Summer is here, and the most exciting stuff in store for these coming months has nothing to do with the outdoors.
Each new summer is rife with new blockbuster films that hope to keep eager fans glued to theater seats. There's plenty of choices out there: You've got the expected superhero flicks, animated animals, sequels abound and another Kevin Hart comedy. Yet unless you have a seemingly endless supply of cash, heading to cinemas each and every week is an expensive excursion. How to pick and choose?
For those who need help deciding, Mic has picked 10 summer films — including a couple of indie flicks — that you might be interested in seeing, based on movies you might have enjoyed before. Your wallet thanks us.
If you liked Starsky & Hutch, you'll like The Nice Guys (May 20).
Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe headline The Nice Guys, a '70s-era detective drama with a hefty dose of comedy and action between the lead stars. Now, The Nice Guys isn't the first, and certainly won't be the last, buddy-detective film. In fact, the initial setup and chemistry compels the most comparisons to Starsky & Hutch.
The iconic TV series, which was adapted as a film starring Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson, takes place in the same era (1970s) and state (California). What's more, the titular Starsky and Hutch are an awkwardly entertaining mismatch: The ever-serious Starsky assumes a macho bravado while Hutch is easygoing and sociable. Crowe's character in The Nice Guys is set up to assume the former, with Gosling's charm serving the latter. Don't expect anything serious from The Nice Guys — though if you enjoyed Starsky & Hutch, you wouldn't be.
If you liked The Fault in Our Stars, you'll like Me Before You (June 3).
The Fault in Our Stars combined the ineffable charm of its loving leads with the tragedy of a life-threatening illness — and sadly, it's not a happy ending. Me Before You offers a familiar introduction: A now-paralyzed man (Sam Claflin) tries to cope with his new life after living one full of adventures. Along the way, he falls in love with his new caregiver, Louisa (Emilia Clarke).
Based on the trailers alone — and lines like "you are pretty much the only thing that makes me want to get up in the morning" — this seems like a heartbreaker. The bottom line: As with The Fault in Our Stars, make sure to bring tissues.
If you liked any Kevin Hart comedy, you'll like Central Intelligence (June 17).
Kevin Hart movies are persistently formulaic. Hart-headlined comedies usually put him alongside another actor (think Ice Cube in the Ride Along films and Will Ferrell in Get Hard) for an eclectic adventure. Yet despite mostly negative reviews, Hart's films typically earn a hefty amount at the box office.
Clearly, there's an audience for Hart's on-screen comedy. If you've enjoyed films like Get Hard and Ride Along, Central Intelligence and a Dwayne Johnson pairing is right up your comedic alley.
If you liked Black Swan, you'll like The Neon Demon (June 24).
Just as Black Swan was a ruthless, twisted interpretation of the world of ballet, The Neon Demon is geared up to cast a similar light on the modeling industry. Aside from the evocative cinematography, the most direct parallels between the films are through their protagonists.
Nina (Natalie Portman) is driven to pursue perfection in order to play the lead role in "Swan Lake," while Jesse (Elle Fanning) is an aspiring model in Los Angeles that looks to make her mark on the industry. The perceived threats from their peers — imagined or otherwise — fuel the drama. If Nicolas Winding Refn's previous directorial work is any indication, The Neon Demon could soar to similarly disturbing heights, and deal a tough blow to the glossy image of another creative industry.
If you liked 127 Hours, you'll like The Shallows (June 29).
James Franco had to endure being trapped under a boulder in 127 Hours (guess for how long!), and the grueling ordeal made his character take great, and eventually excruciating, measures for survival. The Shallows provides Blake Lively with similarly dreadful odds: She's been bitten in the leg by a shark, and she is trapped on a rock near a secluded island. Naturally, the shark isn't willing to leave its hunting ground — so like Franco's Aron Ralston, she'll have to take extreme risks to survive.
Obviously, 127 Hours is devoid of any sharks or water. However, both films are the typical man versus nature scenario; or in this case, Lively versus a great white shark.
If you liked The Iron Giant, you'll like The BFG (July 1).
There's more to this than simply two giants that are friendly toward a child. Both have a central conflict that's vying to pull the giant and child apart. For The Iron Giant, it's the paranoia of the U.S. government; for The BFG, it's the other giants of the fantastical world that are also big, but certainly aren't friendly. Spielberg's no stranger to compelling childhood movies, so it's a good bet that The BFG will do the same.
If you liked Cast Away, you'll like Swiss Army Man (July 1).
If being stranded on an island with nothing but a volleyball sounded tough in Cast Away, imagine your only companion being a corpse with an impressively endless supply of flatulence. That's the predicament for Hank (Paul Dano) in Swiss Army Man, who is on the brink of ending his life when he encounters a corpse, Manny (Daniel Radcliffe). Aside from the farting, however, Manny could help Hank escape the island and return home.
Granted, Cast Away is more rooted in realism, but both films are an inherent tale of survival and isolation, if that's your thing. Just a fair warning, however: Swiss Army Man just might be the weirdest film to ever come out of this subgenre.
If you liked Deadpool, you'll like Suicide Squad (August 5).
Deadpool was a crude breath of fresh air for the superhero genre, as the film subverted many of the superhero norms, including an inherently good, well-mannered protagonist. Now, Suicide Squad won't be able to get to the R-rated profanity and violence that Deadpool assumed, but the movie is still a superhero outlier. For starters, the "heroes" of the film are a group of supervillains employed by the U.S. government as a special-ops force. Plus, like Deadpool, their ambitions appear entirely self-centered.
Widely reported rumors of a reshoot for Suicide Squad to give it a lighter tone might concern some fans, but that should end up being a good thing. DC Comics films have been criticized for their dark tone, and the reshoots appear to be a direct response to Deadpool's success. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery — in this case, it bodes well for Suicide Squad.
If you liked Superbad, you'll like Sausage Party (August 12).
Seth Rogen creations have a lot in common in their narratives, even though one features horny teenagers and the other food from a grocery store. But that's the thing: The grocery items in Sausage Party are also really, really horny. Case in point: Frank the sausage and Brenda the hot dog bun, whose forms can easily be construed to mean literal genitalia.
Yet at their core, Superbad and Sausage Party are films centered around the sexual awakening of their young characters, awash with dick jokes and obscene humor. In that sense, Sausage Party is the closest thing to a Superbad sequel we'll see, so enjoy it for what it is.
Technically, Gladiator draws its influence from the original Ben-Hur film from 1959 — a man seeking redemption for a false accusation that ruined his life. However, the Ben-Hur remake has an obvious agenda. It's clear the film is hoping to lure the same audience of Ridley Scott's Oscar winner, though it also seems like an unnecessary Hollywood remake, and has thus received a mixed reception since the trailer was released.
Still, if you're entertained by the brutal, harrowing action in Gladiator, you should expect more of the same in Ben-Hur.