Film and TV

Movies Released Over July 4: The Good, the Bad and the Meh

With Houston's heat and humidity, most of you will no doubt be retreating into the cold and comfortable movie houses across the city and into the suburbs. And why not, there are always a handful of dumb flicks to numb your brain with. Pick one, preferably with superheroes, explosions, aliens, naked people or a combination of all of those. If only Magic Mike had an alien invasion subplot...

The Independence Day holiday is a notorious dumping ground for huge movies with majestic budgets and zero shame in showing off said budgets. The studios all know that we can't resist spending a few hours with their major summer tent poles. Even the heartiest indie film fanatic sat in line for The Amazing Spider-Man last night at midnight.

This week the release schedule seems a tad off kilter, with Oscar contender Katy Perry: Part of Me hitting theaters July 5, Thursday, and not today or tomorrow, to take advantage of perverted teen boys and Katy-krazy preteen girls. Oliver Stone's drug saga Savages comes Friday, but you will all wait until it comes to Redbox.

The past three decades of July 2, 3 or 4 have been sporadically sensational. Last year the only capital-M major film to come out near the holiday was Transformers: Dark of the Moon. It would only end up making around $352 million that summer. The first Transformers effort was a big hit over the 2007 weekend, too.

2004's Spider-Man 2 was a big deal on June 30, 2004, and it would become easily the best-reviewed of the three Tobey Maguire-starring Spidey movies, too.

Will Smith used to be the veritable king of the holiday, releasing Independence Day, two Men in Black flicks and Hancock, but he took a career layoff a few years back, returning with the third MIB this year near Memorial Day. Let's all shed a tear for 1999's Wild Wild (Awful Strange) West.

This Moviefone blog counts down all of the best and not-so-brightest films to grace marquees over the holiday. I totally forgot that Back to the Future was an Independence Day baby, but then again I was only three that year. I do remember seeing Martin Short and Dennis Quaid's Innerspace caper in 1987. My beloved Innerspace aside, the holiday has held plenty of modern classics, too, like Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Airplane! and Die Hard 2. The first Die Hard came out on July 15, 1988, though.

As for 1998's Armageddon, some of you no doubt got to second base during that "Animal Crackers" scene. That one hit on July 1 and became the go-to romantic-action-drama of the year. I wouldn't know, though; I was on my fourth screening of the X-Files film that weekend.

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Craig Hlavaty
Contact: Craig Hlavaty