The Class Of ‘06

Summer Movie Guide

Devin D. O'Leary
16 min read
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While the summer movie season doesn’t officially start until Memorial Day, Hollywood has been opening the window of opportunity wider and wider each summer. Couch-hopping Tom Cruise pretty much shattered it this season, leading his Mission: Impossible III team into theaters a full month before Memorial Day. Not to worry, though; there are plenty more blockbusters to ogle–from a certain code to a familiar pirate to the return of a man in a heroic red cape.

As always, all opening dates are subject to change, and all blockbusters are subject to bombing.

May 19

The Da Vinci Code

Dan Brown’s multi-mega-hyper-selling novel about the rush to uncover/cover-up a centuries-old secret about Jesus (which, I believe, everyone has already heard at this point) comes to the big screen with a popular director behind the camera (Ron Howard) and a big movie star in front of it (Tom Hanks). (Columbia)

Over the Hedge

The popular newspaper strip comes to life courtesy of DreamWorks’ CG toon department and a star-filled voicecast (Bruce Willis, Garry Shandling, Steve Carell, William Shatner, Wanda Sykes). Willis plays a rascally raccoon who helps his forest pals assimilate when suburbia comes a-sprawling. (DreamWorks)

See No Evil

Pro wrestler Kane tries his hand at acting (make your own jokes here) as a serial killer hunting down some teens at an abandoned hotel. (Lionsgate)

May 26

An Inconvenient Truth

This documentary focusses on former Vice President Al Gore’s current campaign to make the issue of global warming a recognized problem worldwide. (Paramount Classics)


This twisty Filipino film follows an American security guard through a nightmarish day in which his mother and sister are kidnapped and he is blackmailed into helping perform a terrorist act. (Truly Indie)

My First Wedding

This low-budget, “big lie” romantic comedy features Rachel Leigh Cook as a jittery bride who confesses her troubles to a priest. Only he’s not a priest, he’s a carpenter. Naturally, he follows her around pretending to be a priest–all the while looking for a wacky way to make her fall in love with him. (Indican Pictures)

X-Men: The Last Stand

Director Brett Ratner (
Rush Hour ) takes over for this third X-Men outing. Seems some scientists have come up with a “cure” for mutants and it’s up to Doctor X and his super-powered students to save the day. (20 th Century Fox)

May 31


Filmmaker Victor Nunez (
Ulee’s Gold, Ruby in Paradise ) returns with this intimate drama about an ex-con who comes back to his hometown in Florida and gets mixed up with the wife of his best friend, the local sheriff. (IFC Films)

June 2

The Break-up

In this comic romance, Vince Vaughn and Jennifer Aniston play a squabbling couple who break up but refuse to vacate the expensive condominium they helped remodel. (Universal Pictures)

District B13

This Euro sci-fi action flick takes us to the near future where an undercover cop and an ex-con have infiltrated the gang-filled ghettos in hopes of recovering a lost, ready-to-explode neutron bomb. Star/stunt dude David Belle helped create the insane urban sport of Parkour (a.k.a. freerunning). (Magnolia)

Peaceful Warrior

A chance encounter with a wise old man (Nick Nolte) changes the life of a college gymnast. Based on Dan Millman’s “inspirational” autobiography, a New Agey redux of
The Karate Kid . (Lionsgate)

June 6

The Omen

Hollywood’s latest horror remake is this updated version of the 1976 supernatural slasher. Liev Schreiber and Julia Styles star as the (understandably) worried parents of little Damien. (Fox)

June 9


Now that Disney and Pixar are playing nice, we finally get to see their newest computer-animated cartoon about a cocky stock car (voiced by Owen Wilson) who ends up stuck in tiny Radiator Springs. George Carlin, Bob Costas, Michael Keaton, Paul Newman and Larry the Cable Guy provide a few of the other voices. (Walt Disney Pictures)

Only Human

This madcap comedy has a young Jewish gal trying to introduce her family to her new fiancé–who, it just happens, is Palestinian. Matters only get worse when our would-be groom accidentally kills (possibly) her father (maybe). (Magnolia)

A Prairie Home Companion

Garrison Keiller’s folksy radio show becomes an ensemble comedy (about a folksy radio show) thanks to legendary director Robert Altman. The cast–running the gamut from Meryl Streep to Lindsay Lohan–is huge. (Picturehouse)


