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PART 5: The Best Modern Summer Blockbusters – The Finale (#1-20)

best modern summer blockbusters part 5 finale

Welcome to the fifth and final part of our countdown of the 102 Best Modern Summer Blockbusters. We did it.

The criteria? Released in the U.S. anytime after JURASSIC PARK (modern)… released from May through August (summer)… with a production budget of approximately $50-Million or more (expensive). That’s it! These are best summer movies money can buy, and ranked according to their success (box office, crowd-pleasing ability, and other intangibles) and we hope you’ll find a little something for everyone on this list.

Click here to catch up on Part 1.

Click here to catch up on Part 2.

Click here to catch up on Part 3

Click here to catch up on Part 4

20. Minority Report

Release: June, 2002

Adjusted Budget: $145M

Adjusted Domestic Box Office: $213M

IMDb: 7.6

Meta: 80

Hollywood loves to capitalize on the paranoid science fiction of Philip K. Dick and Minority Report is one of the great works born of that subgenre. Minority Report is glossy, big-budget entertainment with movie stars, but it also has an undercurrent of dark playfulness essential to much of director Steven Spielberg’s best work. It’s one of the great action vehicles of Tom Cruise’s career, especially if you remove the Mission: Impossible franchise from the equation. Moviegoers gobbled this one up, which isn’t always a given for action movies this heady. Though Minority Report tends to be overshadowed by Spielberg’s most totemic works, it remains one of his most relentless actioners.

19. Mission: Impossible

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PART 4: The 102 Best Modern Summer Blockbusters (#21-40)

Best Modern Summer Blockbusters Part 4

Welcome to Part 4 of our countdown of the 102 Best Modern Summer Blockbusters. It’s been a while since Part 3 and it’s technically not summer anymore, but we’re still getting 90-plus-degree heat in Texas so…

The criteria? Released in the U.S. anytime after JURASSIC PARK (modern)… released from May through August (summer)… with a production budget of approximately $50-Million or more (expensive). That’s it! These are best summer movies money can buy, and ranked according to their success (box office, crowd-pleasing ability, and other intangibles) and we hope you’ll find a little something for everyone on this list.

Click here to catch up on Part 1.

Click here to catch up on Part 2.

Click here to catch up on Part 3

40. Shrek

Release: May, 2001

Adjusted Budget: $87M

Adjusted Domestic Box Office: $443M

IMDb: 7.8

Meta: 84

It’s strange to look back and think about just how big a deal Shrek was. It’s still pretty funny, but it hardly seems revolutionary anymore for an ostensible kids movie to mix in some adult humor. We’ve seen the diminishing marginal returns of soundtracks infused with pop and oldie hits meant to keep the proceedings snappy. While the formula seems basic now, it has proven durable and replicable, spawning many imitations including three Shrek sequels. Dated or not, Shrek was one of a handful of major animated successes released around the turn of the century that put Dreamworks Animation on the mainstream map as a viable competitor to Disney.

More Shrek

39. Face/Off

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PART 3: The 102 Best Modern Summer Blockbusters (#41-60)

Welcome to Part 3 of our countdown of the 102 Best Modern Summer Blockbusters. The criteria? Released in the U.S. anytime after JURASSIC PARK (modern)… released from May through August (summer)… with a production budget of approximately $50-Million or more (expensive). That’s it! These are best summer movies money can buy, and ranked according to their success (box office, crowd-pleasing ability, and other intangibles) and we hope you’ll find a little something for everyone on this list.

Click here to catch up on Part 1.

Click here to catch up on Part 2.

60. The Firm

Release: July, 1993

Adjusted Budget: $75M

Adjusted Domestic Box Office: $358M

IMDb: 6.8

Meta: 58

The Firm was released just a few weeks after Jurassic Park making it one of the earliest eligible candidates for this exercise. Based on the popular John Grisham novel, this movie was a mega-hit from an era when middle-brow grown-up novel adaptations with movie stars were reliably bankable. The reviews were middling, and yet The Firm persists as a paranoid (but entertainingly so) legal thriller. Featuring a youthful Tom Cruise as a sprinting hotshot lawyer and plenty of overcooked-yet-still-delicious villainy from the likes of Wilford Brimley and Gene Hackman, The Firm is still pretty fun to lose yourself in for the duration of its massive 2.5-hour runtime.

