I’m from Florida originally, and intense heat and humidity are conditions I’m all too familiar with — but now that I live in New York, the winters are long and stupid, and summer is something I genuinely look forward to. I daydream about all the tiny outfits I will wear, imagining my future self going to the beach, eating ice cream, and maybe even eating ice cream on the beach in a tiny outfit.
Of course, summer has its drawbacks. Beaches are more crowded, ice cream melts faster, and sunburns are real. Half the time, it’s so hot outside that the most appealing option is to head straight to a movie theatre and settle in for 2+ blissful hours of powerful central AC. Unfortunately, shitty movies tend to ruin my bliss, and summer tends to have a lot of those.
So many of “summer’s” biggest films technically premiere in spring and then linger in theatres for months, making the summer itself a bit of a dead zone when it comes to exciting new films to look forward to. It’s a season with a reputation for being chock-full of showy, expensive, and deeply terrible movies, and while that reputation is mostly deserved, I’m here to share five films premiering this summer that I’m actually really excited about. As a bonus, I’m gonna talk some shit about the ones that look bad, too, because what’s would a blog post be without a little light-hearted negativity? Written by someone else, probably.
By the end of the month, several of this summer’s major blockbusters will have already premiered. It’s only May 11th, and Avengers: Infinity War has already broken a bunch of sales records (I didn’t see it, but Mary did, and you can read her thoughts here!). I thought it might be more valuable to restrict my list to films that are coming out between June 1st and August 31st — the hottest, deadest months. This means I’ll be excluding a film I’m definitely looking forward to, Solo, which premieres May 25th. Don’t worry though, because we’re gonna cover it ON DA POD.
Now, without further ado: Kelli's Top 5 Most Anticipated Films of Summer 2018
5. Never Goin’ Back
Written & Directed by Augustine Frizzell
In theatres August 3rd
I actually hadn’t heard about this film until I started researching for this list, but as soon as I read the premise and watched the trailer, it quickly jumped up towards the top of my list. First of all, it’s an A24 film, and they don’t fuck around. Just last year they released Lady Bird, The Disaster Artist, The Florida Project, The Killing of a Sacred Deer, AND Good Time, all films which were critically acclaimed, three of which were nominated for Oscars. Yeah, I said ONE YEAR, bitch!
That being said, Never Goin’ Back is comprised mostly of people I haven’t yet heard of, from the filmmaker herself to the cast and crew (the exception being Kyle Mooney, who plays a supporting role, and who is one of the only white dudes on SNL who doesn’t make me angry). The film follows two best girlfriends in suburban Texas on their epic quest to make it to the beach. On a very basic level, this is a stoner comedy, but it’s a stoner comedy starring two women — something pop culture still seriously lacks, even since the revelation that has been Broad City. It’s almost like film producers don’t think women can carry a comedic work on their own. Can you imagine?
Some people are calling this film A24’s next Spring Breakers, and while I love that movie, this one looks like it might be a bit more nuanced in its portrayal of female friendship. Watching the trailer, one thing is obvious to me: this might be a stoner comedy, but at its core, this film is about the tight friendship between its two leading ladies. Never Goin’ Back hits theatres August 3rd; while you wait, you can check out the trailer here.
Written & Directed by Ari Aster
In theatres June 8th
A couple of weeks before I saw the trailer for this movie, I kept seeing mention of the title pop up on my twitter timeline — along with phrases like “utterly terrifying” and “scariest movie in years.” Coming out of Sundance, some people were even calling Hereditary “this generation’s The Exorcist.” Honestly, just the promo photos had me shook, and I couldn’t even bring myself to watch the trailer until I was forced to when I went to see Annihilation (insert shameless plug for our podcast episode on Annihilation here).
The plot description for the movie on A24’s website (yes, A24 again y’all) is as follows: “When Ellen (Toni Collette), the matriarch of the Graham family, passes away, her daughter's family begins to unravel cryptic and increasingly terrifying secrets about their ancestry. The more they discover, the more they find themselves trying to outrun the sinister fate they seem to have inherited.” This sounds innocuous enough, but here’s a fun detail: Ellen is a miniaturist and this movie has DOLLHOUSES all over it. You know what’s scary? Dollhouses. You know what else is scary? Toni Collette’s acting chops. She is incredible, and nothing elevates a horror film like a skillful lead performance.
Really though, the main reason I’m excited about this movie is because I know it’s probably going to fuck me up forever. If I was smart, I would avoid it at all costs, but I know I’m not going to be able to help myself. In fact, I’m going to watch the trailer again right now. Join me, won’t you?
3. Crazy Rich Asians
Directed by Jon M. Chu; Written by Adele Lim and Pete Chiarelli
In theatres August 17th
Now that I have gotten two of my A24 picks out of the way, let me focus on something a little less niche: Crazy Rich Asians, a WB joint. This is the upcoming adaptation of the 2013 novel by Kevin Kwan, an international bestseller which actually launched a trilogy, meaning we have more to look forward to if this movie is as fun as I think it’s going to be. The plot synopsis: “Rachel Chu is happy to accompany her longtime boyfriend, Nick, to his best friend's wedding in Singapore. She's also surprised to learn that Nick's family is extremely wealthy and he's considered one of the country's most eligible bachelors. Thrust into the spotlight, Rachel must now contend with jealous socialites, quirky relatives and something far, far worse — Nick's disapproving mother.”
