It seems that every year, the window that defines summer vacation closes ever so slightly: Cranky has a summer school class, Whiny needs to be back for sports, Punch has camp. Summer used to mean June, July and August—Memorial Day to Labor Day. Now, summer is a two-week span in mid-July. Nevertheless, I’m determined to make the most of it, so I pack the car, load the family and head north. No matter how demanding the family schedule, nothing can replace a northern Michigan getaway. And, of course, whether we go for two weeks or two months, one thing always remains consistent: the drive.
If I’m being incredibly optimistic, I would say studios are opting for quality, not quantity, this summer. We shall see. Here’s what’s coming to theaters in July and August...
As we head into the heat of July—and yet another summer of sequels, prequels and remakes—I was forced to remind myself that sometimes, it's not all that bad. OK, it’s usually pretty bad. I only need to take a quick peek at Caddyshack 2 on TBS to be reminded of that. So, either I truly am the eternal optimist or I have developed some bizarre, cinematic form of Stockholm syndrome because I keep going back, hoping that maybe this time, the sequel (or the prequel or the re-imagining) will be worth the price of a ticket.
1) Name the breakout star of the films Divergent and The Fault in our Stars.
With school out, kids are roaming the house at all hours, shedding clothes like peanut shells at the ballpark. The demands for food, rides, cash, sleepovers, upgrades, apps, and—strangely—privacy are incessant. My reverence for the teaching profession is renewed. (Although I’m not sure how many kids interrupt their teacher at his or her desk to call their cell phone because they can’t find it—but still.) Suffice it to say, the house is bustling. I say this because it only emphasizes the stupidity of my idea.
So, school’s out. Cranky, Whiny and Punch are loose for the summer. It’s great—truly. No more grueling classes from eight in the morning until three in the afternoon. No more sports teams. No more homework. No more 'school-night' curfew. The problem is, those were the only things that simultaneously kept the kids accounted for and out of my hair.
So last week, Rolling Stone magazine came out with its readers’ poll, listing the 25 funniest films of all time. It’s an easy out for the magazine: When outraged fans post about missing movies or complaints about certain ones on the list, the editors can simply fall back on the 'readers’ poll' excuse. No going out on a limb there.
So. Last week I wrote a column on twists on the concept of the honeymoon. In it I mentioned that language is fluid and constantly evolving. Words that were cutting edge six months ago will paint you the fool if you use them today. I asked Cranky (16) if the party she attended last week was ‘off the chain’ and received an eye roll-head shake combination usually reserved for pathetic losers…wait.
So, we’re all painfully aware that language is fluid and evolving—we have YOLO to thank for it, after all. Words change and new words crop up all the time. Ginormous is now a word—a real word—not something cute your 3-year-old says. I actually think in this mile-a-millisecond world, language is doing more than evolving, it’s trending—and the word 'trending' is an example. New words are hip, boss, keen, even though those descriptors are not…or are they? Did I mention language also is cyclical? Words are stretched and deconstructed and truncated and manipulated into common usage. Some gather momentum, others peter out (phat). One of the current words in the spotlight is moon, or more accurately, honeymoon.
So this weekend is Mother’s Day. Personally I never held much stock in the event. It’s an overly involved brunch, some unwanted picture taking and a lot of beginner-level pottery. Now I’m not made of stone, an affectionate handmade card gets me every time, but the rest? Honestly, I would skip the holiday altogether if it meant eliminating the ads, commercials and hype. That being said, I did, purely for curiosity’s sake, browse the interweb to see what was trending for moms. These are the top 10 gifts virtual men have chosen for the moms in their lives:
Spring is in the air. While for most of us, that means worrying about covering your bulbs at night or purging a closet, the past few weeks of my life have been consumed by—well, consumed is a strong word—preoccupied by one thing: prom.
It seems most of what comes out of Hollywood these days are sequels and prequels…and remakes and re-imaginings and reinterpretations. It’s green, actually: Reuse, reduce, recycle. If there’s an additional dollar to be made…like I said, green. So it may surprise you to know that at some point, industry executives dropped the ball. Either that or they exercised some discretion and halted work on an ill-conceived sequel. Perhaps someone learned a valuable lesson from Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo and Weekend at Bernie’s 2. Believe it or not, according to screenanswers.com, these sequels were actually in the works until the plug—for whatever reason—was pulled.
News is a 24-hour-a-day business. Correction: It’s a 60-minute-an-hour, 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week…you get the idea. Furthermore, the news simply is not a nicely groomed anchor reading today’s top stories before handing the ball off to 'Storm,' the weather guy, or 'Champ' for sports. A news channel has an anchor reciting the news. It also has a crawl along the bottom explaining, in brief, top stories. There also is a picture-in-picture of some breaking event. And, in case you were curious, there is a list of bullet points of what’s up next. It’s like staring at a strobe light. Breaking news: The cable news channel is giving me a seizure.
Let’s face it: Tragic career spirals are as common in Hollywood as Botox and traffic jams. Nobody seriously asks the question, Whatever happened to (fill in the blank)? because the answer is obvious and unsurprising: He chose a couple of bad projects (Zac Efron); his ego got the better of him (Vin Diesel); drugs (Lindsay Lohan); bad reviews (Ryan Reynolds); people forgot about him (whatshisname). It’s the nature of the business. Did you know, for example, that the actor who portrayed the magnetic bad boy Kelly Leak form the original Bad News Bears movie, Jackie Earle Haley, is a renowned and busy character actor these days; or that Karate Kid nemesis William Zabka has been popping up in television shows of late?
I drive a lemon. Let me clarify: According to Webster’s Dictionary, a lemon, in the vehicular sense, is a car that 'does not work the way it should.' So, in that sense, my car is a lemon. According to the state of Missouri, however, it is not. Not that I disagree with that. The 'lemon law' exists, and is effective because it deals with cars that have more immediate and obvious defects. In other words, the lemon law deals more with car heart attacks—my car has cancer.