June Forecast

By David Mumpower

10) Juwanna Mann

One day, I'm going to find the person responsible for casting the vivacious and charming Vivica A. Fox in this garbage. Those of you reading this who are defense attorneys may feel free to leave me your business cards in advance. Rather than take the obvious "Juwanna do this, Juwanna do that" line, I'll simply say this: Mann, what have we done to deserve this? See? Even jokes about the title blow. Train Wreck Central.

9) Hey Arnold! The Movie

This film apparently has nothing to do with Pat Morita and the rest of the Happy Days gang, so my interest in it is low. While the TV show does have a nice fan-base, it's certainly not on a par with Nickelodeon's later release this year, The Wild Thornberrys. Since we discussed last month how little I understand the family animation market (J'accuse!), there's not much else to add here except to point out that Hey Arnold! skews a bit older than some of the other films in the genre and, in the case of animation, that probably hurts it a bit.

8) Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood

I loved everything about this project right until I saw footage from it. Sandra Bullock is a personal favorite and James Garner is one of the least-appreciated talents in the world. His 1990s work in Maverick and Barbarians at the Gate was quietly elegant in its folksy charm. Fionnula Flanagan was robbed by the Academy in 2001 for her work in The Others and Ashley Judd is quite engaging despite her affiliation with the wrong SEC program. On paper, this sounds like a winner across the board. In commercials, it comes across as some horrible made-for-Lifetime movie that, if I stumbled across it while changing channels, would make me break a button on my remote as I hurriedly attempted to move on. It might be a wonderful movie, but I'm the rare man who very much enjoys chick flicks and I have zero interest. This one is fighting a massive uphill battle.

7) Bad Company

Great title, great song, not a great-looking movie. Chris Rock is a comedic genius and has proven to be a surprisingly solid box-office opener thus far, with a strong lead debut with Down to Earth. He is cast here as a street-wise man thrust into his twin brother's role as a Federal agent. The twist is that Anthony Hopkins becomes his comic foil in a promising buddy-pic concept where the stodgy old agent, a role Hopkins played well, albeit briefly, in Mission: Impossible 2, is forced to train the quick-witted yet uncontrollable new recruit on the fly. As strong a premise as they have here, the marketing has been a bit predictable and stale. I still like the film's potential, but in the quick-in and quick-out realm of summer releases, I fear that it might not sustain an audience after opening weekend.

6) Windtalkers

There was an educated guess made when Windtalkers was pushed to summer 2002 that all of the other war films currently scheduled for early 2002 would also fall back. Unfortunately for MGM, that didn't happen, and now Windtalkers goes from being the first in the chain of war films to roughly 17th. Following so soon after Black Hawk Down, We Were Soldiers, Hart's War et al., Windtalkers is going to face the inevitable backlash of a movie-going people that can't help be a bit war movie-d out right now. Fortunately, it isn't lacking in star-power or confidence behind the camera. Nic Cage has proven time and time again that he can open pretty much anything to a solid start, and John Woo is one of the finest directors the world has ever known. Placing them in tandem with a truly unique story idea gives Windtalkers a chance to succeed, but there is no doubt that the forced push from November is going to negatively impact it at least some. What we're tracking now is exactly how much.

5) The Bourne Identity

Many people have concerns about Matt Damon's ability to succeed as the lead actor, but I feel those issues have been largely addressed by the white-hot trailers. Directed by the marvelous Doug Liman (if you haven't seen Go yet...GO NOW!), The Bourne Identity promises to be a kinetic action flick with lush European settings and a killer premise. I honestly believe this to be one of the sleeper hits of the summer and will be surprised if it doesn't successfully launch a new franchise for Damon and Universal Pictures.

4) Scooby-Doo

This one is feast-or-famine, with passionate arguments being made on both sides. I totally agree with the people who maintain that it looks awful. I simply choose to exchange that word and substitute campy in its place. When push comes to shove, this is one of the most beloved TV characters of all time, so I see it as being much more of a spiritual cousin to How The Grinch Stole Christmas than I do to The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle. When we reduce the formula down to its core, Scooby-Doo comes down to the relationship between Scooby and Shaggy, and by all appearances, that's the part they've drilled. For all of the abuse he's received for his work in classics like Summer Catch and Wing Commander, Matthew Lillard has always offered the promise of greatness and I think that day is at hand.

3) Mr. Deeds

Welcome back, Mr. Sandler. You're forgiven for that last misstep where you played Satan, Jr. so long as you promise to never let it happen again.

2) Lilo and Stitch

While I may have no basic understanding of what makes up a family film's appeal, I'm also not blind to reason. Disney has finally taken it upon themselves to update the animated classic in a manner that will freshen up the genre tremendously. Don't be surprised if Stitch is THE breakout character of summer 2002.

1) Minority Report

The way I see it, Steven Spielberg and Tom Cruise are squared off against Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith for the title of biggest film of the summer. I currently favor Jones and Smith, but with Episode II wetting the appetites of science-fiction fans but not completely satiating them, it's entirely possible that this Blade Runner-meets-The Fugitive mix just might find the audience required to pull off an upset. Whatever you might think of him personally, give Tom Cruise credit. No actor in Hollywood is better at picking hits than him. Getting Vanilla Sky, an art-house flick cleverly disguised by its marketing, to $100 million is nothing short of amazing. In an action sci-fi project like this, the sky is the limit.

  • Read Tim Briody's June forecast
  • Read Kim Hollis' June forecast
  • Read Reagen Sulewski's June forecast
  • Read Calvin Trager's June forecast