Cuba Gooding Jr. is having sex with Helen Mirren. And he’s her stepson. And they’re both professional assassins. … Um, OK. (Lee Daniels Entertainment)

June 16

The Fast And The Furious 3: Tokyo Drift

Lucas Black (
Sling Blade ) takes over as the latest wheel jockey for F&F’s third turn around the block. This time, of course, they’re in Tokyo. (Universal Pictures)

The Lake House

Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock (ew, I just got a little a chill down my spine) reunite for this remake of the Korean drama/romance Siworae. Bullock is a lonely doctor who begins exchanging letters with the new resident of her former lakeside home. At some point, the would-be lovers figure out they actually exist two years apart . Huh? (Warner Bros)

Nacho Libre

Jack Black is a cook at a Mexican orphanage who dreams of becoming a professional masked wrestler. It’s an oddball follow-up comedy from the makers of
Napoleon Dynamite . (Paramount)

June 23


Adam Sandler is a harried family man (welcome to the realm of Eddie Murphy and Steve Martin, Mr. Sandler) who finds a magical remote control. Get this: With it, he can pause stuff and fast forward it and mute it. My god, that’s clever enough to be a light beer commercial! (Columbia)

Garfield’s a Tale of Two Kitties

You have no one to blame but yourselves for this one, people. The first film made $75 million. In this one, Garfield goes to England and mistakenly inherits a castle. Hah, hah! … Choke on it. (20
th Century Fox)

The Road to Guantanamo

Part drama, part documentary, this film introduces us to three British Muslims who ended up stuck in Guantanamo Bay for two years before they were released with no charges. (Roadside Attractions)

Waist Deep

In this inner-city thriller, an ex-con (Tyrese Gibson) gets tangled up with a gang after his car is jacked with his young son inside. (Rogue Pictures)

Wassup Rockers

Controversial photog Larry Clark (
Kids, Ken Park ) rounds up another bunch of teens/first-time actors and has them explore the skate-punk world of Beverly Hills High. (First Look Studios)

June 28

Strangers with Candy

Amy Sedaris’ big-screen treatment of her cult TV series (about a 47-year-old ex-crack whore who winds up as a freshman in high school) finally makes it to theaters. Pal Stephen Colbert tags along as costar and co-writer. (Thinkfilm)

Who Killed the Electric Car?

Who indeed? This documentary examines the sudden demise of GM’s eco-friendly automobile. (Sony Pictures Classics)

June 30

The Devil Wears Prada

Meryl Streep and Anne Hathaway star in this adaptation of Lauren Weisberger’s 2003 tell-all send-up of the New York fashion world. (Fox)

Superman Returns

He does, in fact, in the guise of newcomer Matt Routh. Director Bryan Singer (
X-Men ) picks up right where 1981’s Superman II left off. Seems a stressed-out Supes has disappeared into space for a while, leaving Lois Lane to get married and Lex Luthor to wreak havoc. Don’t worry, he’ll be back soon. The title says so. (Warner Bros)

July 7

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest

Johnny Depp and crew set sail again in another rousing pirate romp. Seems this time around, Depp has promised his soul to a watery demon known as Davy Jones (the dread pirate, not the Monkee). (Walt Disney Pictures)

July 14

The Groomsmen

Filmmaker/actor Ed Burns ( The Brothers McMullen, She’s the One ) returns for another rumination on life and love, this one staffed by Donal Logue, John Leguizamo, Jay Mohr and Matthew Lillard. (Bauer Martinez Studios)


Music video director Marcus Nispel helms this violence-heavy action fantasy about an abandoned Viking boy, left behind in the New World who is raised by Native Americans and eventually becomes their sweaty savior in a battle against the bloody Norsemen. (Fox)


Here we have the latest Asian horror film to be remade in America. This one apes Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s incredibly creepy and largely surreal chiller about dead souls leaking out into our world via electronic means. Don’t worry, all the Asians have been replaced with WB/UPN stars. (Dimension)

You, Me and Dupree

When the best man (Owen Wilson) sticks around after their happy nuptials, a pair of newlyweds (Matt Dillon, Kate Hudson) try to figure out how to lose their increasingly unwelcome houseguest. (Universal Pictures)

