I know that summer technically begins whenever the scientists tell us it does, but my personal barometer is based on something far more nebulous. As far as I'm concerned, it isn't officially summer until the first Big Summer Movie comes out, hitting 4,000 U.S. screens simultaneously and ushering in the start of a three-month stretch of chase sequences, explosions, wild stunts and big, dumb spectacle.
If coronavirus closures hadn't derailed everything, summer 2020 would have started (by my highly scientific estimation) on May 22 with the release of the ninth Fast & Furious movie, a franchise that makes the Venn diagram of "stupidest things I've ever seen" and "things I love dearly" into a perfect circle.
But F9 has been pushed to 2021, along with every other major studio release. (Christopher Nolan's Tenet is still aiming for a July 17 debut, making it the first wide-release film to hit theaters since March, but things could still change.) And so, weirdly enough, the simple summer pleasure I'm yearning for most is being inside, cocooned in the arctic chill of multiplex air conditioning, reclining in a plush pleather seat and watching Vin Diesel and company defying all the basic laws of physics.
I've always been an indoor kid, and even on the most perfect, 75-degree day, you're more likely to find me alphabetizing my BluRay collection than scampering through a verdant meadow. So when the notion of being cooped up in my apartment for a couple months was floated back in March, it didn't really sound all that bad. But now that we've been robbed (for now) of a new adventure with that diverse band of street racers and their outrageous heists, that indoor idyll has been punctured.
OK, I'm being a little overdramatic (it's in keeping with Dominic Toretto's general demeanor). But as far as I'm concerned, there's no better night than taking in the latest studio-mandated product with a group of friends, leaving into the balmy summer air and traipsing to the neighborhood bar to argue its merits over pitchers of beer. I look forward to getting that Hollywood ending we all deserve.