Summer Movies That Don't Star Harrison Ford A roundup of summer movies that aren't getting as much attention as the big blockbusters. Among the most exciting, according to Metro film critic Daniel Holloway, is Wall-E, Pixar's latest animated feature.
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Summer Movies That Don't Star Harrison Ford

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Summer Movies That Don't Star Harrison Ford

Summer Movies That Don't Star Harrison Ford

Summer Movies That Don't Star Harrison Ford

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  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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A roundup of summer movies that aren't getting as much attention as the big blockbusters. Among the most exciting, according to Metro film critic Daniel Holloway, is Wall-E, Pixar's latest animated feature.

Wall-E, Pixar's first big animated feature since Ratatouille. hide caption

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Hey, thanks, Mark. There are roughly 2,037 hours that make up this summer season. Soon you can spend about two hours of that on "The Incredible Hulk" with Ed Norton.

(Soundbite of movie trailer "The Incredible Hulk")

Mr. EDWARD NORTON: (As Bruce Banner) I've got a problem. There are aspects of my personality that I can't control.

Mr. TY BURRELL: (As Dr. Samson) See a shrink.

Mr. NORTON: (As Bruce Banner) It's a little bit more complicated than that.

Mr. BURRELL: (As Dr. Samson) Bruce, trust me when I tell you I've heard them all.

Mr. NORTON: (As Bruce Banner) Not this one.

MARTIN: And another couple of hours on "The Dark Knight."

(Soundbite of movie trailer "The Dark Knight")

Mr. ERIC ROBERTS: (As Salvatore Maroni) So what are you proposing?

Mr. HEATH LEDGER: (As The Joker) It's simple. Kill the Batman.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. LEDGER: (As The Joker) Here's my card.

Ms. MAGGIE GYLLENHAAL: (as Rachel Dawes) Bruce, this is Harvey Dent.

Mr. CHRISTIAN BALE: (as Bruce Wayne/Batman) Rachel's told me everything about you.

Mr. AARON ECKHART: (As Harvey Dent) I certainly hope not.

MARTIN: OK. But then what do you do with the more than 2,030 hours left? What are you going to do? Go outside? It's not air-conditioned out there. Rather than leave you alone with oxygen, we called in our movie man, Dan Holloway, on a special mission. He dropped by to give Mike Pesca and myself a summer watching list. Some things we had heard of and some we hadn't.

(Soundbite of reverse playback)

MARTIN: Can we talk about the latest Pixar phenom?




MARTIN: What's up with this film? June 27th, it comes out.

HOLLOWAY: First Pixar movie since "Ratatouille" last year. It's about a trash-compacting robot who's left behind on Earth after all of the humans have to leave. And some aliens come by. He makes a friend. He ends up going on an intergalactic journey to find meaning in his life.

MARTIN: That sounds awesome, but I also hear that this is kind of a silent movie?

HOLLOWAY: Yeah. It is kind of a silent movie. If you've seen the previews, WALL-E doesn't really talk a lot. He just kind of makes noises and I think it's going to be really...

MARTIN: Is this compelling storytelling?

HOLLOWAY: I think this could be really compelling storytelling. I think Pixar is the one studio that can make - even though they now fall under the Disney umbrella, they can make big, feature-length animated films that find large American audiences, and they have enough wiggle room to be a little experimental with them.

MARTIN: OK. What else is out there that you're looking forward to?

HOLLOWAY: Also coming out this summer is a movie called, "The Wackness," which I saw at Sundance. It stars Ben Kingsley, Josh Peck from Nickelodeon's "The Adventures of Drake and Josh," and Olivia Thirlby, who played Juno MacGuff's best friend in "Juno."

MARTIN: Oh, yeah.


Oh, yeah. I was saying she's got to be in more movies. She was great.

MARTIN: Yeah. She was good.

HOLLOWAY: She's kind of awesome, and Josh Peck plays a young man who is a high-school pot dealer. Ben Kingsley is his therapist and also a client. He gets weekly marijuana deliveries from him.

MARTIN: Wow, Ben.

HOLLOWAY: And eventually starts dating Olivia Thirlby's character who is Ben's daughter.

MARTIN: Wait a second. Is there an Olsen twin in this movie?

HOLLOWAY: Yes. This movie, besides being called "The Wackness," is also known as the film in which Ben Kingsley and Mary-Kate Olsen dry hump in a phone booth.


(Soundbite of laughter)


PESCA: Well, one of a series. I mean, they're going to be like Fred and Ginger.

MARTIN: That's the subtitle.

PESCA: It's just like them dancing and Kingsley...

