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The Three 'B's' of Summer Movies: Blockbusters, B-Grades and Busts

What to expect (and avoid) on big screens this summer


Way too many films open between Memorial Day and Labor Day, all vying for your $10. This summer won’t be terribly different from previous years—expect dozens of sequels, a dozen more remakes and a steady flow of intelligence-insulting drek coming from Hollywood’s crap factory.

Given the ridiculous box-office prices, we need to be more selective with our film choices. Boise Weekly has already previewed a good number of this summer’s features: Many are turkeys, others are so-so and a select number are actually worth your hard-earned cash.

10 Must-Sees

A Million Ways to Die in the West--Opens May 30. Seth McFarlane knocked it out of the park with Ted, one of the biggest sleeper hits ever. This crude western is equally hilarious, especially the scenes with legendary Irish leading man Liam Neeson.

A Most Wanted Man--Opens July 25. We're still mourning the loss of Philip Seymour Hoffman, so any opportunity to relish his amazing talent is appointment viewing. And this spy thriller looks particularly fine.

Begin Again--Opens July 4. We fell in love with this film at its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival 2013. It's a genuinely original musical from the filmmakers who gave us 2007's Oscar-winning Once, and stars Keira Knightley (she has a great singing voice), Mark Ruffalo, Catherine Keener, Hailee Steinfeld, Cee Lo Green, Mos Def and Adam Levine.

Boyhood--Limited opening July 11. Filmmaker Richard Linklater, the man behind the Before Midnight trilogy, got rave reviews at Sundance for his latest film, which features an authentic portrait of a boy growing up. It was filmed over 12 years.

Chef--Opens TBA. Jon Favreau has been busy directing blockbusters (Ironman, Ironman 2, Cowboys & Aliens) but with Chef, he returns to his indie roots (Swingers) with a film that we hear has audiences drooling in the aisles. It co-stars Scarlett Johansson, Robert Downey Jr. and Dustin Hoffman.

Fed Up--Opens TBA. This startling documentary from Katie Couric lays a platter-full of blame for childhood obesity at the front door of the food industry.

Guardians of the Galaxy--Opens July 25. The trailer is solid gold. This promises to be the best and funniest superhero flick of the summer.

The Hundred-Foot Journey--Opens Aug. 8. Lasse Hallstrom, one of our favorite directors (Cider House Rules, Chocolat), films Helen Mirren as a snooty French chef who finds stiff competition from a tiny Indian restaurant.

One Chance--Opens Aug. 29. We instantly fell in love with this delightful, true-life musical comedy about a shy clerk who becomes Britain's biggest singing sensation.

The Trip to Italy--Opens TBA. Steve Coogan and Rob Bydon gear up for more roadtrip hijinx in this sequel to 2011's The Trip. If you haven't seen their dueling Michael Caine impressions before, take a change of clothes.

10 Movies To See At the Discount Theater

(These movies are fine, but not worth emptying your wallet for. It's worth waiting for them--to hit a discount movie house).

And So It Goes--Opens July 11. Twenty years after The American President, director Rob Reiner reunites with Michael Douglas; and invites Diane Keaton to the party.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes--Opens July 11. Yes, the 2011 reboot was really good, but this is more of a curiosity than a must-see.

Edge of Tomorrow--Opens June 6. This Tom Cruise vehicle looks rather smart, and we're crazy about Emily Blunt. But we can wait.

The Fault In Our Stars--Opens June 6. Advance word on this big-screen adaptation of John Green's 2012 bestseller is solid; but we can't get too excited about this film, knowing we'll cry buckets of tears.

Jersey Boys--Opens June 20. This Great White Way blockbuster was the only Broadway "jukebox" musical that we could tolerate. The true story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons is quite entertaining and get this: Clint Eastwood directs.

Magic In the Moonlight--Opens July 26. Woody Allen's latest, this time with Colin Firth, Emma Stone and Marcia Gay Harden.

Sin City: A Dame to Kill For--Opens Aug. 22. Joining the return of Jessica Alba, Rosario Dawson, Mickey Rourke and Bruce Willis are Josh Brolin, Eva Green and Lady Gaga.

Tammy--Opens July 2. Though not a great film, the plot doesn't really matter here. It's Melissa McCarthy, the funniest woman in film.

They Came Together--Opens June 27. Director David Wain (Wet Hot American Summer) has put together a fine cast for this story of hate at first sight: Paul Rudd, Amy Poehler, Bill Hader, Ed Helms, Kenan Thompson, Jack McBrayer

X-Men: Days of Future Past--Opens May 23. Fourteen years of X-Men movies rolled into one, bringing in the best of the casts: Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Halle Berry, Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy, Jennifer Lawrence.

And Finally...

If You See These 10 Movies, We'll Never Talk To You Again

22 Jump Street and Let's Be Cops--Open June 16 and Aug. 13. We double-dare you to explain the difference.

Blended--Opens May 23. Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore star in... oh, who cares.

The Expendables 3--Opens Aug. 15. Hold it, you're telling us that there have been three of these things?

Hercules--Opens July 25. Due to his acting, it's tough to distinguish Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson from the dead lion on top of his head.

Jupiter Ascending--Opens July 18. This will certainly descend into a black hole.

Maleficent--Opens May 30. Disney must stop picking at the carcasses of its classics.

Planes: Fire and Rescue--Opens July 18. Seriously, Disney? Snap out of it.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles--Opens Aug. 8. This isn't from Disney but it could be. Ugh.

Transformers: Age of Extinction--Opens June 27. Just for agreeing to star in this re-tread, Mark Wahlberg should have to star in a Boogie Nights sequel.