I look to the coming summer movie season much as ancient cavemen must have looked toward the huge thunderstorms that swept across the blasted plain; with terror, and fear, and a little bit of awe. It was not just the first day of spring that made me think of summer, nor was it the call of the sparrow as she returns from the sunnier climes in the South where she has rested for the past months; it was the frickin' fact that X-Men: The Last Stand is playing at Cannes. There's a New Yorker cartoon by BEK, that master of block-drawn, rushing, stout-legged figures. In it, two people stride out from a movie theater and one asks (and I'm paraphrasing) "When did the movies get stupid year-round?" Well, you can update it: "When did the movies get stupid world-wide?"

There are summer movies I'm looking forward to unabashedly. Part of me wants to see Phillip Seymour Hoffman as nerd Goldfinger, despite all my misgivings about building an action franchise on the gleaming foundation of Tom Cruise's grin.  Part of me wants to see a Pirates of the Caribbean sequel, even if subsequent viewings of the first have made it abundantly clear that the movie's third act is as slack and unspooled as a mains'l in the doldrums. (That's a shout-out to all y'all Patrick O'Brien fans! Yeah!)

But I'm not looking forward to X:3, despite liking the first two. Or the other big summer movie debuting at Cannes, The Da Vinci Code. When told that Ron Howard was going to be directing the film of The Da Vinci Code, I was actually glad -- it combined two things I had no interest in (Catholic-cryptography boring best-sellers and Ron Howard's next project) into one package.