What We Learned from This Summer's Movies

Yes, you've been a little in denial about the end of summer - but it may be time to face facts. Now that the kids are in school, you're reaching for a cardigan, and all the summer movies have come and gone.

On that last subject, the Movie Retriever blog has posted their Lessons Learned from the Best and Worst Movies of Summer 2009. Among these lessons: science fiction is back in a big way (see: Star Trek), low-budget special effects are the future (see: District 9) and even crappy romantic comedies make money (see: The Ugly Truth). Here are three more lessons to add to the list:

1) Smart romance is not dead. 500 Days of Summer, a romantic comedy with no A-list stars and no "men are from Mars"-style jokes in the trailer, was one of the summer's indie sleeper hits. Why? Because it reminded audiences that romantic comedies can be smart, fresh and sexy, rather than a tired re-hashing of the same boy-meets-girl formula. Another thinking person's romance that scored this summer: The Time Traveler's Wife, based on the mind-bending book by Audrey Niffenegger.

2) The "foodie movie" has arrived. Everybody loved Julie and Julia - well, the Julia parts, anyway. And the food. Every reviewer, every blog, everyone who saw it just couldn't stop talking about how delicious everything looked. Our national obsession with food porn has finally migrated from the Food Channel to the cinema – and it hit the box office in a big way. Expect to see more.

3) Gay humor? We're not quite ready. Bruno asked us to laugh at homophobia, and failed to get an audience. The Hangover opened with the characters shouting gay slurs, and is the highest-grossing R-rated comedy ever. Seems like American audiences just aren't comfortable with gay jokes, beyond the juvenile name-calling variety. Then again: maybe The Hangover was just funnier?

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