Believe it or not, I wasn't yet a full-blown movie geek in 1998. I didn't even start saving my ticket stubs until the summer of '99. In all fairness, I hadn't been quite old enough to go to the movies by myself yet -- not much younger than any of my colleagues in the summers they covered, but young enough to spare you the math.
Every third weekend, my younger brother and I spent with our father, and a reliable way to spend time together was often to go to the movies or rent something and stay home. So by only (probably) going to the movies every third weekend, I only saw maybe six movies theatrically over the course of those eighteen weeks. I'll bold those that I remember going to see as I go along, and then touch upon the rest of the releases in between.
(By the way: the weekends in the summer of 1998 happen to line up with those of this summer. Let's see just how far we've come...) span style="font-weight: bold;">May 1st: The first weekend of May being the new start of summer didn't quite catch on until 1999's The Mummy, so instead, we were offered Patrick Swayze's action-packed tractor-trailer flick, Black Dog (I've probably seen half of this on cable); Spike Lee's Denzel-starring sports drama, He Got Game (a friend lent me this for a good year and I never got around to watching it); and Les Miserables with Liam Neeson and Geoffrey Rush (never seen it, never read it, moving on).
May 8th: The aforementioned creep of the Big Weekend seems to be reflected in the timing of the release of Deep Impact, which I watched on home video, liked at the time, and probably still do. But man, to go from Jon Favreau starring as Astronaut #4 to directing an Iron Man 2? It would probably take a black president like Morgan Freeman to achieve change like that... Also opening is Jada Pinkett Smith's urban rom-com, Woo, which was the 1998 equivalent of counter-programming something like Next Day Air against something like Star Trek.
May 15th: I never saw The Horse Whisperer, and I never saw Quest for Camelot. (Okay, Bulworth did open on a whopping two screens this weekend, and I surely wouldn't have appreciated it as much then as I do now.)
May 20th: We did go to see Godzilla. I bought the hype. I got the toys. I was the ideal age to fall hook, line, and sinker into the big, bad monster movie. It was fun then. I'm afraid to watch it now. Still, all things considered, at least my pops didn't take us to see Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas instead that Friday, the 22nd. A whole different kind of mutant lizard in that one...
May 29th: Chris Farley follows in John Candy's footsteps by making a frontier comedy and then passing away before it comes out (Almost Heroes), Sandra Bullock pulls a Renee Zellweger and goes back home to fall in love with Harry Connick Jr. (the Forest Whitaker-directed Hope Floats -- back when Mae Whitman was the day's Abigail Breslin), and I have no idea what I Got the Hook-Up! is.
June 5th: Gwyneth Paltrow is married to Michael Douglas, sleeping with Viggo Mortensen, and bending over Alfred Hitchcock in A Perfect Murder, and Jim Carrey straddles the comedy/drama boundary most successfully in Peter Weir's still potent The Truman Show.
June 12th: I eventually saw Can't Hardly Wait, Dirty Work (directed by Bob Saget), and Six Days, Seven Nights (directed by Ivan Reitman) all on video. There's a very good chance this was the week I went on a school trip to Washington, D.C. (Alibi!)
June 19th: Our summer day-care program took us all to see the cross-dressing antics of Mulan (oh, to see Eddie Murphy as an animated, wise-cracking sidekick for a change), and I caught up with The X-Files: Fight the Future on good ol' VHS.
June 26th: First, Eddie Murphy as a wise-cracking animal. Then, Eddie Murphy surrounded by wise-cracking animals! Of course we saw Dr. Dolittle in theaters! Talk about the glory of widescreen! And yet, eleven years later, I still haven't made my way through all over Steven Soderbergh's Out of Sight (I know, I know, I ought to! Simmer!).
July 1st: Armageddon -- now I know where credited co-writer J.J. Abrams got the idea for all those lens flares in outer space. (Also receiving a writing credit: Tony freakin' Gilroy.)
July 10th: I suppose that I'd still have rather seen the family-friendly Lethal Weapon 4 over the Gremlins-by-way-of-Toy Story shenanigans of Small Soldiers, so thanks for making that call, dad. (Fun fact! Kevin Dunn would go on to also play a parent concerned over the perils of advanced technology in DreamWorks' Transformers films.) The other opener: Madeline, from the director of Woo (!), in which Frances McDormand keeps tabs on a rambunctious French schoolgirl. (Oh, but if a guy does it, it's considered "creepy.")
July 15th: There's Something About Mary comes out, and everybody loses their s**t. I see it on video and indeed laugh. I likewise caught up with that Friday, the 17th's The Mask of Zorro at home, but it wasn't nearly as raucous.
July 24th: My father wouldn't take us to see Saving Private Ryan; the opening scene didn't seem to disturb him as much as the slow, steady stabbing of one soldier by another. It seemed like a great movie by the time we rented it; I really should give it another spin. Also opening: the much less disturbing, still fitfully funny Mafia! (man, when she throws the poodle...), and the allegedly disturbing Disturbing Behavior (nope, never saw).
July 31st: One night at the video store, I had picked out Blade and was impatiently waiting for my brother to make his selection so that we could go home already. I saw something about "South Park" on the box for BASEketball and, knowing both he and I liked that show that we weren't really supposed to watch, I nudged him to go for that. Lo and behold, it was actually pretty funny (I still think it is). Sophomoric, sure, but the part where Trey Parker's character realized that a much-cherished baseball game had been taped over with the reality special "Roadkill Caught on Tape," you would've sworn that we'd been huffing nitrous oxide. Otherwise: I don't recall whether we went to see The Negotiator in theaters or not (Shoutin' Sam Jackson in surround sound!), and I've yet to set aside the time for either Ever After or The Parent Trap.
August 7th: Halloween: H20? More like Shrugoween: H2-Oh, Yeah, There's Probably Something Better On. And while I thought Snake Eyes was really clever at the time, I stand skeptical today.
August 14th: If your options were Air Bud: Golden Receiver, How Stella Got Her Groove Back, Return to Paradise and The Avengers, you probably would've seen The Avengers too.
August 21st: I mentioned Blade above, wasn't recently tickled by Wrongfully Accused, and haven't seen either Dance with Me or Dead Man on Campus.
August 27th: I turned eleven.
August 28th: No dice on 54 or Why Do Fools Fall in Love?.