Rebecca Ascher-Walsh
May 26, 2000 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Here’s an inside look at more summer movie hits

Yes, indeed, it’s that wonderful time of year again, when no-brainer movies hit the theaters. Gone is the season of actually having to — God forbid — THINK while watching arty fair; summertime’s all about dumbing down and zoning out. But with ”Gladiator” and ”Mission: Impossible 2” raising the box office stakes so high so early in the season, what are we going to be flocking to next?

I’m betting on the ”The Patriot,” which is aggressively going out there the same weekend (July 4) as ”The Perfect Storm,” starring George Clooney. While ”The Patriot” sounds less sexy (a Revolutionary War setting, as opposed to ”Storm”’s ”Titanic”-style action), Gibson’s still the bigger movie star, and frankly, watching fish flop around in a sinking boat for a couple of hours might prove uninteresting to many. I also think the long-awaited remake of ”Shaft” is sure to do business, thanks to the perfect casting of Sam Jackson in the leading role. And ”Nutty Professor II: The Klumps,” which has Eddie Murphy playing an entire family, is a slam dunk.

But because we only have so much money and time to go around, there will, inevitably, be movies that suffer big time. I’m guessing that ”Numbers,” Nora Ephron’s lottery-fixing comedy starring John Travolta and Lisa Kudrow, is going to be feeling the pain. After all, we still haven’t recovered from ”Battlefield Earth ”or ”Hanging Up.” And ”Space Cowboys,” Clint Eastwood’s new flick starring Tommy Lee Jones and Eastwood himself as aging astronauts, sounds like snore-pie with yawn sauce.

Speaking of sleepers, a couple of smaller movies are poised to sneak in and do some business. Check out ”The Loser,” Amy Heckerling’s new youth comedy starring ”American Pie”’s Jason Biggs, and ”Bedazzled,” with Brendan Fraser playing a dork who gets a makeover by the devil (Elizabeth Hurley). And keep an eye on Robert Zemeckis’ eerie thriller ”What Lies Beneath,” with Harrison Ford and Michelle Pfeiffer.

If you’re looking for arthouse fare, ’tis not the season for you, I’m afraid. As for the rest of us, we’ll just have to check our sun-fried brains at the box office.

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