HOLLOWAY: They're the new on0screen couple. They're, you know...

MARTIN: So do you like this film?

HOLLOWAY: I do like this film. This was actually one of my favorite movies I saw at Sundance. I mean, it was one of the bigger movies to play at Sundance. Clearly, it's got some big actors in it. It wasn't like it was going to struggle to find distribution, but I really did like it. It's kind of the anti-"Juno."

Everybody - you know, the kids are all doing the same sort of things, but it's not treated in a saccharine way. You know, they're doing them - they are more illicit. They're doing lots of drugs all the time. When they have sex, it's not this innocuous, like, sweet sort of thing. It's a little realer, I think, but still very much in entertainment.

PESCA: I think we may have a clip.

(Soundbite of movie trailer "The Wackness")

Mr. BEN KINGSLEY: (As Dr. Squires) Look around you, Luke. Is this what you want for your mind, for your life? You want it to be like this city? Sweep all the nastiness under the rug? Make everything OK? Puts the homeless people in prison, you know? These people are sick mentally. They're being put in jail. What do you think about that, Luke?

Mr. JOSH PECK: (As Luke Shapiro) It doesn't seem right.

Mr. KINGSLEY: (As Dr. Squires) No. No, it doesn't. That's why I don't want you on medication, Luke. You may as well open up a Starbucks in your brain. You follow me? Don't jump for the quick fix. Embrace your pain. Make it a part of you. You don't want to be like them. I don't want you to be like them.

Mr. PECK: (As Luke Shapiro) So, what? You've never taken any of that stuff?

Mr. KINGSLEY: (As Dr. Squires) Jesus, Luke, I'm on all of it. I don't want you to be like me either.

MARTIN: Speaking of drugs, this is a very rough segue into another film, "Pineapple Express."

HOLLOWAY: "Pineapple Express."

MARTIN: What do you know about this movie?

HOLLOWAY: David Gordon Green, and the gentleman who brought us "Superbad" and pretty much every comedy that's come out in the last few years...

PESCA: Apatow?

HOLLOWAY: Yes. The Apatow crew. They've done a movie called "Pineapple Express" with Seth Rogen and James Franco.

MARTIN: Oh, shocking.

HOLLOWAY: Yeah. With Seth Rogen!

MARTIN: Oh. But I like him.

HOLLOWAY: Who'd've thunk it?

PESCA: And Rog - and Franco's been silently in movies like "Knocked Up." They go back to "Freaks and Geeks" days.

HOLLOWAY: They do go back to "Freaks and Geeks."


PESCA: They were freaks together, Rogen and Franco.

HOLLOWAY: And if you were a fan of "Freaks and Geeks," this is a welcome film, because you see Franco kind of going back to his stoner roots. You know, he's done - he's made some attempts at doing more serious movies. He's made some attempts at becoming a sort of matinee idol, and of course, he was in the "Spiderman" films. This is him playing a drug dealer, which isn't too far off from what he was doing back in "Freaks and Geeks."

(Soundbite of movie trailer "Pineapple Express")

Mr. JOSH FRANCO: (As Saul Silver) Brass tax.

Mr. SETH ROGEN: (As Dale Denton) Yes, yes.

Mr. FRANCO: (As Saul Silver) Just got a shipment of the dopest dope, I've ever smoked. Hands down, dopest dope I've ever smoked, right here.

Mr. ROGEN: (As Dale Denton) It's not better than the blue-oyster weed. It can't be. I can't handle better than that.

Mr. FRANCO: (As Saul Silver) My friend, this is like, if that blue oyster (beep) met that Afghan Kush I had...

Mr. ROGEN: (As Dale Denton) Yeah.

Mr. FRANCO: (As Saul Silver) And they had a baby, and then meanwhile, that crazy northern lights stuff I had, and the super red espresso snowflake met, and had a baby.

Mr. ROGEN: (As Dale Denton) That was the bomb.

Mr. FRANCO: (As Saul Silver) And by some miracle, those two babies met, and (beep), this would be the (beep) that they birth.

Mr. ROGEN: (As Dale Denton) Wow.

Mr. FRANCO: (As Saul Silver) Yes.

Mr. ROGEN: (As Dale Denton) This is the product of baby (beep). OK.

Mr. FRANCO: (As Saul Silver) Smell it.

MARTIN: What else you got? What else is good?

HOLLOWAY: Also good, coming on August 22nd which is a little late in the summer, "Hamlet 2," which is directed by Andrew Fleming. This movie actually was the big-money purchase at Sundance this year, and it's starring the comedian Steve Coogan. He plays a New Mexico drama teacher, who, in order to save his program, stages a sequel of "Hamlet" that he wrote featuring light-saber battles and musical numbers with titles such as "Rock Me Sexy Jesus."


