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View on Film: Soak up some summer movies

April 19, 2018

YAKIMA, Wash. -- The “summer movie season” has been starting earlier and earlier as years pass. The summer has always been a hotbed for movies. In the 1920s through the 1950s, many Americans couldn’t afford air conditioning, so going to the theater was a way to cool off.

But summer movie season as we see it today didn’t really get started until the 1970s. Steven Spielberg’s “Jaws” became the first blockbuster in 1975, with lines around the block to see it. In 1977, “Star Wars” cemented it as the most important time to showcase big-budget movies. Thanksgiving and Christmas are the other times you see moviegoers come in droves.

Lucasfilm would open its films on Memorial Day weekend, so that became the unofficial beginning of the summer movie season. Then in 2008, Marvel started opening its movies in the first week of May.

This year, “Avengers: Infinity War” is opening in late April — so the season is ever-expanding.

Let’s see what we have in store this summer.

April 27 — “Avengers: Infinity War.” This is the culmination of 10 years of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I’ll write about this next week.

May 11 — “Life of the Party.” Melissa McCarthy returns as a recently divorced mother who goes to college with her daughter. I like McCarthy, but her recent movies have left me cold. Let’s hope this rehash of Rodney Dangerfield’s “Back to School” is good.

May 18 — “Deadpool 2.” Oh, how much fun was the first “Deadpool.” It remains to be seen if the Merc with a Mouth can catch lightning in a bottle for a second time. A power struggle behind the scenes jettisoned the original director, so we’ll see how much, or how little, of an impact he had on the product.

May 25 — “Solo: A Star Wars Story.” After the divisive “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” split fandom in two, this isn’t the time for the “Star Wars” franchise to falter. This film, though, has had massive reshoots, fired directors and people questioning if there is a “Star Wars” overload. It will be interesting to see what happens.

June 8 — “Ocean’s 8.” The return of Sandra Bullock to the big screen. Her last role was three years ago in the not-so-great “Our Brand is Crisis.” The trailers look like a return to the fun action heist film that “Ocean’s 11” was. I’m looking forward to the female cast having some fun.

June 15 — “Incredibles 2.” Pixar is at it again. Hopefully this sequel to its superhero family is more “Toy Story 2” than “Cars 2.” This will be huge with families. The first one is so good; let’s hope they recapture the magic.

June 22 — “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.” In my opinion, only the original “Jurassic Park” is a great film. I wasn’t too impressed with “Jurassic World,” but if you like dinosaurs going nuts, this will fit the bill. Another sequel has already been ordered by Universal, so this isn’t the end of the franchise by any stretch.

July 6 — “Ant-Man and the Wasp.” I always like Paul Rudd, and the original “Ant-Man” was a charmer — and this time he has help from Evangeline Lilly’s Wasp. Michael Douglas returns as Hank Pym, and at some point they’ll find his wife, played by Michelle Pfeiffer, lost in the Microverse.

July 13 — “Skyscraper.” The Rock remakes “Die Hard.” Don’t know if Dwayne Johnson’s charisma can carry the day here, but I’m always willing to give him a chance.

July 20 — “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again.” I actually quite liked the original. The whole cast comes together again to sing more ABBA songs, and Cher is added to the mix. (I just hope Pierce Brosnan doesn’t sing again.)

July 27 — “Mission Impossible — Fallout.” Tom Cruise goes superspy again. These films have been super fun, and I don’t see that changing with this latest entry.

I didn’t include August because that usually is where films go to die. Let’s hope this year is a season in the sun for movies.

• A lifelong movie fanatic, Jason Valentine is the weather anchor for KAPP 35 evening news and reviews movies on the Friday 5 p.m. news. He has professionally reviewed films since 1994. Email him at jasonv@kvewtv.com.