The Reel Deal: Summer Blockbusters

The fireworks have gone off, school is right around the corner, and Harry Potter has made his curtain call. But this is no time to fret like Eeyore. Or get moody over a bummer summer. While the heat may be soaring outside, there’s still plenty of time to catch up on all the summer blockbusters right inside your neighborhood cineplex.

This summer, there have been plenty of fireworks for everyone and every taste. Plenty of superheroes, from Thor to X-Men: First Class to Green Lantern. Colorful animated tales like Rio, Kung Fu Panda: The Kaboom of Doom, and Cars 2. A handful of sci-fi, fantasy, and adventure thrillers like Super 8, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, and of course, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2. And not to be forgotten, a handful of big budgeted romantic and slapstick comedies including The Hangover Part 2, Bridesmaids, Horrible Bosses, and Larry Crowne – all of which are actively screening today, either by mainstream theaters like AMC and United Artists or second runs like Elvis Cinemas or the Aurora Cinema Grill.

It’s both overwhelming and awesome. And all thanks to one big shark.

After all, the term ‘blockbuster’ wasn’t actually applied to motion pictures until 1975, when Steven Spielberg’s Jaws made a huge splash, taking home over $100 million at the box office. Much of this was the result of a high concept, wide distribution, marketing campaign. In fact, the campaign was so successful and the film so influential that even to this day, it’s hard to go near the water without thinking of John Williams’ infamous score.

Da-na. Da-na. Da-na.

Robert Shaw, Roy Scheider, and Richard Dreyfuss searching for "Jaws"

While other films such as The Godfather, Gone with the Wind, and The Sound of Music achieved similar results, the success of Jaws helped end a five year recession in Hollywood and brought about a completely revamped business model in American filmmaking. A model that continues to be in full force today every time you go to your local Burger King and pick up that value meal with the Optimus Prime Flip Out.

But cheesy marketing campaigns aside, the truth is there’s no better time to watch movies. Blockbusters aren’t meant to be Best Picture candidates. They’re meant to be entertaining escapism filled with simple plots, overboard special effects, and frivolous fun. So, grab your popcorn and an ice cold beverage while there’s still time. And sit back and recline as the lights go out and the summer blockbuster thrills provide those entertaining chills.

Cowboys & Aliens, The Smurfs, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Conan the Barbarian and many more are scheduled to open in the coming weeks. Just be sure to check the water before you jump in!

-Mark Sells, “The Reel Deal”






The Goonies. July 25th. Film on the Rocks @ Red Rocks Ampitheater. Remember Chunk and the Truffle Shuffle? A young Sean Astin, Corey Feldman, and Josh Brolin? And the lovable Sloth? From the “Goon Docks” of Astoria, Oregon comes this classic 80’s comedy/adventure from Steven Spielberg and Christopher Columbus. After discovering an old Spanish treasure map, a band of teenagers rally to find the lost fortune of a 17th Century pirate named One-Eyed Willie in the hopes that it will save their homes from demolition. With nostalgic charm, energetic performances, and a classic 80’s soundtrack featuring Cyndie Lauper and Richard Marx, The Goonies is an underappreciated gem. A delightful reminder of the child in all of us – a sense of curiosity and exploration, friendship and fun, and filled with the unshakable hope that anything is possible. “Goonies never say die!”

For tickets and schedule details, visit the Denver Film Society home at:

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