Sure, you can pay 10 bucks to go see some big summer movie, but it'll probably suck--that's just what summer movies do. So, why not skip the theater this summer and make your very own crappy live-action summer blockbuster? Right in your very own backyard!

First, you need actors. Pick up some action figures--I found that Morpheus from Matrix Reloaded pitted against Wolverine from X2 was a well-matched fight. Little green army men make good extras--they're cheap, they burn well, and they create a level of cine-scope that Peter Jackson would envy.

For scenery, cardboard boxes make excellent buildings, especially if you cut windows and doors out of them. To incite an exciting, unscripted romp, hide bacon inside your cityscape and dress up a small dog as Godzilla. Wading pools work well as lakes or oceans. A few firecrackers embedded into a model ship essentially re-create Pearl Harbor.

Of course, summer movies have to end with at least one hugely cool explosion. I recommend using lighter fluid--just spray (not too much!), light, and watch everything explode in a satisfyingly tragic conclusion. Or, if you don't mind losing a finger or two, track down some M-80s or bottle rockets--cram the M-80s into the joints of your "actors" for dismemberment. Or, for more spectacular special effects (ones that the wussie Tom Cruise would never dare) strap bottle rockets onto their backs! Don't forget to prepare your Oscar acceptance speech, Scorsese! EH

IMPORTANT MOVIE EVENTS Make sure to attend the Mercury's Summer Movie Megathon starting August 1st at the Guild Theater. Also, for weekly summer movie fun, pull the convertible out of the garage and head out to Newberg to the Drive-In theater; 99 W to the Springbrook Rd. intersection in Newberg, 538-2738.