Generally speaking, August sucks.
It’s hot and humid. My lawn dies.
But August does have one thing going for it. It’s the best month of the year for watching movies.
Granted, this wasn’t planned. In fact, it’s kind of like one of those experiments where a lab geek is trying to develop a new hemorrhoidal jelly and ends up discovering a cure for cancer.
If you’re into big, expensive (and dumb) popcorn pictures, you might want to stick to May, June and July.
If your taste runs to portentous Oscar hopefuls then November and December will be your months.
August is my favorite movie month by default.
It just sort of happened. I realized that so far this month we’ve seen the debuts of “Another Earth,” “Sarah’s Key,” “The Help,” “One Day” and “The Trip.” Not to mention “Crazy Stupid Love,” “Project Nim,” and “The Double Hour,” all of which opened on July 29 and so in a sense are actually August releases.
In some months I wait in vain to see even one reasonably smart film. That’s not a problem in August.
That’s because Hollywood views August as the dog’s-ass end of the movie year. The big summer releases have already opened. The kids are getting ready for school and won’t be packing the megaplexes any more.
And so by default August has become the month when the industry unloads all the films they weren’t sure how to market, the films in which they have no faith.
The serious dramas. Movies with downbeat elements. Smart films. Subtitled films.
In other words, good films.
So, thank you, August. And thank you, Hollywood, even though you had no idea what you were doing.
| Robert W. Butler