How I Spent My Summer Vacation

31 Aug

It’s Labor Day Weekend, the unofficial end of summer.  Summer officially ends on September 22, the Fall Equinox, when day and night are of equal length (12 hours), the Sun crosses the celestial equator moving southward in the northern hemisphere. The days will get shorter, and in theory things should cool off. 

The first day of school, is the Tuesday after Labor Day, it always follows the same ritual, see old friends, get your schedule, get your books.  The first English class of the year means writing a quick essay titled, “What I did this Summer” or “How I Spent My Summer Vacation”.  

I love summer vacation, the smell of Coppertone, mixed with chlorine, wearing your bathing suit under your shorts and T all summer because you never know when you are going to end up at the next pool. Day dreaming about how next year will be your year, plotting your look, your attitude, got it all figured out. 

Catching up on General Hospital, wondering if Sam and Jason will ever find happiness. Occasionally reading a few pages from the summer reading list, knowing full well that you are going to cram all that reading into the car ride you have to take from New Jersey to Cap Cod when your family goes for it’s annual summer vacation.

Sitting in the third row, trying to block out the endless drone of your parents chatter. Thank God they got the DVD players with headphones for your brother and sister. Out of the corner of your eye you catch the flicker of color that Sponge Bob makes and your mind slowly wanders from Wuthering Heights to memories of the lifeguards at the Cape.  

Sam Elliot in the movie “Lifeguard”

Then that movie Lifeguard with Sam Elliot pops into your head. Now if you have never seen Sam in this movie, you are missing a lot. He was hot when he did Road House, imagine how hot he was 13 years before that when he did this movie. But I digress.  Obviously I am not going to have sex with the lifeguard, like the girl in the movie,  but they are the mythical creatures of summer, the tales you make up when you see your friends in September.  The perfect tan bodies, the beach hair, the whole rescue fantasy thing.

Sam Elliot in the movie “Road House”

Our family vacation is the 3rd week in August, after the Cape we head to Boston for the big family reunion and the feasts of St. Anthony and St. Lucy. In between June and August I have time to kill, so its movies, TV and hanging with the girls and my boyfriend when he has time. He is working this summer and is busy, busy, whatever.

My summer started with The Avengers, by box office standards ($1.49 billion worldwide, $617.8 millions US) this was a hit, the critics loved it 92% on RT, the people loved it 96%.  They finally found a Hulk we can all love, thank you Mark Ruffalo. As a longtime Joss Whedon fan, it’s great to see him get his big screen success. Can’t wait for the sequel.

While I was waiting for The Dark Knight Rises, I amused myself with some new TV, in the form of Saving Hope, a sappy hospital drama imported from Canada.  I tuned in to see if Erica Durance (Lois Lane on Smallville) was really a horrible actress of had just been saddled with bad material and poor direction on Smallville. It turns out she isn’t as bad as I thought, and while not in the same league as Elisabeth Moss, she didn’t totally suck. But the show kinda did, by the end of the summer I didn’t care if Michael woke up or not.

I discovered my new guilty pleasure, Awkward on MTV.  Next up, Bunheads, I was really looking forward to this, I am a Gilmore Girls fan, and was thrilled at the thought of getting that warm fuzzy, quick witted TV fix again. Alas that was not meant to be, what I got was an annoying female lead, Sutton Foster, who has two line readings and no control over her body, which is odd for a dancer.  I hope it gets a major overhaul for next season, and Amy Sherman Palladino and company read the forums and listen to the fans and make the  necessary changes. 

Men In Black III was next on the movie list, I went for my boyfriend and Josh Brolin’s incredible Tommy Lee Jones impression, but nothing can make up for the 2 hours I will never get back.  The things we do for love, he totally wouldn’t go see The Vow with me but I had to see this for him.

Back to TV, cable to be exact, The Closer’s final season and the premiere of The Newsroom on HBO.  James Duff and crew gave Brenda Leigh and team a heartfelt good bye.  Momma Johnson’s death was easier to take, knowing that Brenda was only down the street and she took Gabriel with her.  The Newsroom, I know the critics have been harsh, and the people harsher, but I really like this show, yes it needs a few tweaks, like toning down Emily Mortimer’s Mac, so she doesn’t screech all the time. But I am sure Sorkin will fix what he needs to for next summer.

Still wasting time till Dark Knight, so I went to Rock of Ages, Ted and Magic Mike.

Rock of Ages tanked, but I liked it, the music was awesome, I looked up all the original artists on iTunes.  I spent the rest of the summer blasting Poisons “Nothing But A Good Time”, then I caught my parents mouthing the words and I totally had to laugh. I know the movie was cheesy and Tom Cruise was downright weird, but in a good way. His Stacee Jaxx thing totally worked, people are to harsh on Tom. 

Ted, who knew a stuffed Teddy Bear could be so subversive, the whole movie was in bad taste, with gross out joke after gross out joke. Who cares, it was freakin awesome, with a box office gross of $214.8 million, I smell a sequel. 

Now on to Magic Mike, I was really torn when I saw this movie, the commercials and trailers made it look like a good time, but really the story was much darker than I expected. I didn’t mind the darker take, I just wish Soderberg followed it thru and committed to the dark side. As far as box office Magic Mike cost $7 million to make, to date it has made $113.1 million, clearly Warner Brothers is happy.  BTW this was Channing Tatum’s third movie this year to earn over $100 million. No wonder he is getting $10 mill for his next movie, and is lunching with Clooney in Italy.

I saw The Amazing Spiderman, I liked the re-boot, they changed it enough to engage me in the story of Peter Parker, and kept enough of the basics to keep it real. It didn’t do Avenger’s numbers, but $258.4 million is pretty good.

Finally, The Dark Knight Rises, this was the equivalent to the family trip to Europe, (I wish) definitely the darkest of the three movies in the trilogy, The Dark Knight Rises proved that super hero movies can elevate to the levels of profound storytelling, with richly drawn characters who are as complex as Shakespeare’s with stories just as intricate. Nolan’s dystopian vision of modern life, a timely commentary on the times we live in, the haves and have nots. The running total so far is $422.3million, Warner Brother’s is sure it will hit $1billion worldwide.  Now if only it could score a few Oscar noms and wins, my summer fantasy would be complete. 

The rest of the summer is a blur, yes there was the Olympics, but I didn’t watch, I know how very un-American, they just don’t do it for me.  I saw the new Bourne movie, it was ok, Matt Damon was better. Still love Jeremy Renner. 

In the end I saw more winners than losers, and overall enjoyed my summer vacation. Would I do it again, sure, not a single regret, except the trips to the dentist. 

And about that Lifeguard, I’ll never tell.

What did you do with your summer vacation?

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