It was the best of times, it was the blurst of times…

The dogs and delights of the summer cinema
Some stars are born at the summer movies. Other stars fizzle out. Sleeper hits come from nowhere and spawn series, while sequels to blockbusters bomb and end the franchise right there. Yes, summer can be cruel.
USA TODAY’s Andy Seiler navigates through some of the top winners and losers of summer 2002:
Winning couple: Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst. They were already two of the most appealing young actors in movies. Now they are superstars ó at least in as many Spider-Man movies as they’d care to make.
Losing couple: Anthony Hopkins and Chris Rock in Bad Company. An honest title, at least: They put these two together to keep company, and the result was bad.
Winning action star: Vin Diesel. His much-hyped XXX opened at $44.5 million, which is pretty amazing for a newly minted movie star in a film that didn’t get great reviews.
Losing action star: Clint Eastwood. Blood Work was dud work up against XXX, an anemic box office performance from a veteran icon whose movies used to routinely knock ’em dead. A sequel to this one is not coming; Clint’s career needs a transfusion. You can almost hear Diesel say it: “Do ya feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?”
Winning marquee name: M. Night Shyamalan. And he has one of the most exotic names ever put on a marquee. His Signs shows every sign of being another Sixth Sense, despite less scintillating reviews. So that’s what those crop circles were trying to tell us?
Losing marquee name: Harrison Ford. Vaz it zat bad Russian accent?
Winning spinoff: Scooby-Doo. Scooby-Doo! Who knew? Who knew this film would do such scooby-dooby business ó $150 million ó amazing for a badly reviewed live-action adaptation of a dopey TV cartoon that gave “primitive animation” new meaning.
Losing spinoff: The Country Bears. Who didn’t know? Why on earth would a vintage American amusement-park attraction attract worldwide movie audiences? Kiddy-losers whose failure was somewhat more surprising: The Powerpuff Girls Movie and Hey Arnold! The Movie. But just because kids see them on TV doesn’t mean that they’ll be another PokÈmon or Rugrats …
Winning little creature: Lilo & Stitch. An obnoxious alien cracked up the kids and their parents and became one of Disney’s most popular animated movies.
Losing little creature: Stuart Little 2. A cute mouse made half-decent coin, but it didn’t matter because it cost indecent coin to shoot the movie in the first place. Eek!
Winning Saturday Night Live alumnus: Mike Myers as Austin Powers in Goldmember. Naysayers called the first film in the series a one-joke movie. Now that audiences have roared at three films in the series, the joke’s on the naysayers.
Losing Saturday Night Live alumnus: Myers’ former creative partner Dana Carvey in The Master of Disguise. It wasn’t bad enough that it was the worst reviewed film of the summer, but, to add insult to injury, the studio put it out a week after Goldmember. The Man of Mystery creamed The Master of Disguise. Which was worse? The movie or the release date?