It wasn't long after I became a critic that I realized how the month of August tended to collect bad movies, like dust. Every year, the studios roll the dice on stupid-sounding ideas and come up, surprisingly enough, with stupid movies. They know it and we know it, but they have to try to get their money back anyway, so these movies get released, and they generally get released in August. I could go back and list dozens of examples -- OK, here's one example: Gigli, in August of 2003 -- but suffice to say that the last of the eagerly anticipated blockbusters opens in July and then the junk opens in August, clearing the way for awards season in the last four months of the year.
Now, last summer in my humble opinion was one of the best movie summers of my life, starting with Iron Man and powering through things like The Dark Knight, WALL-E, Hellboy II, etc. Regardless, I expected things to slow down and get stinky in August, and indeed the month got off to a bad start with the godawful The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor. Then there was the latest from Ben Stiller, whom I generally can't stand, but I quickly signed up as a lifetime member of the Tropic Thunder fan club. Pineapple Express made me laugh just as helplessly, and Woody Allen's Vicky Cristina Barcelona made #1 on my year's ten best list. We even got the exemplary horror film The Midnight Meat Train, even though I didn't get to see that until DVD.