Summer Movie Review: Part 1

As promised, I want to review a few movies (both in the theater and on DVD) that I have viewed over the first half of the summer. This post is labeled part 1, as there are a few other movies that I want to see in the near future, so perhaps by the end of the summer I will be able to post Part 2.

Now, before I begin my reviews, I would like to give you the criteria by which I will review the movies. My reason for this is because I often visit a christian movie review site called pluggedinonline. It is a decent site that kinda helps me decide whether or not to view particular movies. My only problem with the site is that if I took the advice of the pluggedin reviewers, I would never see a movie. Basically they use about 10-12 paragraphs to give their review, and only one of those paragraphs (and it's usually really short) is devoted to anything positive about the movie. They spend the other 9-11 paragraphs with profanity counts, body counts, and any other negative and oft-times snide comments about the movie. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate knowing the amount of profanity in a movie before I see it, but I also think there is more to a movie than the language used. I could go on and on, but I say all this to say that I would like my reviews to be more thorough and fair than that (hmmm...we could call it a thorough-fair review HA!). I view movies through the eyes of my faith, so I want take the good with the bad, and try to apply what I see to the depravity and redemption that is at war in our real world.

Ok, so I will rate the movie based on it's entertainment value (scale of 1 to 10, one being a snoozer and 10 being HOLY COW THAT WAS AWESOME), the quality of the various aspects of the movie (i.e. filming, graphics, script, character development, scale, just my thoughts), and I will give a recommendation value, based on a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being a "must-see" and 1 being a "piece-of-hot-trash-never-to-be-seen". I am sure there will be other various and sundry items of consideration for the different movies. So without further ado, I give you SUMMER MOVIE REVIEW PART 1 ('s the echo in case you didn't catch it!)

1. Ironman - I officially started off the summer with this movie. It did not disappoint! I am a sucker for superhero movies to begin with, but this was a lot different than many other of those sometimes-unrealistic, based-in-comic-book-fantasy-world movies. It had a much more realistic plot...of course it was a bit far fetched, but it had the reality touch that some of these type movies miss. Good action, good plot, good music and I thought Robert Downey Jr. was superb (however, coincidentally, I always get him confused with Harry Conick Jr.) This movie had some good humor as well, brought by Downey Jr. (aka Tony Stark). All around, Iron Man was a great guy movie. There is already a release date set for Iron Man 2, so be sure to catch the first one.

Entertainment Rating - 8 -

Recommendation rating - 9

2. Batman Begins - I am a little behind in seeing this one, but better late than never for sure! This was a great movie, and I watched it to gear up for The Dark Knight due out next week. Again, they made Batman seem a little more realistic, a little more dark and conflicted, and a lot more Man this movie was really great, and Christian Bale was stellar! I am really pumped about the Dark Knight.

Entertainment Rating - 9

Recommendation Rating - 9

3. Hulk - I have mentioned a little about this movie in my last post, but I thought I'd give it a rating just for fun. The best part of this movie was the end, and Edward Norton, if you like him, which made the nearly 2 hours of the rest of the movie worth it. But all in all, it was probably a renter at best.

Entertainment Rating - 6

Recommendation Rating - 4

4. Jumper - Tasted great, but was definitely less filling. Jumper was all of the hype and special effects with hardly any plot whatsoever. I'll say the effects were cool, and I feel confident there will be a sequel, but the movie didn't make a whole lot of sense. The tiny back story in the movie had major holes, and the lead role, played by Hayden Christensen was dreadfully weak.

Entertainment Rating - 6

Recommendation Rating - 2

5. The Bucket List - Much different than what I expected from the previews, the Bucket List was an irreverent look at two guys who have just found out they have 6 months to a year to live. While participating in all kind of skydiving, rocky mountain climbing, 2.7 seconds on a bull name fu-man-choo, there is some pretty heavy dialogue about life, death, God, faith, and forgiveness. Don't look for the movie to give you the answers to life, and certainly don't look for it to line up with Jesus, but it does make one think. I really appreciated that about this movie, is that it forces the viewer to ponder a side of humanity that many of us rarely dedicate much time to (except for say at funerals or whatnot). As I said, you'll have to wade through a bit of irreverence, but this one is a humorous and thought-provoking little gem.

Entertainment Rating - 6

Recommendation Rating - 7

6. The Great Debaters - Set in the midst of the great depression, this movie chronicles just a portion of the African-American struggle to be treated equally in our country. This movie is really about a huge stain in America's history, and the story needs to be told. The Great Debaters has little-to-no action per se, but there are some suspenseful moments, and the plot is really unique. There are a couple of sub-par performances by the supporting cast (man did Forest Whitaker butcher a southern accent or what!), but Denzel, who is known for quality movies did his usual good job. (except for Training Day, I'm not sure Denzel makes bad movies!!) While this movie is about events in our history, I think it is still an important message for our culture today. We still have huge strides that need to be made when it comes to equality, racism, and seeing EVERYONE as Imago Dei.

Entertainment Rating - 7 (hard to say that such a part of history is entertaining, but I am referring to the actual story, not the historical setting here!)

Recommendation Rating - 8

7. Juno So this is the strangest movie I've seen since Napolean Dynamite. Juno is a pseudo-indie flick that is quite crass, crude, rude, and offensive, while at the same time being quite real, honest, and bare. The music that litters the flick is delightfully obnoxious (indie-folk music at its best....or worst). I think this movie is important for people to see, because I think it is a strongly accurate portrayal of this generation. The main character is like one big shinning example of today's youth sentiment, outlook, faith, and vocabulary. And amongst the weirdness, there are some important questions and commentaries about abortion, parenting, marital faithfulness, and adolescence. Again, if you're looking for all the answers, or for something that lines up with the teachings of the Bible, this isn't it, and I would scarce say that Hollywood has the moral or spiritual compass to produce any such work. But if you'll allow yourself to see this movie through the eyes of Christian faith in comparison to post-modern thought, it will be quite revealing. Too much for a movie you say...perhaps...but perhaps not.

Entertainment Rating - 4 (I wasn't really entertained due to the content)

Recommendation Rating - 8

So that is all for now. Stay tuned for Summer Movie Review Part 2 in the near future. Until then, what are some good movies you've seen lately. Any thoughts about the above reviewed movies?


I have only seen 2 of those movies, Batman Begins and Juno. I saw BB at the theater when it came out so i don't remember all of it except that it was a great movie.

Your description of Juno is dead on. You and I come from a similar educational background so I am sure you picked up on some of the same undercurrents I found. Overall this movie was an outstanding look into the culture, despite the somewhat contrived ending.

July 8, 2008 at 1:09 PM  

I realize that I am 12 days late in commenting (since you posted this 12 days ago) but as you said about Batman Begins, better late than never. By the way, I can't believe you just recently watched that movie, shame shame shame. I disagree with some of what you said about pluggedin. I think it's great to know all that stuff before going, and I don't want to know too much "good stuff" about the movie because it might ruin it. I think the point of pluggedin is to give the bad stuff so that you can judge it against your standard. They aren't just reviewing for adults- actually I'd say they are probably mostly thinking of kids. But I enjoyed your review, nonetheless! :)

July 16, 2008 at 5:38 AM  


I completely understand and agree with the good stuff. I don't want to know everything before I go into the movie. What I would like to see them do is applaud the movies (when it is deserving) for the artistry, creativity, technical expertise, acting performance, etc. I think their reviews sometimes come off as just stuffy Christian-seperatists propaganda (to slightly overstate it). But I see your point as well!

July 16, 2008 at 11:17 AM  

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