Iron Man opens this week, and thus the summer movie season has officially arrived. I love a good summer movie as much a the next guy, but this morning I found myself looking back at some of the little films that cropped up during the summer; some of them managed to get a "summer" feel on a much lower budget and without all the advertisement and hype. My absolute favorite summer art house movie has to be Tom Tykwer's Run Lola Run (1999). I saw it three times that summer, and each time I clutched my seat, my heart pounding. I was amazed at how brilliantly Tywker had mapped out his three possible storylines and how lovely the small, quiet interludes were. I loved Franka Potente, and I loved his throbbing score, which practically entered into your bloodstream and pumped up your adrenaline by hand. Every color, movement and cut was designed for maximum effect (I've always been puzzled how Tykwer's movies since have seemed so long and sluggish.)

Also that same summer, John Sayles delivered his baffling adventure/suspense film Limbo, which had several people trapped on an island awaiting rescue and stalked by bad guys. The ending had everybody in an uproar and caused the film to die a quick death. The summer before that one, Darren Aronofsky's debut feature Pi gave me a good dose of sci-fi thrills, as well as a few head-scratching puzzles (which were actually real). 2000 was a particularly bad summer, but John Waters' Cecil B. DeMented provided a mischievous little oasis in the middle of it all. In that film, renegade filmmakers kidnap a Hollywood starlet and force her to be in their indie production; each team member has a tattoo of a maverick filmmaker's name. (I've often wondered which filmmaker's name I would pick for a tattoo? Maybe David Cronenberg...)