can’t overcome the forces of darkness by himself, the sorcerer recruits a young and academically-talented Dave Stutler (played by Jay Baruchel) as his apprentice, hence the title of the movie.
I think the whole movie is just another excuse for Nicolas Cage to experiment with a crazy hairdo.
The official movie trailer, though it starts slow, finally shows some really cool special effects and action scenes. But, what do you expect when Jerry Bruckheimer partners with Walt Disney Pictures? Here’s another trailer from their official site that starts off with a bigger and quicker bang.
It’s still a little too early for a film rating on this one, though it will probably come in around PG-13. That’s the preferred “nebulous” rating that encompasses just about everything these days.
The Expendables (August 13)
The last film to get honorable mention among this summer’s blockbuster lineup has a cast as star-studded as Beyoncé’s iPhone: Sylvester, Arnold, Bruce, Jet, Mickey, Dolph, and several more. If you don’t believe me, check out the high def movie trailer that lists them all one by one.
The movie is long on celebrities, but probably short on story. For the final time this summer, we’ll watch a movie about a group of male mercenaries whose brotherhood is their only collateral. This particular killing force heads to South America to overthrow a ruthless dictator, but in the middle of the mission, finds themselves facing much more than they bargained for. Will their friendship last?
Will they last?
Does it really matter? After all, each of them are “expendable.”
Again, we’re too far out for this film to be rated, but I’ll be quite surprised if it comes in this side of R. Most of the trailers for the movie are fairly gruesome, and show the (old) men killing the bad guys in ways that are quite imaginative.
By the time this summer ends, kids’ fingers will be dripping with butter from all the popcorn they’ve eaten and their bladders will be bloated because of all the soda they drank during the movies they watched.
Forget about their fingers and bladders for a moment. What will be stirring inside their minds and hearts?
There are several things we can do to make sure our kids get the much-needed guidance they need during this summer’s movie lineup.
Buy two tickets. Instead of dropping your teenager off in front of the movie theater, why not park the car, buy two tickets, and go in and watch the film together? By doing this, it will give you a chance to look for any teachable moments found within the movies. We have a ton of these teachable moments – called MOVIE CLIP DISCUSSIONS – on our site at TheSource4YM.com. Watching the film together will also give you the opportunity to spot those (sometimes dangerous) subtle messages that snake their way into the dialogue and/or actions of the characters. You won’t regret the time spent with your child.
Show discretion. During these last two articles, I’ve highlighted only 10 of the upcoming movies for this summer. There are many, many more being released! These 10 movies are almost guaranteed to attract millions of teenagers, but so will several others that our kids have no business seeing. If in doubt, or you just need a little help, check out Todd’s MOVIE REVIEW page from time to time. He’ll give you the ins and outs of the movies and always close it with a recommendation to parents and youth workers.
With these proactive steps, you can help your teen sidestep any pitfalls and also walk beside them through any questions they may have as a result of their movie-going experiences. Whatever you do with this year’s movie lineup, enjoy your summer…together.
David R. Smith
is a 15-year youth ministry veteran who helps youth
workers and parents through his writing, training, and speaking. David specializes in sharing the
gospel, and equipping others do the same. He co-authored his first book this year,
Ministry By Teenagers
. David provides free
resources to anyone who works with teenagers on his website, DavidRSmith.org
David resides with his wife and son in Tampa, Florida.
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