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An Unofficial Rundown of This Summer’s Top Movies

Culture

Did you forget to hit the movie theaters this summer and want to catch up on all you've missed? Here's a recap of the summer's most popular films that everyone's talking about. Some of these movies are still out in theaters, while others can be found on streaming platforms and be watched from home. This list has something for everyone, ranging from a mockumentary about a little shell to straight-up horror. This list falls in no particular order; they're all great.

Nope

Jordan Peele develops his unique range of horror with his third narrative horror/thriller, Nope. The name of the film plays off of a reaction we've all heard or exclaimed in the midst of a scary scene, demonstrating Peele's directorial self-awareness and his beginnings as a comedian. Nope centers a few citizens on the dusty outskirts of Los Angeles who work with horses in the entertainment industry. The colossal problem that haunts them comes from the sky, and they must decide whether they will face it or run. With a star-studded cast consisting of Keke Palmer, Brandon Perea, Daniel Kaluuya, and Steven Yeun, the acting in Nope is phenomenal. As always, Peele leaves viewers frightened, both by the plot itself and the subtle commentary he makes on the problems within the entertainment industry; these people are always looking to document the next spectacle and will often risk their careers and lives to do so. Nope is for fans of science fiction and thrillers alike.

Nope can be seen in theaters across the globe or rented through several different streaming platforms.

The Black Phone

This new serial slasher by seasoned horror director Scott Derrickson will make you feel grateful that you weren't alive in the '70s. A terrifying antagonist called The Grabber (Ethan Hawke) terrorizes teenage boys in Wilmington, North Carolina. He uses a telephone system to mess with the kids and entice them into playing a "Game" with them. His ultimate plan, however, is to murder them. When The Grabber makes the mistake of kidnapping one particularly clever kid, a battle of wit and instinct ensues. In the end, who lives and who dies are all connected back to the telephone.

The Black Phone is streaming exclusively on Peacock, or can be seen in theaters.

Minions: The Rise of Gru

The Despicable Me/Minions franchise has been beloved by Gen Z since 2010, and the new installment of Minions quickly became a sensation during the beginning of the summer. The new movie focuses on Gru's upbringing as a lonely child and how he channeled his energy into becoming a supervillian. Throughout the process, he realizes how crucial the Minions are to his success. Going into viewing this movie, one should expect 0% depth and 100% laughs and fun. If you're a fan of slapstick humor and childhood nostalgia, go see Minions: The Rise of Gru.

The Rise of Gru is still running in many theaters, but is also available on a variety of streaming platforms to be found here.

Elvis

If you're looking for a fresh perspective on the hall-of-fame rocker Elvis, this is the film for you. This is a longer film because director Baz Luhrmann wanted to cover as much detail on Elvis's busy career as possible. Elvis is one of the most visually stunning films on this list as well; the quickly moving flashes of bright lights and the lure of show-biz makes the entire experience feel like a weekend in Las Vegas. Additionally, Luhrmann exposes viewers to what it's like to be a part of the entertainment industry, as Elvis goes through huge successes but also extremely low ruts in his career.

Go see Elvis in the movie theater, wait until September 2nd for a release on HBO Max, or buy/rent on Amazon Prime Video.

Not Okay

One of the funniest parts of Not Okay comes at the very beginning of the film; it is a warning to viewers that the main character is a very unlikable person. This rings true throughout the plot, but any viewer can see at least a bit of themselves in Danni. When we're lonely, we look for ways to connect with others. Nowadays, these connections can be made using social media, but Danni goes way overboard. She falsely victimizes herself after a dire situation that she had no involvement in occurs. Overnight, she becomes a famous Internet activist, but it's all a lie. Danni can't help but continue to profit off of the situation, and she digs herself in a hole that is bound to cave in on her. The message that writer and director Quinn Shephard is trying to get across with Not Okay is that we must work to stop performative activism. At the end of the day, that's all it is: a pretend performance that will enact no real change.

Not Okay is streaming for free exclusively on Hulu.

Marcel the Shell with Shoes On

In this adorable mockumentary, a filmmaker renting out a house finds Marcel, a little shell with a big personality. Marcel lives with his grandma, and has created contraptions that allow him to maneuver all around the house that is his entire world. When Marcel ventures out to find the rest of his displaced shell family, he realizes that the world is so, so much larger than he could ever imagine. Marcel makes us realize how little we think about the vastness of the globe or the power that the Internet holds, hitting us with hilarious quips all the while. You'll walk out of the theater with a melted heart and a new perspective on the human condition.

Watch Marcel in a theater near you or pre-order for a September 6th release on Amazon Prime Video.

Thor: Love and Thunder

The newest Thor movie brings Marvel fans what they've wanted after countless fight scenes: sentimentality! Though he is immortal, century after century of fighting evil has sent Thor on a new quest for inner happiness. However, a new opponent named Gorr the God Butcher (played by Christian Bale) quickly foils this plan. Working with Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) and Dr. Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), the newest all-powerful beings on the screen, Thor comes out of a wishful retirement to continue his endless series of battles.

See Love and Thunder in theaters or stream it on Disney+ on September 8th.

Where the Crawdads Sing

Fans of YA literature are going to see Where the Crawdads Sing, the movie adaptation of author Delia Owens's coming-of-age novel. The story follows Kya, a young woman who has ended up alone in the deep marshes of North Carolina. Her first priority is to use the wilderness skills she's learned throughout her life, fishing and hunting to survive. Eventually, Kya begins to grasp for human connection and befriends two different guys. These relationships end up in a sudden murder and Kya is the first one that people point fingers towards; this morphs the story into an intense murder mystery. With an entire town against Kya, can she beat the allegations of a mysterious murder with minimal support? Where the Crawdads Sing is a worst-case-scenario that you can't take your eyes off of.

Go see Where the Crawdads Sing in theaters or purchase it on Amazon Prime Video.

Bodies Bodies Bodies

Silence your cell phones and feast your eyes upon Bodies Bodies Bodies, the newest A24 horror flick. This film plays on the ways that social media and constant access to the Internet has impacted Gen Z, for better or (mostly) for worse. A group of social media addicted friends attend a party, where a supposedly fun game goes horribly wrong when they find a dead body. Throughout the constant dark, they must find the culprit of this mysterious murder before the bodies pile up. Though this is a scary one, there is definitely a lot of pop culture and TikTok references that add to the satire of it all. Bodies Bodies Bodies is conscious enough of itself to make it horrifying in multiple ways.

Watch now in select theaters or pre-order on Apple TV.

The summer of 2022 has shown itself to be a great season in terms of new cinema. Whether you want a feel-good story or a covering-your-face-with-your-hands horror, whether you want to enjoy films in theaters or from the comfort of your home, there are options for you on this list. Happy viewing!

Eamon Costello
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Eamon Costello (he/him) is a 12th grader from the Greater Boston Area. Eamon has worked with City Lights Writing to publish his poetry and photography. He spends his time watching films, playing chess, running, shooting photo and video, reading and writing, and skateboarding.