The 2016 summer entertainment contained a plethora of disappointment and a sprinkle of happy surprises. DC Comics continued its fall from grace with its next two installments in a long line of comic book movies further proving that Marvel is the only company that knows how to make a superhero picture. Without Chris Nolan’s bleaker Dark Knight trilogy and unwillingness from studios to make creative gambles with their money, films about people in tights and strange uniforms continue to depress critics and dull audiences. “Batman v Superman,” a movie I haven’t seen and will never watch, received a pitiful 27 percent from critics and an unsurprising 65 percent from audiences on Rotten Tomatoes.
This is coming from someone who truly believed that “Mad Max: Fury Road” was going to change the way executives at big movie companies were going to do big blockbusters. Hire relatively small-time directors who have proven themselves before, cut down on the CGI and move away from constantly making superhero pics and boring remakes/sequels. Yes, “Mad Max” is a sequel, but it succeeds where plenty of others have failed. It’s on the point acting, simple yet effective storytelling and non-stop beautifully crafted action was what made it my favorite movie from last year. Essentially everything it succeeded at accomplishing, most movies this year have failed miserably at. Miserably!
So where were the treasures? Not at the movie theatres. Instead a trip to HBO or Netflix proved to be guaranteed quality. A slow start for “Game of Thrones” (GOT) turned into gold later on in its sixth season. Lena Headey’s dynamite performance as the unhinged Queen Cersei is one for the books, and Kit Harington’s more natural acting were the cornerstones of this year’s installment of “GOT.” The last two episodes were among the best ever and the battle scene from episode nine, “The Battle of the Bastards” was on the same level as the beach invasion in “Saving Private Ryan.” The realism and brutality of the warfare reaffirmed “Game of Thrones” best qualities.
“Stranger Things” on Netflix seems to be the talk of the town. I love nostalgia, Stephen King, ‘80s Spielberg and all the other hallmarks of the 1980s that “Stranger Things” borrowed from to create one of the better television shows available on Netflix right now. Its not-so-creative story was bettered by its suspense and unique characters. There were problems. Winona Ryder who killed it last year in “Show Me A Hero,” underwhelmed as the chain-smoking mother who overacted to say the least. Thankfully, the younger actors were on point all season and I am looking forward to another season.
We are in the second golden age of television. If you haven’t watched water shed shows like “The Sopranos,” “Twin Peaks,” “The Wire,” “Deadwood,” “Hannibal” and “Breaking Bad,” then get on it. I could write thousands of words on each one of those masterpieces, but I am restricted to just writing their names. Each of them is their own unique piece of art ranging across several different genres, but in terms of quality, look nowhere else. Happy watching!