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What to Watch: Your Summer Movie Guide

In recent months, a divisive question almost as popular as the infamous feud between cats and dogs has made its way into public consciousness, “will you be seeing Barbie or Oppenheimer on July 21st?” Since it was reported that Greta Gerwig’s film interpretation of the famous Mattel doll would be releasing on the same day as Christopher Nolan’s biopic about the “father of the atom bomb”, Twitter users and movie-buffs alike have not been able to stop talking about the irony of the situation.

It is both refreshing and optimistic to hear so much excitement from film-going audiences about these upcoming movies given the bleak state of cinema attendance in a post Covid-19 world. While I implore everyone to buy a ticket to these massive summer blockbusters, I also encourage attendees to support smaller and more independent films that are currently screening or will be released over the next few months.

For your convenience, here are my recommendations for eight must-watch films to look out for this summer!

Bottoms - Emma Seligman’s sophomore film, Bottoms, tells the story of two queer high school seniors who are looking to start a self-defense club at their high school to seduce hot cheerleaders. This is the second collaboration between Seligman and actress Rachel Sennott (Shiva Baby) which also stars the fantastic Ayo Edebiri of The Bear. The film is guaranteed to be a comedic home run given both actresses' ability to deliver dry humor and contemporary slang in ways that won’t make Gen-Z viewers full-body cringe. This queer satirical comedy is factory-made for fans of other high school-centric comedies like Superbad and Booksmart.

Don’t miss Bottoms which releases in theaters on August 25th!

Asteroid City - The latest from Wes Anderson is an extraterrestrial-themed take on family, isolation, and the American Southwest. Starring his usual suspects Jason Schwartzman, Jeffrey Wright, and Tilda Swinton as well as star power from the likes of Scarlett Johansson and Tom Hanks, Anderson’s film yields an array of striking but earnest performances.

Perhaps his most ambitious project to date, Asteroid City can balance its situational comedy with the conflicting feelings that come from the fickle nature of the future. The film explores loss and relationships through the fictional American town of Asteroid City with tenderness, but also a sense of determination.

Be sure to check out Asteroid City which is playing in theaters as of June 16th.

Talk to Me - For fans of A24 and horror, Talk to Me is the perfect watch for a warm summer night. This is a new and reimagined take on the familiar genre of supernatural movies. In the feature-length directorial debut from filmmakers Danny and Michael Philippou, a group of teenagers try to talk to the spirit world by way of an embalmed hand until something goes terribly wrong.

Critics say that the possessed performance from Joe Bird in the film is one of the best since The Exorcist (1973) and that Sophie Wilde delivers a powerhouse performance as the heroine of the story.

Talk to Me will begin screening in theaters on July 28th.

Blue Jean - Blue Jean tells the tale of a lesbian P.E. teacher living in England during a period of violent homophobia when many anti-gay and lesbian bills were being passed. This drama is the feature debut of Georgia Oakley and calls into question the safety and identity of being queer. The movie explores what comfort and community mean through its beautiful and intentional cinematography as well as the raw performance given by Rose McEwen.

While the film strikes a far more melancholic note than others on this list, it is, unfortunately, relevant to the current political situation regarding LGBTQ+ people in the United States and the United Kingdom, therefore making it a must-see film this summer.

Blue Jean began its theatrical run on June 9th.

No Hard Feelings - Jennifer Lawrence returns to the silver screen in No Hard Feelings! This raunchy coming-of-age comedy tells the story of a broke young woman who is hired by a pair of overprotective parents to get their 19-year-old son to step out of his shell. While the age gap in the film may cause concern for some viewers, critics of the movie have claimed that the generational difference is not condoned by the narrative and is handled tastefully. Lawrence’s natural aptitude for comedy and the absurd situations that she gets herself into will be sure to keep you entertained on a summer’s day.

No Hard Feelings was released to theaters on June 23rd.

The Blackening - From director Tim Story, The Blackening, is a must-see horror/comedy which retells the traditional scary movie through the experiences of a group of Black friends celebrating Juneteenth together in a cabin in the woods.

For too long the horror genre has sidelined BIPOC voices in its films and has prioritized white characters instead. This film seeks to change that and brings more marginalized voices into the horror industry. The Blackening is everything that you could hope for from a film with its witty comedy and strong grasp of classical horror knowledge.

The Blackening is now playing in theaters as of June 16th.

Amanda - Amanda is the feature-length debut from director Carolina Cavalli. This Italian drama/comedy follows a 24-year-old girl who is desperate for friendship and searches for it with a long-lost friend. The film seems to run in the same vein as Thoroughbreds and Ingrid Goes West, with its detached female protagonist and her unsociable tendencies. The coming-of-age narrative, the provocative yet grounded performance from Benedetta Porcaroli, and the rich visuals make this the perfect movie to watch with friends or on your own!

Be sure to catch Amanda in theaters on July 7th.

Theater Camp - If you are looking for a relatable, contemporary, and genuinely hilarious summer comedy, I urge you to check out Theater Camp. Directed by Molly Gordon and Nick Lieberman this movie depicts a summer camp for talented children in upstate New York who are passionate about musical theater.

The film stars Ben Platt, Molly Gordon, and Ayo Edibiri, all of whom show that they have the comedic chops for this work from the trailer alone. The humor tackles modern situations like children discovering CBD gummies and explaining the crushing reality of theater to a group of 12-year-olds. This film is destined to become a cult classic and is an absolute must-watch!

Theater Camp will be released to theaters on July 14th.

Written by Lindsay Paul

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