(Soundbite of movie trailer "Hamlet 2")

Mr. STEVE COOGAN: (As Dana Marschz) Hey. It's done.

Ms. DEBORAH CHAVEZ: (As Mrs. Marquez) What is?

Mr. COOGAN: (As Dana Marschz) My original work that's going to save drama, the thing I've been working on for the last 47 billion hours.

Ms. CHAVEZ: (As Mrs. Marquez) Oh, is that what you were doing? I thought you were just having a nervous meltdown.

Mr. COOGAN: (As Dana Marschz) You're not far off, lady pants. Any creative person will tell you, you've got to go a little crazy to make great (beep) art.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Ms. CHAVEZ: (As Mrs. Marquez) "Hamlet 2?"

Mr. COOGAN: (As Dana Marschz) The deuce, correct.

Ms. CHAVEZ: (As Mrs. Marquez) Doesn't everybody die at the end of the first one?

Mr. COOGAN: (As Dana Marschz) I have a device.

Ms. CHAVEZ: (As Mrs. Marquez) The time machine door...

Mr. COOGAN: (As Dana Marschz) That's the device.

Ms. CHAVEZ: (As Mrs. Marquez) Opens. Revealing Hamlet, Gertrude, Polonius and Hillary Clinton having what appears to be group sex.

Mr. COOGAN: (As Dana Marschz) It's about my troubled relationship with my father.

PESCA: Let's talk about a blockbustery-potential movie by a real credible indie and exceptional director, "Hellboy II."

HOLLOWAY: Yeah. Guillermo del Toro, last film was "Pan's Labyrinth," and as geeks all over America know, he is now going to be doing parts one and two of "The Hobbit," hopefully with Ian McKellen and some other people from Peter Jackson's "Lord of the Rings" movies. Jackson's going to produce. This is the sequel to his 2004 film starring Ron Pearlman of "Beauty and the Beast" fame. Also Selma Blair.

It's based on the comic by Mike Mignola. And I think this is - you know, Del Toro is sort of an artsy-er action director. This is still going to be very big film, but for folks who just can't bear the idea of sitting through the whole core, you know, some of these other films, this could - has the potential to be the sort of action blockbuster with an edge.

(Soundbite of movie trailer "Hellboy II")

Unidentified Announcer: When our world is threatened...

Mr. LUKE GOSS: (As Prince Nuada): I have returned to wage war and reclaim our land.

Unidentified Announcer: By forces beyond our understanding, our government turns to an elite top-secret organization.

Mr. RON PEARLMAN: (As Hellboy) We're moving out.

Ms. SELMA BLAIR: (As Liz Sherman) We have over 70 deaths reported, we have no survivors.

Mr. PEARLMAN: (As Hellboy) Same story here, babe.

Ms. BLAIR: (As Liz Sherman) Don't call me babe.

Mr. PEARLMAN: (As Hellboy) Hey. I said hey.

Mr. DOUG JONES: (As Abe Sapien) Red, we have company.

PESCA: Here's the question I have about this. According to IMDB, "Hellboy's" - the first one - original budget was 66 million, and it grossed a total of 60 million, so it didn't make back its budget. Why is - did it become a huge cult favorite? Why would they make a sequel to "Hellboy," of all movies?

HOLLOWAY: I think it - I'm sure if it came close to making on domestic box office, what it, you know, what it would cost to make, I'm sure it more than made up for it internationally and on DVD. It's the type of movie that probably did really well on DVD, and Del Toro won a lot of attention for "Pan's Labyrinth," and you know, "The Hobbit" deal just got inked, but that's certainly not going to hurt this film. I think this film has a chance to do much, much better than its predecessor at the box office.

MARTIN: Mm hm.

PESCA: Tell me about the movie that stars Aaron Eckhart as a veteran, and he has a 13-year-old neighbor. Do you know this one, "Towelhead"?

HOLLOWAY: Yes. I do, actually.

PESCA: I don't want to give away the title, and you'll see why.

(Soundbite of laughter)

HOLLOWAY: This is directed by Alan Ball, who was the creator of "Six Feet Under," and also a graduate of my alma mater, Florida State University, so - which is a very big deal for us, because we don't have much. We've got him, and Buddy Ebsen, and Burt Reynolds, and that's it.

(Soundbite of Mike Pesca singing and laughing)

PESCA: Dion Sanders has done some work.

