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5 movies I want to see this summer

Summer’s my favorite season for a variety of reasons: baseball season, swimming, watermelon, fireworks, trips to the beach, etc. But an underrated part of any summer is the summer movie season, which consistently outranks every other movie season. For example, 2008 gave us Iron Man (foreshadowing alert!), Wall-E and Dark Knight; 2009 gave us Up, The Hangover and District 9, just to name a few. Here are five movies I can’t wait to see this summer.

5. Robin Hood

Robin Hood (May 14)

Robin Hood (May 14)

I’ve always been partial to the Disney version of this classic, and actually, that’s the only one I’ve seen. But I’m looking forward to this darker take on the story with the never-makes-a-bad-movie Russell Crowe.

(Seriously, I just spent a couple minutes looking through Russell Crowe’s filmography to figure out if he had actually ever made a bad movie, if he has, it certainly hasn’t been in the last 10 years or so. Except maybe Master and Commander.)

4. The A-Team

The A-Team (June 11)

The A-Team (June 11)

Once again, a remake for a franchise I don’t have a lot of familiarity with. But I see this as either a big hit or a big miss, but Liam Neeson and Bradley Cooper can be trusted to not make something that’s completely unwatchable.

(Okay, I understand Liam Neeson was in Clash of the Titans. So seriously, what are the odds of him making TWO bad movies in one year? Wait, don’t answer that.)

3. Toy Story 3

Toy Story 3 (June 18)

Toy Story 3 (June 18)

I’m not one of those traditional Pixar junkies who think Toy Story is the Holy Grail of all things CGI, but more importantly, I am a Pixar junkie. And while some of the other ideas being floated around Pixar intrigue me more than another Toy Story, Pixar will either have to make about 10 bad movies in a row or have a movie sing the praises of Hitler in sepia tone to a Michael Jackson soundtrack (okay, I’ll admit, despite being completely offended, I’d have to see this. How could you not?). I’m not banking on either one. Ever since being pleasantly surprised by Cars, I’m willing to give the Pixar folks the benefit of the doubt.

2. Get Him to the Greek

Get Him to the Greek (June 4)

Get Him to the Greek (June 4)

This one might seem out of place. And it is, sort of. I heard of this film a couple days ago because Jonah Hill is in it. When I found out that Elton Brand is also in it, reprising his role as Aldous Snow from Forgetting Sarah Marshall I was sold. Judd Apatow as the producer seals the deal. I fully expect this movie to be every bit as funny as Forgetting Sarah Marshall.

(I can’t really explain why I like Jonah Hill so much, but no one plays the “I’m incredibly awkward so I’m just gonna’ stand here and smile stupidly” role funnier than him. Oh, also, him singing along with Aldous Snow in Forgetting Sarah Marshall while Jason Segel looks on, astonished. Yeah, this movie is gonna’ be funny.)

1. Iron Man 2

Iron Man 2 (May 7)

Iron Man 2 (May 7)

Iron Man was the classic “surprisingly good movie sneaking up on everyone” of 2008 (District 9 was 2009’s), and I, like everyone else, didn’t expect as much as Iron Man delivered. It leapfrogged into second place on my favorite superhero movie franchise, just behind the Christopher Nolan Batman films.

Needless to say, Iron Man 2 won’t have that luxury. It’s got higher expectations, a higher marketing budget and has been on people’s radar since the first movie came out. Another red flag for me is the AC/DC Wal-mart exclusive soundtrack; part of what made Iron Man great was the rock-laden score by Ramin Djawadi, and hopefully whatever ends up being the actual soundtrack to the movie is similar.

They have added Scarlett Johansson, though, and seriously, how can you go wrong with that? The trailers with Warmachine footage also looks incredible, and ultimately, Robert Downey Jr. is still Tony Stark (he was as important to that role as Johnny Depp was to Capt. Jack Sparrow). I will be seeing Iron Man 2 at midnight in…good golly, less than two weeks. Where does the time go?

I’m sure this list won’t be the exact list of my favorite movies in 2010, but hopefully at least some of them make it. Got any others that I missed? Let me know!

