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Published on May 19th, 2017 | by Lauren Bycroft


Summer Movie Counter Programming Guide For 2017

Summer movie season used to begin with Memorial Day, a threshold 2017 has yet to reach. However, with the release of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 summer blockbuster season has officially begun – though you could even argue it began with Fate and the Furious last month, so packed is 2017 with behemoth superhero films, sequels, and franchise properties.  The schedule is about to kick into overdrive in the coming weeks so what’s a person to do if they’re tired of the usual summer fare?  Where do you turn if you have superhero fatigue or sequel phobia? Perhaps I can be of service.  Below is some counter programming for those who may have grown tired of the typical summer films.

Beatriz at Dinner (June 9)

A comedy for post Trump America, Beatriz at Dinner, directed by Miguel Arteta may be the catharsis you’re looking for.  Selma Hayek plays the titular Beatriz, a holistic medical practitioner who is invited to a dinner party thrown by one of her wealthy clients after her car breaks down.  She finds herself in an awkward situation, surrounded by wealthy, at times garish people with whom she has little in common and in an unlikely showdown with a real estate mogul played by the always great John Lithgow.  Comedy, drama, and uncomfortable dinner conversation, it might be just the recipe for a little cinematic escape when you’re trying to beat the summer heat.

The Big Sick (June 23)

Romantic comedy has been one of the more neglected genres of the last decade or so.  If you’re missing that loving feeling, The Big Sick will probably leave you feeling a lot better.  Directed by Michael Showalter and written by real life husband and wife Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon, The Big Sick is based on the early days of Nanjiani and Gordon’s own relationship, most notably their cultural differences and a mysterious illness that incapacitated Gordon.  The Big Sick was a big hit at this year’s Sundance Film Festival and has been receiving high praise ever since.  Arriving on the heels of Aziz Ansari’s excellent second season of Master of None, The Big Sick promises to be another humorous and honest look at navigating love in modern society complete with cultural, parental, and all manner of unexpected pitfalls.

Baby Driver (June 28)

Looking for something in the realm of the Fast and the Furious franchise with its feet a little more firmly planted on the ground?  Edgar Wright’s Baby Driver is probably right up your alley.  The film follows a getaway driver named Baby who falls for a girl and tries to get out of the game.  If you’ve seen any of Wright’s previous films, Shaun of the Dead or Hot Fuzz for example, you’ll already be familiar with the wit and the deftness of his writing.  Baby Driver, with its stacked cast including Kevin Spacey, Ansel Elgort, John Hamm, Jamie Foxx, and more, promises to deliver action, comedy, romance – basically the whole package.  Whether you’re tired of franchises or not, you should probably see this film.

Atomic Blond (July 28)

Like action but weary of stylized superheroics?  You may find yourself praising the deity of your choice for Charlize Theron in Atomic Blonde.  Directed by David Leitch, a stuntman turned director, who contributed to the first John Wick film, Blonde promises bruise inducing, bone splintering fight scenes and a killer cast.  If you want to be excited for Wonder Woman but just can’t bring yourself to buy a ticket for another comic book film, say yes to Atomic Blonde and Theron’s undeniable badassery.

A Ghost Story (July 7)

Perhaps a tougher sell for some, as it becomes harder to divorce artist and their alleged personal transgressions from their art, A Ghost Story does have perhaps the most fascinating premise of the year.  David Lowery (Ain’t Them Bodies Saints) directs Rooney Mara and Casey Affleck in a film about love, loss, and existence.  Affleck plays Mara’s deceased husband whose literal ghost, covered in a white sheet with two eye holes and all, returns to the home they shared in an effort to reconnect.  A mixture of fantasy, devastating loss, and the human instinct to soldier on, A Ghost Story will no doubt be an unforgettable cinematic experience.

The Trip to Spain (August 11)

If the summer’s broader comedies leave you cold, may I suggest Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon’s third trip together with the great Michael Winterbottom?  The Trip to Spain is the third installment of this truly remarkable series in which sometimes friends sometimes rivals, Coogan and Brydon travel a country sampling the food and chatting about life along the way.  Loose, improvisational, and uniquely genuine, the two play heightened, slightly exaggerated versions of themselves and are not afraid to touch on real insecurities.  The series’ first two installments, The Trip and The Trip to Italy, have been extremely well received for good reason.  If you’re looking for a laugh, a little contemplation about life, and some of the best impressions you’ll ever see, catch up with this series, and its latest adventure.


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