The more we celebrate anniversaries of summer blockbusters of yore -- such as Alamo Drafthouse's current run of 1983 releases and the regular Internet commemorations of events like Jurassic Park turning 20 and Die Hard turning 25 -- I can't help but wonder which of this year's films will be remembered fondly in the coming decades, if any. Many people are already declaring the summer of 2013 to be an underwhelming disappointment, in spite of the primarily positive reviews given to a lot of the tentpole titles. Not that good reviews matter. Last year's Men in Black III has a fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, but there's unlikely to be anyone highlighting its quarter-century birthday come 2037.
Are we really experiencing a run of especially fleeting films in recent summers? Is it because it seems everything was just yet another Harry Potter or Transformers or Twilight or Hangover or Marvel sequel? Or are we just more nostalgic for the blockbusters of our youth than we will be for those of our adulthood? Sure, both Jurassic Park and Die Hard were monumental works, still influential to this day in addition to being examples of pure quality entertainment. Half the 11 titles included in the Alamo '83 program don't deserve a tribute and wouldn't be acknowledged were it not for being lumped into a group. Back to modern times, though, could we even pick five likely rewatchable favorites among last summer's crop? Surely The Avengers, maybe Ted, probably The Dark Knight Rises and certainly Magic Mike, though that's hardly a blockbuster movie.
I'm personally not one for rewatching too many movies. I haven't revisited anything from last year yet, but of 2011's summer releases I can include Bridesmaids if I accept a really broad consideration for blockbuster and also count early May as summer. Other than that I could maybe tolerate another viewing of X-Men: First Class and Rise of the Planet of the Apes someday. As for 2010, there's really nothing from that summer I ever need to see again, including Toy Story 3. The year 2009 has a better shot with its own Pixar release Up, as well as District 9 and Inglourious Basterds. And stopping at five years out with 2008, obviously there's the king of recent summer blockbusters The Dark Knight, and also the first Iron Man, Hellboy II, Wall-E, Kung Fu Panda, Tropic Thunder, Step Brothers and Pineapple Express, all of which are high on even my rewatchability chart.
Maybe the number of movies I hold on to is decreasing with age, but I do think the output from Hollywood has been going downhill since that summer of '08. I also agree with others saying there's a lot of blockbusters given an easy pass by critics in the first part of the summer, so a lot of those well-reviewed movies aren't going to stand the test of time. And yet I do think there's more nitpicking happening in recent years (ever since Twitter became popular?) with movies we should indeed just be recognizing as summertime fluff. Then again, I also enjoyed the heck out of recent flicks like Fast & Furious 6, This Is the End, Man of Steel, World War Z and Iron Man 3, but if those are cited 20 years from now as being classics it will only mean that we're getting even lesser quality blockbusters then. I did a rare thing and saw Man of Steel a second time in the theater last week, but I quickly realized that it wasn't as rewatchable as I'd thought.
Maybe, given the buzz I'm hearing, White House Down will be the most fun summer release of this year worth watching again and again.
Which summer blockbuster from the past five years has the most rewatchability?
Here are some responses received so far via Twitter: