Every year it gets a little tougher to wade through the muck that makes up summer movies. I mean, while almost every other aspect of human ingenuity- flight, home construction, credit card marketing- has consistently improved, movies hit a peak and then went straight downhill, never looking back until “Bikini Accountant III”. But I guess it could be worse- at least I’m not writing the “Green Lake Summer Invasive Medical Procedure Preview 2001!” (By the way, good luck with that tracheotomy article, Phil!)

GETTIN’ MEDIEVAL- In this offbeat look at days of yore, BILL COSBY spanks GEORGE CLOONEY with a shoe. Literally. That’s the whole movie. No credits or anything. Drama.

ICKY THINGS- America Online’s STEVE CASE decides that TOM GREEN’s gross-out shtick has gone too far, and pulls the plug on the entire movie industry. He and TED TURNER storm Green’s studio to find that the star has eaten DREW BARRYMORE. Feeling guilty for Barrymore’s demise, Case vows that only quality films will be made, but Green has taken control of the board of directors, and they vote to keep making tasteless, schlocky movies that “the kids” will like. At his wit’s end, Case enlists former dictator AUGUSTO PINOCHET to take back the studio- and his soul. But at what price? Teen/Drama/Action.

THE GREATEST RE-GENERATION- This is based on TOM BROKAW’s other set of books, telling the story of worms and their work in the legendary “Victory Gardens” for the Allies during World War II. Narrated by LIAM NEESON. Documentary.

SPACE COWBOYS ON PIRATE ISLAND- CLINT EASTWOOD and his band of elderly astronauts go back into space (“Mostly for the food,” says TOMMY LEE JONES). Their shuttle touchdown is way off course and the crew is taken prisoner by the evil Dr. Lotsa Badmojo (ELVIS COSTELLO) and some savage pirates. To escape, the astronauts must learn sacrifice, cleverness and how to take more than two steps a minute without pulling a muscle. Drama. Note: Do NOT confuse this film with the unauthorized soft-core porn flick “Space Cowboys: Missionary Control” which features the third cousin of TRACI LORDS as a “payload specialist.” Yuck!

MY LITTLE HANGUPS- Lonely JENNIFER LOPEZ is sure that the guy who just sold her a cellphone (KEANU REEVES) is her soulmate, but she’s said the same thing about the last three wireless associates too. Can she “connect” with his heart and make sure that her nights and weekends aren’t free anymore? Great opening scene where Lopez, on her phone while driving to a wedding, sideswipes seven old people. Romantic Comedy.

VALLEY OF THE KINGS- Young, sexy archaeologist (CATHERINA ZETA-JONES) uncovers a thousand-year-old living mummy (MICHAEL DOUGLAS) and falls in love with him. Documentary.

THE WORLD BANK IS NOT ENOUGH- Middle-aged teen WILL SMITH is finishing his tenth year of high school at the UN International School and is somehow elected Secretary-General. While he turns his office into the biggest, most fresh-fly worldwide party of all time, the dictator of a small developing country (JOAN RIVERS) hires Smith’s favorite band for her birthday bash, against his will and against international law. Smith calls for retaliatory airstrikes against Rivers, but because the U.S. still hasn’t paid back dues, all he can afford is the Goodyear Blimp with a banner saying “SAVE THREE DOG NIGHT!” A bewildering subplot has NICOLE KIDMAN leading a group of idealistic college students in an attack on the new UN Ministry of Def Beats. Political thriller.

MAC-FREAKING-BETH- Ok, we gave KENNETH BRANAGH the benefit of the doubt with his last Shakespeare picture, but this one’s, well- I just don’t think ninja warriors, malt liquor and hydrofoil escape vehicles fit the Bard’s repertoire. Featuring EMMANUEL LEWIS as Macduff!?! Whatever.

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