Drink up, me swabs, in honor of the "Pirates of the Caribbean"

Another Thursday finds me a little more optimistic about the state of Hollywood. No, Robert Evans isn’t back in charge at Paramount, but if you set your expectations low, you can almost guarantee you won’t be disappointed too often.

I don’t know about the rest of you, but when I heard Disney was making movies out of their rides a few years ago, I was not impressed. When that first teaser of “Pirates of the Caribbean” came out, that crappy one with the island shaped like a skull, I booed it at the theater. When the movie itself came out, I scoffed at it. I had written a serious pirate movie at the time, and had a lot of scorn for these silly ghost/walk-the-plank/cheesy/fake pirate movies. One of my friends managed to convince me to see it though, and my goodness, I loved it. It was cheesy and fake, but it was fun, entertaining, and was shot beautifully. Since then, I’ve tried not to let me first impressions prevent me from giving movies a shot. Sometimes I’m wrong.

I hope I’m not wrong about these flicks. Of all the Regurgitations coming out this year, these actually look promising. These I want to see. The first is the sequel to the movie mentioned above, subtitled “Dead Man’s Chest,” opening July 7. I wasn’t too sold on the trailer for it, and Davy Jones and his motley crew look strange, but intriguing. The last time a studio made two sequels back to back of a successful movie was “The Matrix,” and the two sequels were a letdown, to say the least, compared to the original. I yo ho hope this movie doesn’t piss me off.

Next up for me is “Clerks II,” coming out earlier than planned, on July 21. Kevin Smith can be hit and miss. I liked the original “Clerks,” loved “Mallrats” and “Chasing Amy,” could have done without “Dogma,” and “Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back,” and was annoyed by “Jersey Girl.” After “Jersey Girl” didn’t hand him the keys to the kingdom, Smith is back in familiar territory with his stable of actors and his dick and fart jokes. I’m not dying to see this, but am curious nonetheless.

Wow, I thought there would be more on this list. But I guess it makes sense that there are only three that I’m looking forward to. The last film, and the one I am anticipating the most, is Martin Scorsese’s “The Departed,” which is a remake of the incredible Hong Kong film “Infernal Affairs,” opening October 6. Have you seen “Infernal?” If you haven’t, make it the movie you rent this week. Put it in your Netflix cue. The story deals with two young men, one a new cop recruited to go undercover in the mob, and a young mob guy recruited to go undercover in the police force. Years pass, and the men become so deeply involved in their covers that they don’t know who their allegiances are to sometimes. It’s an amazing, thrilling story, and just the kind of thing Scorsese needs to do. It’s current, it’s a brilliant premise, and he’s working with Leonardo DiCaprio again, which just makes me hum with pleasure. I can even forgive them casting Matt Damon in the other role, because they’ve also got Jack Nicholson, who desperately needs a solid role after getting stuck with “Anger Management” and “Something’s Gotta Give.”

See, there’s always a silver lining out there. These are my lining. Yours may be “Saw 3,” “Lassie” or “Jackass: Number Two,” but I hope it isn’t.