By Kait Spong
When the well-known, beloved orphan, Annie, boldly sang, “Let’s go to the movies, let’s go see the stars,” we saw it as a declaration that we could totally get behind. Movies! They’re our comfort through every season, and in the summertime, they will keep you cool from the blazing heat of scorching temperatures with some popcorn, candy, and refreshing, bubbly soda at your side.
You may make the point, “There are just so many movies to choose from at this time of year!” And you’d be absolutely right, but that’s definitely the well-planned intention of production companies. Just like you, they realize that summertime equates to free time for many students, professors, college faculty, and even the regular, ol’ 9 to 5’ers (like your parents, for example) who just want a breather from their work schedules.
You might have noticed that here at uCribs, we like to focus on the more off-kilter recommendations in lieu of those Hollywood blockbusters that saturate every inch of your TV and/or smartphone screen. With that being said, here is uCribs’ 5 Must-See Summer Movies.
Hereditary (Release Date: June 8th)
With a rating of 100 percent from the ever-trustworthy critics of Rotten Tomatoes, Hereditary might just be that horror film you need to add to your summer theater-going checklist. Starring Toni Collette, who earned her horror film chops 2015 horror comedy, Krampus, as well as Broadway star, Milly Shapiro, in her first film release, and Alex Wolff (…is this dude in everything these days?!), Hereditary premiered in January at the Sundance Film Festival to rave reviews.
The film tells the story of Ellen, the matriarch of the Graham family, who passes away, and in the light of her recent passing, her daughter, Annie along with her family begin to unravel increasingly terrifying secrets regarding their ancestry. The more they discover, the more they attempt to outrun the sinister fate they have somehow inherited.
Making his feature debut, writer and director Ari Aster pushes horror film into new terrain with this disturbing portrait of family heritage. Released by the production company A24, who seems to regularly pump out Oscar-nominated, modern classics including 2017’s The Florida Project, The Disaster Artist, and Lady Bird, this is a film that definitely one that cannot wait for RedBox or Netflix.
Under the Silver Lake (Release Date: June 22nd)
Although it may not be receiving as favorable reviews as Hereditary on Rotten Tomatoes, Under the Silver Lake is another must-see summer release by A24. David Robert Mitchell is back after his successful 2014 thriller, It Follows, to present a quirky, comedic neo-noir starring Andrew Garfield and Riley Keough. And there’s nothing we love more than a good neo-noir…Brick, anyone?
Under the Silver Lake tells the story of Sam, a disenchanted 33-year old, who discovers a mysterious woman named Sarah frolicking in his apartment community’s swimming pool one evening. The two instantly connect and spend a wonderful evening together, promising to see each other the next day. After a new day dawns, Sam looks into the window of Sarah’s apartment and realizes that she has abruptly moved out.
Looking at the long-standing tradition of film noir, it’s not a surprise that Mitchell sets his film against the seedy yet vibrant backdrop of Los Angeles, paying homage to such predecessor as Roman Polanski’s Chinatown (1974) and David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive (2001). In Under the Silver Lake, Sarah’s unexpected disappearance sends Sam on a unique mission across The City of Angels where he attempts to uncover the secret behind his new flame’s disappearance while unearthing all of the mystery, scandal, and conspiracy to discover a deeper, hidden meaning behind it all.
Sorry to Bother You (Release Date: July 6th)
Doesn’t the genre of Sci-Fi typically provide commentary on the current state of the world? If you answered yes, then you’d be correct, and if you answered no, “Do you even Sci-Fi, bro?” With this genre’s agenda in mind, Boots Riley makes his directorial debut with Sorry to Bother You starring Lakeith Stanfield, Tessa Thompson, Patton Oswalt, David Cross, and Danny Glover. (Whew, now we’re exhausted after that mouthful of a star-filled lineup!)
Like Hereditary, Sorry to Bother You also premiered at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year to positive reviews. Set in the dystopian version of Oakland, California, the film tells the story of Cassius “Cash” Green (the name must be intentional, no?) who is struggling to make ends meet and must resort to living in his uncle’s garage. Desperate to make some sort of income, he accepts a job as a telemarketer, but he experiences little success until his a bizarre discovery: he must use his “white voice” to keep potential customers engaged. Soon, Cash rises to the top of the telemarketing hierarchy—all while losing his moral compass in order to achieve greater corporate mobility.
An obvious critique of the intersection of race and capitalism, Riley’s debut is anything but conventional or predictable, and with its unique perspective, it has been labeled as an “ambitious project” that continues to blaze the trail in modern American filmmaking.
Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot (Release Date: July 13th)
If you say the name, Gus Van Sant to any cinephile, you just might hear a shriek of delight. Whether you’re familiar with the director or not, you have most likely seen one or more of his films: Drugstore Cowboy (1989), My Own Private Idaho (1991), Good Will Hunting (1997), Elephant (2003), or Milk (2008). It’s an impressive roster of award-winning films that have showcased the brilliant talents of many and in turn, captured the hearts of audiences across the globe.
Gus Van Sant adds to his already impressive filmography with the release of Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot, which stars Joaquin Phoenix, Jonah Hill, Rooney Mara, and Jack Black.
Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot tells the real-life story of John Callahan, a cartoonist and artist, who was involved in a near-fatal car accident at the age of 21, which left him quadriplegic. Even though alcohol was a leading factor in his paralysis, he refuses to give up drinking. But after receiving encouragement from his girlfriend and enthusiastic sponsor, John enters a rehab program where he discovers he has a knack for drawing. His new-found talent provides him with a new perspective on life as his irreverent newspaper cartoons gain him a devoted fan following.
This film follows in the footsteps of many amazing biopics such as American Splendor (2003) and documentaries like Crumb (1994) that focus on underground comic book writers and cartoonists who took the world by storm, changing the perception of graphic novels, cartoons, and animation forever.
The Happytime Murders (Release Date: August 13th)
The Happytime Murders isn’t being released for two and half months, and it’s already creating controversy. Last week, Sesame Workshop, the non-profit behind the beloved children’s TV show, filed a lawsuit against the upcoming R-rated puppet comedy for the inappropriate use of the Sesame Street brand in the film’s marketing campaign. Of course, STX Entertainment, the production company making the film, responded to the lawsuit…with a puppet lawyer by the name of Fred, Esq. If that doesn’t boost ticket sales, we honestly don’t know what would.
The Happytime Murders continues the tradition of puppet-oriented comedy (Team America, Avenue Q, etc.), depicting a world where human and puppet co-exist harmoniously. Well, that’s until a disgraced puppet and former cop by the name of Phil Phillips reunites with his ex-partner Detective Connie Edwards, who is portrayed by Melissa McCarthy. The duo attempts to find the serial killer who murdered Phil’s brother and is now targeting the cast members of a 1980s TV series, The Happytime Gang.
The film, announced as being in development in 2008, will finally be brought to life on screen at a theatre near you a decade later, and with a star-studded cast of comedic talents such as Maya Rudolph, Joel McHale, and Elizabeth Banks, it will be one that you don’t want to miss. Plus, it’s directed by Brian Henson, who is the son of Jim Henson—so really, how much more convincing do you need at this point?