One reason I’m excited about this movie is that it looks closer to a straight-up romance than most films these days allow themselves to be, and I’m ready to watch some people fall convincingly in love. (I’m looking at you, 50 Shades of Grey, you despicable, poorly-made piece of garbage masquerading as a love story.) Like 50 Shades, Crazy Rich Asians features people who are crazy-rich, with the lavish clothing, architecture, and cityscapes that come with films about the wealthy — but there is a vibrancy to the look of Crazy Rich Asians that 50 Shades of Grey lacks severely in all of its… greyness.
On top of the romance, Crazy Rich Asians looks like it’s going to be genuinely funny — and how could it not, when led by the inimitable Constance Wu?
And while we’re talking about Constance Wu: what’s really important about this movie, beyond the romance and the gorgeosity? IT’S AN ALL-ASIAN CAST, WITH AN ASIAN DIRECTOR, BASED ON A BOOK BY AN ASIAN WRITER! The American film industry is notorious for excluding Asian people from the fold, and when they are included, they are often stripped of nuanced character traits and used to fill stereotypical roles. Whether or not this film’s premise appeals to you, Crazy Rich Asians is a huge step forward for Asians in film, so BUY A TICKET. Stop pretending you’re too good to watch elaborately rich people party at a fancy wedding in Singapore. You’re not.
Crazy Rich Asians is out August 17th, and you can watch the trailer for it here (as if you haven’t already).
2. Under the Silver Lake
Written and Directed by David Robert Mitchell
In theatres June 22nd
Okay, I swear to God this is the last A24 film on my list. It’s just — how am I not going to include it? David Robert Mitchell’s last feature was It Follows, a movie I LOVED, and when I found out he was making a film starring Andrew Garfield, I was all in. Andrew Garfield, if you’re reading this: do you wanna go out on a date? I know you’ll probably never be over Emma Stone, but I’m almost as cute, and I was never in Aloha.
Anyway: Under the Silver Lake is described on A24’s website as a “neo-noir fever dream,” a term which sounds annoyingly intellectual until you watch the trailer and realize it makes perfect sense. The film follows Sam (Andrew Garfield) as he investigates the disappearance of a woman he barely knows, a search which only leads to more mysteries as he embarks on a sprawling quest across Los Angeles.
It Follows was scary, but what I loved about it was how atmospheric it was, and it looks like Under the Silver Lake has that same quality to it. There’s something beautiful about every shot in this trailer, and just watching it gives me an adrenaline rush — not because it’s scary, like It Follows, but because it’s so much fun. Check it out for yourself here, and go see it when it hits theatres June 22nd.
1. Sorry to Bother You
Written & Directed by Boots Riley
In theatres July 6th
This movie looks fuckin nuts, y’all. If you haven’t watched the trailer, I suggest you do so below, because I’m not sure I can really describe the tone/mood/overall sensibility with words — and I think that’s a good thing. If you hate trailers, though, here’s your very short synopsis of Sorry to Bother You: “In a dystopian not-too-distant future, black telemarketer Cassius Green discovers a magical key to professional success and is propelled into a macabre universe.” The magical key? Using his ‘white guy’ voice on the phone.
The film stars Lakeith Stanfield and Tessa Thompson, two of the hottest people I can think of off of the top of my head. The cast also includes a bunch of other awesome and hilarious people (Terry Crews, Danny Glover, and Kate Berlant, to name a few), and is directed by Boots Riley — a rapper making his directorial debut at 47 years old, which I think is pretty fucking cool.
I think the reason I’m so excited about this movie is how different it seems from so much of what we see during summer movie season. The two themes I noticed when researching for this list were 1) over-serious heist movies and 2) sequels to movies I’ve never seen, and Sorry to Bother You is a very, very far cry from either of those things. It looks like it’s bursting with energy, like it has a real voice, like it has something to say — and I can’t wait to listen.
The movie is out July 6th, but I’m hoping to catch an earlier screening and bring you guys a review… so stay tuned.
Bonus Awful Lighting Round!
As promised, I will now present what I anticipate will be the Five Worst Movies of Summer 2018.
5. Slender Man
In real life, a 12-year-old girl was murdered by two other 12-year-old girls who were obsessed with the Slender Man myth. Now that it’s been four years, it’s cool to make a silly horror movie about it, right?
Shailene Woodly and Sam Claflin star in this oceanic romance with a twist! The twist? A hurricane shipwreck! Sam Claflin is immediately rendered useless and broken-legged, meaning Shailene Woodly must overcome being a woman in order to steer their broken ship to safety!
Christina Ricci has bad hair and an unspecified mental illness in this film that looks like it was filmed on an iPhone 4s! John Cusack also stars as a journalist in a black hoodie! I think there is something about subliminal messages in an apartment complex? I don’t know, I stopped watching the trailer before it was over.
This summer, war veteran Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson will save his wife, Neve Campbell (???) and their children from the world’s tallest building, which he thought he was inspecting the security of — as that is his official job as Skyscraper Security Inspector (???) — but which he’s actually being framed for setting on fire while he’s inside of it (???)!
1. The Meg
From the people who brought you such timeless classics as National Treasure and National Treasure: Book of Secrets comes this film about a giant prehistoric sea monster otherwise known as the MEGALODON. Who will save us from the Megalodon? Jason Statham, obviously.