July 21

Lady in the Water

Twist-loving writer/director M. Night Shyamalan (
The Sixth Sense, Signs, The Village ) is keeping a closed lid on the plot, but I can tell you it’s about a janitor (Paul Giamatti) who finds a mermaid in his apartment’s pool. I suggest you start getting yourself geared up for disappointment now. (Warner Bros)

Monster House

The CG cartoons keep rolling. In this one, some neighborhood kids join forces to battle one very spooky suburban house. Steve Buscemi, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Jason Lee do the voice thing. (Columbia)

My Super Ex-Girlfriend

Luke Wilson (good to see both Wilson boys gainfully employed) stars as an architect who breaks up with his frumpy girlfriend (Uma Thurman), only to find out she’s the alter ego of a very spiteful superheroine. Yeah, imagine you just dumped Wonder Woman, you’ll get a good idea where this Ivan Reitman-directed comedy is headed. (20
th Century Fox)

July 28

The Barnyard

What did I say about CG toons? The cineplexes are lousy with ’em this summer. Here, Kevin James, Sam Elliott and Courteney Cox provide the voices for our anthropomorphic stars. Fortunately, it’s written and directed by Bob Odenkerk of “Mr. Show” infamy, who promises less cute and cuddly humor than the average Disney outing. (Paramount)

Brothers of the Head

Brian Aldiss’ 1977 book about Siamese twins who become freakish but successful punk rock stars amps up on screen, courtesy of Keith Fulton and Louis Pepe, who gave us
Lost in La Mancha . (IFC)

I Could Never Be Your Woman

A single mother (Michelle Pfieffer) falls for a younger man (Paul Rudd), while her daughter (newcomer Saoirse Ronin) falls in love for the first time. Meanwhile, Mother Nature (Tracey Ullman) is making life tough for everybody. (MGM)

John Tucker Must Die

Three jilted ladies decide to get even with their womanizing ex-boyfriend (Jesse Metcalfe, “Desperate Housewives”) by setting him up with the new gal in town, just so they can watch him get his heart broken. I bet things don’t turn out quite the way anyone plans. (20
th Century Fox)

Little Miss Sunshine

Snatched from the jaws of Sundance, this dark satire of kiddy beauty pageants casts “it”-comic Steve Carell as a stage mother parent driving his daughter to a beauty contest in the family’s VW bus. (Fox Searchlight)

Miami Vice

The sockless TV series of ’80s infamy returns with Colin Farrell and Jamie Foxx stepping into the pastel penny loafers of Don Johnson and Philip Michael Thomas. Michael Mann returns to direct, but is this too much of a flashback for us as a nation? (Universal Pictures)

A Scanner Darkly

Philip K. Dick’s paranoid sci-fi novel about government spies, drug addiction and God knows what else transmogrifies into a serious cartoon head trip. Director Richard Linklater takes the unusual animation style he created on
Waking Life and uses it to create surreal doppelgängers of Keanu Reeves, Robert Downey Jr. and Winona Ryder. (Warner Independent Pictures)


Woody Allen pumps out another flick, lickety-split. This one casts current muse Scarlett Johansson as an American journalism student trying to uncover a breaking story in London while having an affair with an aristocrat (Hugh Jackman). I’m sure that’s only the tip of the iceberg. (Focus Features)

August 4

The Ant Bully

This computer-animated flick finds a troubled kid magically shrunk down to the size of a bug and sentenced to hard labor after soaking an ant hill with a squirt gun. Voice duty falls to Nicolas Cage, Julia Roberts, Meryl Streep, Lily Tomlin, Paul Giamatti and Ricardo Montalban. (Warner Bros)


Jet Li goes back to his old-school kung fu roots with this historical pic about Chinese martial arts legend Huo Yuanjia, who founded one of the first competitive sports federations in China. (Focus Features)

The Night Listener

Robin Williams is in a non-funny mood (which seems to cover his recent comedies as well) for this dramatic thriller based on the Armistead Maupin novel about a radio talk show host stalked by his biggest fan, a young boy. (Miramax Films)

The Quinceañera

Fifteen-year-old Magdelena is kicked out of her house when her parents discover she is pregnant. She ends up finding a new family with her great uncle Tomas and her gay cousin. (Sony Pictures Classics)

The Science of Sleep

The newest head trip by Michel Gondry (
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind ) takes place inside the brain of a man (Gael García Bernal) who is being held prisoner by his dreams. (Warner Independent Pictures)

