In a summer laden with sequels, remakes, and numbing CGI spectacle, it was difficult to find the movies that would leave you feeling satisfied as you left the theater. Well look no further because I have assembled a list of the five movies that were totally worth checking out this summer. Some of the movies fall under the independent genre while others are medium budget movies that were surprise hits for their respective studios. Let’s get started!
1. Don’t Breathe
Directed by Uruguayan director Fede Alvarez, Don’t Breathe is a welcome addition to the home invasion and thriller genres. The set up is quick and to the point- three delinquent teens who rob wealthy houses in Detroit secured by the young Alex’s father’s security company plan to rob a blind Army vet who they hear is keeping $300,000 in cash in his home. The movie takes several leaps in logic to get there, but the point is, the trio makes it into the house and it is TENSE. Alvarez’s camera work is impressive as it weaves through the enclosed space and under furniture, making us fearful of what is around the corner. The blind man, played by Avatar’s Stephen Lang, feels intimidating and dangerous. One notable thing I took away from this movie is that it is very REAL. Basically, there aren’t too many fun times being had here. There are never any light-hearted moments or humorous over-tones, you are basically set smack dab in the middle of a real home-invasion and pleasant things do not occur at any point! I guess that’s why it’s called a thriller, but seriously, not even an ounce of classic teenage snark in this one. Despite this minor set-back, the film definitely succeeds in creating a terrifying, claustrophobic atmosphere.
2. Lights Out
It seems as though the low budget horror movie was an undeniable win throughout this summer. The $4.9 million budget Lights Out was David F. Sandberg’s major directorial debut and it did not disappoint audiences and critics alike! Teresa Palmer (Warm Bodies) stars in this simple, terrifying spook-fest about an apparition who only appears when the lights are off. I have not seen this movie, but I am happy to see original and inventive screenplays successful at the box-office. Lord knows we all need it every once in awhile.
3. Other People
Moving on to something arguably even more terrifying than home invasions or creepy apparitions- CANCER! For real though, this movie will leave your insides spilled all over the floor through the form of tears. Molly Shannon plays a not-annoying-at-all cancer character and truly does a spectacular job. Just as impressive is Friday Night Lights and Breaking Bad alum Jesse Plemons playing Shannon’s comedy writing son, who also happens to be gay and moves back home to take care of her. Major props go to writer/director Chris Kelly (Saturday Night Live) for bringing a gay narrative to the forefront in a totally natural and poignant way. If you are a person with a beating heart and a pulse you will be affected in some way by this movie. If you don’t like crying in front of people, watch it alone. If you are an emotional wreck and aren’t afraid to show it watch it with your family or perhaps your significant other!
4. Central Intelligence
It’s about time two of the hardest working actors in Hollywood got together and made a movie. Seriously, are Kevin Hart and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson like sorcerers or something? There’s really no explanation as to how they have each made multiple movies, TV Shows, and produced their own content in a years time. I do know that they both wake up at 3 am to work out or something like that. If that’s the secret to success well, then, I’ll probably never be successful. These two are a great comedic team and their chemistry is undeniable. The plot is a little shaky, but it’s ultimately just fun watching The Rock pretending to be a weirdo and Hart dealing with his antics. The movie is similar in tone to last year’s hilarious Melissa McCarthy vehicle Spy, just smaller in scale and perhaps a little more off the rails goofy. It’s not trying to be anything it’s not and who can pass up content that is appropriately self-aware? Not this guy!
5. Bad Moms
This is another movie I have not seen but it really has caught my attention because I thought it was going to flop but ended up being a huge success for the still new STX Entertainment, raking in $158.3 million against a $20 million production budget. That’s what we in Hollywood (and by “we” I mean “I” and by “Hollywood” I mean “metro-Detroit”) call a HIT! From what I know of the premise, Mila Kunis stars as a hard working mom with two children (stay with me, here) who enlists two other moms, Kristen Bell and Saturday Night Live’s Kathryn Hahn, to go rogue with her and basically say “IDGAF” to all the other uptight, conventional soccer moms who are all work, no play. I’m assuming there are a lot of jokes about gluten free foods, allergies, and anti-vaxxers, and I am honestly here for it! Overall, this is a huge win for an all female fronted comedy, which, are we really still making a big deal about? It’s a shame Ghostbuster’s rep was tainted by misogyny and all the bad press it was getting (It has over 60% on rotten tomatoes- not a bad movie), but I’m glad another female fronted comedy got to bask in the glory of being a hit for the studio, or whatever.
So, what were ya’ll’s favorite movies of the summer? If it was Suicide Squad I guess I can get over that, but at least explain why! If it was Bridget Jones Baby then don’t even bother explaining because you have great taste! Either way, I’m interested to know what you think. Comment below!