The kids are back in school, the popcorn poppers are cooling off and the theatres they operate in are back on fall hours. So that's a wrap on this year's summer cinema season, that First of May-to-Labour Day epoch when movie budgets are big and theatre soft drinks are bigger.
The domestic box office was up to over $4.6 billion, a new record, according to Box Office Mojo. The international audience, which Hollywood has been pandering to of late (Pacific Rim), is flat.
Iron Man 3 made the most money ($408 million), Despicable Me 2 made over $350 million and Man of Steel, not a sequel, took in $290 M.
The Academy Awards are handed out in the dead of winter and typically honour only those films that are still fresh on everybody's mind -- prestige pictures and the fall and winter "awards season" movies. Summer movies deserve their own Oscars -- S'mOscars, we call them. Sort of like S'mores, without the marshmallows.
And here they are.
Best picture -- Fruitvale Station, one of just a handful of summer dramas, this one could make the real Oscars best picture short list.
Best actress -- Cate Blanchett, so broad, so theatrical, so frail and Blanche DuBois-like in Woody Allen's Blue Jasmine. Another "real" Oscar favourite.
Best actor -- Forest Whitaker reminded us that the greatest weapon of the civil rights movement might have been dignity in The Butler.
Best supporting actor -- Steve Carell, playing bad in The Way, Way Back.
Best supporting actress -- Shailene Woodley, who turns the high school-drinking dramedy The Spectacular Now serious the moment she shows up.
Best movie you missed (or haven't had a chance to see yet) -- See above. Spectacular about covers it.
Worst movie you all saw -- Man of Steel. Yeah, I went there.
Best make-work project for his pals -- Joss Whedon's Much Ado About Nothing.
Worst make-work project for his pals -- Adam Sandler's Grown Ups 2.
Most riotous performance in a bad movie -- Jeff Bridges in R.I.P.D., edging Johnny Depp in Tonto: The Motion Picture.
Coming-of-age comedy you hope your kids won't emulate -- The To Do List.
Comedy you hope they will -- The Way, Way Back.
Best libation -- Beer, so vital to saving humanity in The World's End, such a grand social lubricant for romance in Drinking Buddies and a sea-monster repellent in Grabbers.
Best horror picture -- The Purge. "You're on your own" politics debunked by science fiction.
Sequels nobody asked for -- RED 2, Smurfs 2, Kick-Ass 2, Percy Jackson 2.
One drink over the line -- The Hangover Part III.
Worst timing -- White House Down, too soon after Olympus Has Fallen, and The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, good enough for April but a disaster in August.
Best popcorn pic -- World War Z with its ant-piles of zombies scrambling over walls.
Most violent -- You're Next.
Best car -- The Jensen Interceptor wheeled by Michelle Rodriguez through Fast & Furious 6.
Best farewell tour -- The Shaun of the Dead team takes one last bow together with The World's End.
Worst product placement -- Google in The Internship. Some say the passable Owen Wilson/Vince Vaughn comedy was stillborn thanks to its celebration of the hydra-headed tech company.
The Greatest Gatsby -- Leo, who made this one work and made it a hit.
Worst picture -- Disney's Planes, the nadir of a weak summer for children's animation.
Biggest bomb -- R.I.P.D. lost even more money than The Lone Ranger. Which is saying something.
-- McClatchy-Tribune News Service