Talladega Nights: The Ballad Of Ricky Bobby

Will Ferrell is at it again, this time goofing on NASCAR as a southern phenom whose dominance in the sport of stock car racing is suddenly threatened by the arrival of a gay French Formula 1 star (Sacha Baron Cohen from “Da Ali G Show”). (Columbia)

August 9

World Trade Center

It seems like, after the moderate success of
United 93 , we’re kinda sorta maybe ready for movies about 9/11. Here Oliver Stone tackles the subject, taking us into the lives of the firefighters who were at Ground Zero. Nicolas Cage headlines. (Paramount)

August 11


From the makers of
Grosse Point Blank comes this comedy about a high school slacker whose sudden businesslike attitude about college confounds his parents.(Universal)

Half Nelson

An inner-city high school teacher with a drug habit (Ryan Gosling) forms an unusual friendship with one of his students after his secret is discovered. (Thinkfilm)

The Reaping

Hilary Swank plays a former missionary who loses her faith and becomes a religious debunker after her parents are killed. When she stumbles across what appear to be deadly Biblical plagues in a backwoods Louisiana town, she must regain her faith in order to combat dark forces. (Warner Bros)


Tim Allen stars as a retired superhero who is called upon to teach classes at a private academy for young superheroes. Not to be confused with
Sky High , which it largely resembles. Or X-Men , which it got sued by. (Sony)

Step Up

Yet another “delinquent teen forced into the transformative world of dance” pic. (Touchstone Pictures)

August 18

Clerks II

Kevin Smith’s clerks return with new jobs (Dante and Randal now work at a fast-food restaurant), but the same poor attitudes. (MGM/The Weinstein Co.)


Matt Dillon stars as
Factotum author Charles Bukowski’s alter ego Hank Chinaski, a drunk author wandering around Los Angeles looking for jobs. (IFC Films)

The Illusionist

Edward Norton is a turn-of-the-century Viennese magician who uses his powers to woo a princess (Jessica Biel). (Yari Film Group Releasing)

Snakes on a Plane

The title says it all. (New Line Cinema)

August 25


Shot here in Albuquerque, this comedy from the Broken Lizard comedy troupe (
Super Troupers ) finds a group of professional drinkers traveling to Oktoberfest in Germany to take on the world’s greatest drinkers. (Warner Bros)


A naturally talented basketball player uses his scholarship to become a doctor, rather than succumb to the lure of professional sports. (Sony)

DOA: Dead Or Alive

Jamie Pressly (”My Name is Earl”) and Devon Aoki (
Sin City ) star in this adaptation of the hit videogame in which two scantily clad women beat on one another. (Dimension)

How to Eat Fried Worms

The longtime kiddy lit classic (about a new kid in school and a neighborhood bully in the ultimate double dog dare) gets a live-action (what, no CGI?) treatment. Seems a bit tame in this era of “Fear Factor,” but it’s still a great story. (New Line)


Big Boi and André 3000 from OutKast star in this prohibition-era musical about club owners/performers fighting off some determined southern gangsters. (Universal Pictures)


Mark Wahlberg stars in this “inspirational” sports movie (aren’t they all?) about a determined Philadelphia Eagles fan who tries out for the team and gets a position and goes on to fight Apollo Creed. No, wait, that’s not right. Oh well, close enough. (Touchstone Pictures)

Material Girls

Hilary and Haylie Duff (together, finally!) star as a couple of spoiled heiresses who get a wake-up call when a corporate scandal bankrupts the cosmetics company they have inherited. (MGM)

September 1


A hitman (
The Transporter ’s Jason Statham) learns he has been poisoned and will die if his heart rate drops below a certain level. It’s Speed , but without the expensive bus! (Lionsgate)


Mike Judge of “Beavis and Butt-Head” and
Office Space fame writes and directs this sci-fi satire about an “average American” (slightly above-average Luke Wilson) who is cryogenically frozen and wakes up in the far-flung future where everybody is dumb as a post. (20 th Century Fox)


Based on the popular “young reader” series by Anthony Horowitz comes this family adventure flick about a 14-year-old boy recruited to become a super-spy for Britain’s MI6. (MGM/The Weinstein Co.)

This Film Is Not Yet Rated

This controversial documentary exposes the behind-the-scenes workings of the Motion Picture Association of America’s ratings board. Not so surprisingly, it’s rated NC-17. (IFC Films)






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