Youth Culture Window
It’s that time of year again; super heroes and villains fight for something more important than freedom, power, or even ex-girlfriends. I’m talking about the almighty dollar.
This summer, the box office will be a battleground for cash unlike any other.
A Strong Lineup
If Detroit had a lineup as strong as this year’s summer movie list, they’d have won a Super Bowl by now! 2010’s summer blockbusters have it all: sequels, (several) 80’s remakes, 3D ogres, and geriatric mercenaries. Many of these films will attract young crowds; in fact, many of these movies are targeted at young crowds.
Hollywood has always capitalized on summer boredom and pocket change earned by teenagers’ part-time jobs, and they’re not about to alter their game plan this year. Tinseltown will be cranking out movies that will magnetize teens – and their money – beginning as early as May.
If you aren’t aware of all the movies your students will want to see this summer, relax. This two-part article will cover every major blockbuster on their radar.
Though there are actually dozens of new movies being released between May and August, I won’t highlight all of them. This list isn’t meant to be an exhaustive one, nor a vote for which flicks are the best. It’s just a list that includes the movies that most teens will have an inclination to see.
For each film I highlight, I’ll include a short description of the plot, a link to the official trailer, and the movie’s rating (if available). So butter up the popcorn and kick back. This summer’s movies are gonna be huge. Here they are, in order of release date.
Part One – May to Mid June
Iron Man 2 (May 7)
Everybody’s favorite arms-manufacturing playboy billionaire, Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr), is back for another round in Iron Man 2. Ladies’ man by day, superhero by night, Stark dons the iron mask again in what’s sure to be THE kick-off event for this summer’s blockbuster lineup.
OK, OK…come to think of it, he’s a ladies’ man by night, too.
In this sequel, Tony Stark is embraced by the world as the iconic Iron Man, a superhero everyone knows and loves. Well almost everyone. Iron Man discovers a new foe – and a very capable one – in the figure of Whiplash (played by Mickey Rourke).
The movie’s official website claims the flick has been given the rating of PG-13 for “intense scenes of sci-fi action and violence, and some language.” Here’s the movie’s official trailer…all decked out with the AC/DC soundtrack!
I really hope you don’t have anything on the youth ministry calendar for this weekend. If you do, you’ll be all alone.
Robin Hood (May 14)
Move over Kevin Costner, another has come to portray the most famous archer of all time. In this year’s rendition of the movie, Russell Crowe not only plays the famous (or infamous, depending on how you view him) man of Sherwood Forest, but he also re-teams with director Ridley Scott of Gladiator fame to tell the tale of “the hero behind the outlaw.”
In this centuries-old story of England’s legendary crusader, the world’s most beloved thief battles against the tyrannical Sheriff of Nottingham (Matthew Macfadyen)…while courting Lady Miriam (Cate Blanchett) on the side.
The theatrical trailer for the movie – which plays automatically on the movie’s official site – is testament to the imagination of an epic tale told by the talented Ridley Scott. The movie currently carries a rating of PG-13 for “violence including intense scenes of warfare, and some sexual content.”
(I can already tell that this film will yield several MOVIE CLIP DISCUSSIONS you can use with your group, so keep a close look out for the free resources we create for you.)
Shrek Forever After (May 21)
This movie also goes by Shrek 4, and is being called “the final chapter.” (We’ll see about that. After all, this franchise has made Dreamworks billions on the worldwide market!)
How can I describe this movie that features a talking ogre who is friends with a talking donkey (and talking cat)? Umm…I can’t, so I’ll just let the writers from IMDB do their thing: “A bored and domesticated Shrek pacts with deal-maker Rumpelstiltskin to get back to feeling like a real ogre again, but when he’s duped and sent to a twisted version of Far Far Away – where Rumpelstiltskin is king, ogres are hunted, and he and Fiona have never met – he sets out to restore his world and reclaim his true love.”
And there you have it. The trailer for this CGI-crafted movie reveals what everybody’s favorite fairy tale characters have been up to since the last installment. The movie is rated PG due to “mild action, some rude humor and brief language.”
MacGruber (May 21)
The maniacal Dieter von Cunth (Val Kilmer) has stolen a nuclear warhead and plans to unleash it against Washington D.C. and only one man can stop him. (Ahhh…nothing like an original plot line.)
That’s pretty much the synopsis for Saturday Night Live’s parody of ABC’s action hero named MacGyver who had his own TV show from 1985 until 1992. MacGruber, played by Will Forte, is a recurring character on NBC’s late night comedy show. They’re now taking the concept to the big screen.
If I’m honest here, this movie touches on a few nerves. You see, I’m a true child of the 80’s and a big fan of the original mullet-wearing, no-problem’s-too-big, I’ll-make-everything-out-of-nothing…with-my-bare-hands, and-save-the-girl-while-I’m-at-it, action hero. The film’s trailer shows just how much lampooning of the original MacGyver they’re planning. MacGruber goes from one bungled attempt at saving our nation to another in this Saturday Night Live skit-turned-movie.
How dare they defy the mullet!
And based on the rating, R, the mullet isn’t all they’re defying. This flick will include “strong crude and sexual content, violence, language and some nudity.”
Seriously? I guess that's not too surprising from the makers of Saturday Night Live. Sigh.
The Karate Kid (June 11)
Ralph Macchio, eat your heart out. Jaden Smith, son of Will Smith, will be reprising the role of The Karate Kid this summer.
Following a (very) similar plot line to the original, made way back in 1984, a young boy named Dre – instead of Daniel-san – experiences severe troubles after a life-altering family move. But instead of bumping into the late Pat Morita, he learns karate from this generation’s favorite martial arts expert, Jackie Chan, who plays Mr. Han.
The movie trailer shows the parallels between this flick and the original; for instance, the new one pokes fun at the first in a few subtle ways, and they even borrow some direct quotes from the first film.
It’s rated PG for “some bullying, martial arts action violence, and some mild language.” This film will probably have a few themes that are close to lots of kids’ hearts: bullying, first romances, loneliness, and family struggles. Add to that the intense martial arts sequences that audiences have come to expect from the likes of Jackie Chan, and this movie is positioned to be a hit (and kick) with young audiences.
There’s another big film being released the same night as The Karate Kid, but you’ll have to check back next week to see what it is and what else is happening on the big screen through August.
In next week’s article, I’ll not only cover the last half of the summer’s blockbusters, but I’ll also give you a few pointers on how to handle some of the movies’ messages you might not agree with. In the meantime, don’t forget to check out our movie review page where Todd gives his “professional” critique of each film and offers suggestions for families.
The stories told on the silver screen this summer will be extreme. So, let’s do all that we can, now, to make sure our teenagers don’t lose sight of the most intense story of all.
David R. Smith
is a 15-year youth ministry veteran who helps youth
workers and parents through his writing, training, and speaking. David specializes in sharing the
gospel, and equipping others do the same. He co-authored his first book this year,
Ministry By Teenagers
. David provides free
resources to anyone who works with teenagers on his website, DavidRSmith.org
David resides with his wife and son in Tampa, Florida.
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