Remember drama? That was an element films had that made them compelling. That and they made your own life seem less dramatic.
Seabiscuit has a great cast — Tobey Maguire, Chris Cooper, Jeff Bridges. It's fair to say you can never go wrong with a few good studs in front of the camera, not to mention all the pretty horses.
Besides that, looking into the near future (August to be exact), I see just a few films that moderately pique my interest and that are not based on explosives, mind-bending effects or yesterday's news.
Briefly, there's Masked and Unmasked, featuring Ed Harris, Giovanni Ribisi, Jessica Lange, Jeff Bridges (good to see him working so much), Angela Bassett, Luke Wilson, John Goodman, Penelope Cruz (OK … maybe she's not a good example) and — get ready for this one — Bob Dylan.
A synopsis: Dylan plays a convict who gets out of jail to play a charity concert, but the promoter plans on stealing the proceeds.
It's worth seeing this film for the acting credibility of the cast, but moreover, I'm looking forward to the personal challenge of trying to figure out what the hell Dylan is saying. I can't understand him when he sings. Deciphering his lines should prove to be more difficult than the Sunday New York Times crossword puzzle.
The Secret Life of Dentists sounds rather intriguing, too. It stars Campbell Scott, Hope Davis and Denis Leary, and revolves around a jealous husband and one of his crazy patients. Not an unusual premise, but any chance to brush up on dental hygiene is worth the price of admission.
Civil Brand features a largely African-American cast and works on a proven Hollywood formula — women behind bars. The women, treated unfairly, start a revolt. With a cast including MC Lyte, Da Brat and Mos Def, you know the soundtrack will kick some incarcerated booty.
I'm sure your picks will be different from mine, but you can't deny that originality is not part of the program this summer. Looks like, as usual, we'll have to put our popcorn buckets in high gear for the holiday overload of real movies, which the studios strategically hold back for Oscar season.
In the meantime, it's black tees for everyone.
Heidi Oringer is director of entertainment programming at ABCNEWS Radio.