Summer Blockbusted 2020: Now Playing…May 1 (FILM FUN/VIDEO)

The theaters are closed, and so is our Summer Movie Season.

Until now.

Welcome to Week 1 of Summer Blockbusted 2020.

Through the end of August, I will be curating a weekly slate of movies from decades of summers past. Ranging from big blockbusters to small counter-programming indies, I will give you a “Now Playing…” list of releases to choose from at your in-home multiplex.

Every single Friday. All summer long.

We’ll start with classic selections that were released in the first weekend of May, starting with my REC OF THE WEEK.

(To read more about how each week’s slate is determined, click here.)

When possible, video reviews from the Siskel & Ebert archives are included (whether I agree with them or not).

(Find links to other weeks from Summer Blockbusted 2020 at the end of this article.)


  • REC OF THE WEEK: Away From Her (May 4, 2007) 110 min; Rated PG-13
    • The directorial debut of actress Sarah Polley, Julie Christie (Doctor Zhivago) stars as a woman who moves into a memory care facility when she’s stricken with Alzheimer’s. Her husband (Gordon Pinsent) grieves as she slowly forgets who he is, and that’s compounded as she develops an affection for one of her fellow resident-patients. Christie received an Oscar nomination for Best Actress, as did Polley for her Screenplay. Gordon Pinsent should have received one as well, and Olympia Dukakis, too, for that matter. On a personal, spiritual level, this movie works (albeit unintentionally) as a powerful Christian parable for me, about how a follower of Christ can all-too-easily forget her Bridegroom. It’s heartbreaking to consider how deeply that grieves Him, especially since it’s impossible for Him to stop loving us no matter how much we may forget about Him. (Final numbers: $2 million domestic; $9.1 million worldwide.)
  • Gladiator (May 5, 2000) 155 min; Rated R (20th Anniversary)
    • Director Ridley Scott and Russell Crowe resurrect the outdated sword-and-sandals epic, Braveheart-style, to big box office success. Gladiatorwould go on to be nominated for 12 Academy Awards, winning 5 – including Best Picture and Best Actor, Russell Crowe. (Final numbers: $189 million domestic; $467 million worldwide.
  • Spider-Man (May 3, 2002) 121 min; Rated PG-13
    • After numerous delays across decades, Marvel’s webhead finally made it to the big screen with Tobey Maguire in the Spidey-suit. This original Spider-Man adventure became the first film in movie history to cross the $100 million mark in its opening 3-day weekend. (Final numbers: $403.7 million domestic; $821.7 million worldwide.
  • Iron Man (May 2, 2008) 126 min; Rated PG-13
    • The MCU began and we didn’t even know it. Struggling former star Robert Downey, Jr. and comedy director Jon Favreau took a B-level Marvel hero and made him the anchor of a cinematic universe that has become unprecedented in movie history. (Final numbers: $318.4 million domestic; $585.3 million worldwide.
  • Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (May 2, 1997) 94 min; Rated PG-13 (Parental Discretion strongly advised, due to sexual humor) 
    • From the mind of Saturday Night Live’s Mike Myers, this goofy sketch-level riff on James Bond and the Free Love generation becomes an unexpected comedy hit, spawning a highly successful trilogy franchise and two pop culture icons (Austin Powers and Dr. Evil). (Final numbers: $53.8 million domestic; $585.3 million worldwide.)

If you’d like to suggest summer movie titles for future weeks, you can email your requests to:

Other weeks from Summer Blockbusted 2020:

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