Here I dreamt I was an architect…

Hello blogosphere! I bet you thought you got rid of me, but never fear, my faithful (or obsessive, in some cases) following. Lots to catch up on, so hopefully my fingers don’t get tired – there’s a lot of stuff to talk about.

  • I’ll start with some personal news, involving my ballpark tour thus far. I took a somewhat long-awaited trip to Ohio University this weekend, and thus unexpectedly went to a game at the Great American Ballpark in Cincinatti, OH.

    I say the visit was somewhat unexpected, because as you all may recall, Cincinatti was not on my to-visit list when I made the list back in March. However, given its close proximity to Ohio University (at least somewhat) and inexpensive tickets, I could hardly pass up the opportunity.

    Getting to Cincinatti was somewhat of an adventure, thanks to our fearless leader (ahem, Frankie) but we got there and the stadium looks very nice and new from the outside:

    Great American Ballpark

    The view from our seats was also nice:

    Great American Ballpark
    As nice as the stadium looked, something about it didn’t quite strike the right chord with me. Maybe it was the obnoxious (and dumb) Cincinatti fans, maybe it was the old fashioned organ music playing constantly in what is a very new ballpark, or maybe it was the fact that the Indians simply weren’t playing very well. On a scale of 1 to 10, I’d say the Great American Ballpark gets a solid 6. Nonetheless, a good time was had by all and some more pictures have been posted.

  • I have a suggestion for the people at Apple, particularly those making iTunes.

    One of the coolest features (in my opinion) of iTunes is the ability to generate Smart Playlists, ones which are automatically populated based on rules that you set. For example, one of the preset Smart Playlists is the “Recently Played” playlist, which creates a playlist of all of the items played in the last two weeks.

    But say, for example, you wanted to have all items played in the last three weeks. All you would do is right click on the playlist and click “Edit Smart Playlist”. You get this interface:
    iTunes Smart Playlist

    You can filter by date last played, rating, play count, whatever you want. But what the Smart Playlist feature basically boils down to is the ability to query the iTunes database. For example, the SQL query for the screenshot above (more or less) is:

    SELECT [songs] -- TOP 25 -- not needed here
    FROM TableOfSongs
    WHERE (UNIX_TIMESTAMP() - LastPlayedDate <= 2*7*24*3600)
    ORDER BY LastPlayedDate

    Before really discovering this feature, I made a playlist about once a month featuring my favorite songs at that time. But the last playlist I made was in August 2007, because I created a “Random Favorites” playlist which looks a little bit like this:
    iTunes Smart Playlist

    Notice the “match any” criterion. What I really wish is that there were more options, because as it stands right now, I can only have PlayCount > 5 OR (UNIX_TIMESTAMP() - DateAdded) < (1 * 7 * 24 * 3600) OR Rating = '*****'. What I'd really like is the ability to have PlayCount > 5 OR ((UNIX_TIMESTAMP() - DateAdded) < (1 * 7 * 24 * 3600) AND Rating = '*****'). You can't do that with the current tools, and while that's a meaningless example, if I were given the tools I may never have to create a real playlist again.

    Editor's note, 3/31/2013: I'm replacing these screenshots because the originals no longer exist, but since 2008, many of these features have been added.

  • Hillary Clinton is still alive - not only alive, but alive and kicking. The primaries in Kentucky and Oregon are tomorrow, and most experts expect that Clinton will win Kentucky while Obama will win Oregon. And "Operation Chaos" continues.

    Clinton should really drop out unless she wins Oregon tomorrow - meaning that she should simply drop out. She's hurting Obama, whether she likes it or not (and secretly, I think she enjoys the fact that she may not win the election but she'll still decide who is elected). But we'll see.

  • I saw Iron Man over the weekend, and let me just say this: I was floored. I totally did not expect that movie to be as good as it was, although I did figure it might give me a quote of the day:

    Army: Is it true that you went twelve-for-twelve with the Maxim Girls last year?
    Tony Stark: That is an excellent question. Yes and no. March and I had a scheduling conflict but fortunately the Christmas cover was twins.

It's still way too cold for the month of May - here's to global warming, everybody!

Update: Fixed the SQL to match.