59. Babe

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PART 2: The 102 Best Modern Summer Blockbusters (#61-80)

Best Summer Blockbusters part 2

Welcome to Part 2 of our countdown of the 102 Best Modern Summer Blockbusters. The criteria? Released in the U.S. anytime after JURASSIC PARK (modern)… released from May through August (summer)… with a production budget of approximately $50-Million or more (expensive). That’s it! These are best summer movies money can buy, ranked according to their success (box office, crowd-pleasing ability, and other intangibles) and we hope you’ll find a little something for everyone on this list.

Click here to catch up on Part 1.

80. Insomnia

Release: May, 2002

Adjusted Budget: $66M

Adjusted Domestic Box Office: $96M

IMDb: 7.2

Meta: 78

Insomnia doesn’t resemble the other movies Christopher Nolan has made since 2002, and yet here it is – a summer blockbuster before such movies became Nolan’s calling card. This is the rare Nolan picture that he didn’t write himself or with his brother, instead tackling a script by Hillary Seitz. This adaptation of the Norweigian film of the same name is the story of an Alaskan murder investigation complicated by the town’s exposure to perpetual daylight. Al Pacino and Hilary Swank play the detectives, and Robin Williams plays the prime suspect. It’s a strong, stylish early effort from Nolan. The glossy thriller arrived at a sweet spot in Nolan’s career; following his surprise hit Memento, but preceding all of the baggage of his later work, namely that his films are now more or less expected to block out the sun upon arrival.

79. Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby

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PART 1: The 102 Best Modern Summer Blockbusters Since JURASSIC PARK (#81-102)

Due to a bleak 2020 movie landscape radically altered by coronavirus, summer movie season as we know it has been turned upside-down. To counter this, we’re taking a look back at the best summer blockbusters of the modern era, loosely defined by being released between Jurassic Park and the still-expected Tenet. We’re defining “summer movie season” May-August, but more importantly, Summer Movie Season is a mood. Read on for an explanation of the rubric, and for the first batch of movies in our countdown.

Criteria and Rationale

We’re not just talking about any movie released in the summer months of the past 27 years… we’re talking about the summer blockbusters. What makes a great summer blockbuster? These movies are a special breed. Studios design them to be event movies. This means large budgets to allow for things like movie stars, location shoots, and state-of-the-art visual effects. Some of these movies are good, some are bad, some are profitable, and some are not. The underlying factor is that studios pin their hopes and dreams on these movies; spending a lot of money in hopes of drawing the largest possible audience. The best blockbusters unite audiences and critics and manage to live on with a unique legacy.

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Every Episode of GAME OF THRONES… Ranked

The great undertaking has come down to this. This exercise has been done before in several places, but not with this methodology. Each episode has been scored against a rubric based on its storytelling, worldbuilding, and entertainment. If you’ve been following along with the season-by-season reviews, you already know why each episode ranks where it does. For more thorough explorations of each season, those links are provided, but if you really just want to see where your favorite episodes rank, then read on!  The full list with a few additional episode blurbs awaits…

Rationale

Season 1 Episodes

Season 2 Episodes

Season 3 Episodes

Season 4 Episodes

Season 5 Episodes

Season 6 Episodes

Season 7 Episodes

Season 8 Episodes

73. The Last of the Starks

The Last of the Starks Episode Game of Thrones

The Last of the Starks, merely tied for the lowest score according to our rubric, nabs the bottom spot overall for fumbling important character arcs when there was precious little time remaining in the series. It’s the kind of misstep this series so rarely made, the kind so bad that it challenged our ability as viewers to “just roll with it.”

72. The Red Woman

The Red Woman Episode

71. Dark Wings, Dark Words

Dark Wings Dark Words
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