HOLLOWAY: Dion, yeah. But yeah, it's directed by Alan Ball. It's actually his first feature as a director. He also wrote "American Beauty," and it's about a Lebanese-American girl who lives - moves to Houston to live with her father, and encounters some not-nice neighbors, and also it turns out that her father's not such a nice guy either.

PESCA: So Senor Holloway, if you, because you're a movie expert, had to forecast some things that this movie may have going against it, in terms of scoring big at the box office, what would some of those things be, would you say?

HOLLOWAY: Well, you could look at the theme, or the setting, or you could look at the fact that the title's a racial slur.

PESCA: Yes, "Towelhead."


PESCA: And interestingly, we have just found out from a whisper from our producer Jacob Ganz, they went back and forth on this title, and if you go to look up "Towelhead" in IMDB, it returns the movie, "Nothing is Private." So it was based on a book called "Towelhead," and then the movie was called "Nothing is Private," but now I think they have indeed embraced "Towelhead."

MARTIN: Hm. I don't think that's - I mean, it's definitely provocative.

HOLLOWAY: That's just kind of like waving the white flag of, we don't really care if people will come see this movie.

PESCA: Right. Although "Nothing is Private" doesn't really say much as a title. It's sort of the absence of a title.

HOLLOWAY: No. It sounds like a movie like starring Jennifer Connelly, where she looks forlorn, and...

PESCA: I'd watch that by the way.

HOLLOWAY: Yeah, yeah, you would.

PESCA: She does forlorn well.

MARTIN: Dan Holloway, movie critic for Metro papers, and movie critic for us, the Bryant Park Project. Daniel, thanks for giving us so much to look forward to this summer. We appreciate it.

HOLLOWAY: Thank you, guys.

(Soundbite of music)

MARTIN: So there's another film coming out this summer. We didn't get a chance to talk with Dan about it. It's called "Mongol." It's directed by Sergei Bodrov. It was nominated for best foreign film earlier this year at the Oscars, and it was made in Kazakhstan, being released this summer in the U.S., story of Genghis Khan. Interesting tidbit to note, it is not pronounced Gangis (ph), it is pronounced Jengis (ph) Khan.

PESCA: Like the game.

MARTIN: I'm invoking my inner Pesca to kind of set the record straight. Ian Chillag joins me in the studio now to share - it's your turn to provide an interesting tidbit about all things Mongolian.

IAN CHILLAG: OK. Well, this isn't about all things Mongolian, but...

MARTIN: Some things Mongolian, anything.

CHILLAG: I - you know, I run marathons, and I have a friend who is Mongolian, and he's blind, and I serve as a guide for him through marathons. He doesn't speak any English whatsoever.

MARTIN: Does he live in America?

CHILLAG: He lives in Ohio now. He lives kind of with another Mongolian man, and so he's really learned almost nothing, which made it a real challenge to guide this guy through marathons. Anyways, so I thought I would try and learn some Mongolian, to - you know, to tell him...

MARTIN: Yeah? Left? Right?

CHILLAG: You know, you need to get out of the way, there's a pothole, but I went online, and what I learned is, if you're trying to learn Mongolian, and you go to any Mongolian-English translator, the first thing you're going to learn everywhere is the Mongolian for the phrase, may your moustache grow like brushwood, which is...

MARTIN: A compliment. A blessing.

CHILLAG: Yeah, yeah. It's like best wishes. Yeah.

MARTIN: That's good to know, Ian. That's good to know. Speaking of summer movies, Jacob Ganz, anything you're looking forward to?

JACOB GANZ: Not a lot that I'm looking forward to. I mean, there's plenty out there that...

MARTIN: You're so negative, Jacob.

GANZ: I know. I really am.

MARTIN: You're always with the negative.

GANZ: I'm trying to cultivate an air of general completeness.

MARTIN: Fine. What's the worst movie coming out this summer?

GANZ: I don't know if it's going to be the worst...

MARTIN: In 20 seconds or less.

GANZ: I don't know if it's going to be the worst, but I can tell you what movie I'm really not looking forward to, based on the trailers.


GANZ: M. Night Shyamalan's "The Happening."

CHILLAG: Agreed.

MARTIN: It's supposed to be scary.

GANZ: It's supposed to be scary. It's supposed to be.


GANZ: We'll see how it goes.

CHILLAG: I thought it was a remake of - a movie adaptation of "What's Happening?" So I was excited, but it's not.

MARTIN: OK. There you have it, folks. Some things Mongolian, some things to look forward to in the films, in the theaters this summer, some things perhaps to avoid. And you know what? that does it for this hour of the Bryant Park Project. But we don't go away. We're online all the time at Enjoy your Memorial Day. I'm Rachel Martin, and this is the Bryant Park Project from NPR News.

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