Updated: Oct 19, 2019
Now that the 2019 summer movie season is coming to a close, we have some recommendations for those catching up on its offerings! Here are the Moviegoer’s picks.
Hannah: Midsommar (dir. Ari Aster)
Midsommar was one of my most anticipated films this summer, mainly because Hereditary, Ari Aster’s previous film, was excellent. So, I am pleased to say that his follow-up actually surpassed those expectations. Midsommar is an incredibly different film than Hereditary, from its bright color pallet to the story’s subject matter to the fact that it’s not “scary” in a way you’d expect. Hereditary, like most horror films, is horrifying in a visceral, immediate sense, while Midsommar takes a different approach - it wants to disturb you in the long-term, letting its imagery and themes worm into your psyche and stay there until you go crazy. It tackles taboo topics like grief and guilt, toxic relationships that seem unwilling to end, why a person would be attracted to cults who commit obviously immoral crimes, and how a lack of proper emotional support can truly damage a person’s sense of self, all with the raw pain and confusion only a horror movie can induce. Come for the pretty flowers, stay for the creepy and meaningful meditations on life.
Hayley: Pokémon Detective Pikachu (dir. Rob Letterman)
I’m a bit of a black sheep among my friends for liking Pokémon Detective Pikachu, but who could resist falling in love with this face?
Contrary to my friends’ opinions — they found the movie childish, predictable, and at times uncomfortable — I thought it was a fun-filled and hilarious film packed with adorable creatures and relatable, down to Earth characters. The Pokémon metropolis is brought to life through impressive CGI, and a diverse array of Pokémon creatures induced nostalgia in anyone even vaguely familiar with the franchise. The film follows Tim, played by a soft-spoken and relatable Justice Smith, on his journey to investigate his father’s recent disappearance. He teams up with none other than Pikachu (voiced by a goofy, quick-witted Ryan Reynolds) to uncover the mystery, and the two embark on an epic adventure involving a government conspiracy, genetically modified and weaponized Pokémon, and, of course, a healthy dose of romance. Overall, Detective Pikachu kicked off summer with a wholesome family flick, packed with humor, a sweet takeaway, and childhood nostalgia.
Tess: Someone Great (dir. Jennifer Kaytin Robinson)
April is technically Spring, but Someone Great was one of the most watched films on Netflix throughout the summer. To some, Someone Great is a break-up blockbuster that can heal the hearts of those asking themselves, “When will I get over it?” To others, it signifies an even deeper meaning - a strong connection between lifelong friends. What makes this movie so exceptional is the unconventional happy ending. It’s not what we wanted, but it’s what we needed. With an outstanding soundtrack, representative cast, and relatable tales of heartbreak and breakthroughs, Someone Great became a successful Girls-Night-Out film that certainly strengthened established friendships and maybe even encouraged the formation of others. Not to mention, it single handedly bumped Lizzo’s “Truth Hurts” to the top of the charts. Through this summer movie, Robinson reminds us all that healing is rarely accomplished alone, and if you feel like bonding with friends or are even going through a break up yourself, Someone Great should be queued up on your Netflix right now.
Staci: Spider-Man: Far From Home (dir. John Watts)
When it comes to summer movies, we really just want to be entertained. Spider-Man: Far From Home skillfully accomplishes this while telling a very compelling story. What sets Far From Home apart from the other Marvel movies we’ve seen this year, such as Avengers: Endgame, is its return to classic Marvel comic book storytelling. It’s simple: re-introduce a beloved character (Peter Parker), set the stakes (save the world, and his friends), continue the romantic storyline, and develop a villainous foil to the hero. The villain, Mysterio, is pretty similar to other reality-bending Marvel characters. He easily could’ve been a secondary villain in Doctor Strange. Yet, his preferred method of attack -- conjuring haunting images of the late Tony Stark and Parker’s other loved ones -- is more psychologically frightening and evil than what we’re used to seeing against Spider-Man. Far From Home was my favorite movie this summer, proving once again that Marvel has many more stories to tell.