Isaac Piecuh ’14 | Staff Writer
As school comes to a close, you may find yourself at a crossroads; what exactly will you do with all your newfound freedom? Will you relentlessly tan despite a complete inability to do so? Will you perfect a double backflip off of the Farms’ Park High Dive? Or will you masterfully grill hamburgers to a perfect medium, earning the title of Grillmaster Extraordinaire?
The answer, dear friends, is none of the above. No, this summer will be spent watching movies, as any and all free time should be. But in order to optimize your moviegoing experience, you’ll need to know which films are worth seeing. That’s where I come in.
Using extensive film expertise and vast stores of knowledge, I have crafted the ultimate movie guide for the upcoming summer. I call it, “Top 10 Summer Movies.” Enjoy, and be sure to put your newfound knowledge to good use.
10) Edge of Tomorrow
Release Date: June 6, 2014
Starring: Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt
I know what you’re thinking: “Tom Cruise, ew!” But bear with me, please. The guy, for all his kooky scientologist tendencies, knows how to make some entertaining action flicks. One of Cruise’s latest, “Oblivion,” proves that he is capable of delivering entertaining sci-fi; what it lacks for in depth, it makes up for in fun. Edge of Tomorrow looks to improve on this shallow past with an actually interesting premise. In the film, an inexperienced soldier must relive the day of an alien invasion until he finally figures out how to stop the interstellar baddies. Think Groundhog Day, but with evil aliens. While the film likely won’t go down in the history books, it’s sure to be an enjoyable ride; isn’t that what really matters?
9) How to Train Your Dragon 2
Release Date: June 13, 2014
Starring: Jay Baruchel, Kit Harington, Gerard Butler, Kristen Wiig, Jonah Hill
There’s something inherently lovable about most of Dremworks’ animated films, and 2010’s “How to Train Your Dragon,” was as sweet as they come. The film tasks our hero, Hiccup, with saving the world from an evil dragon hunter. While that does sound inherently childish, give up the tough guy routine: nobody’s fooled. The film will surely be filled with adorable high-jinks, family-friendly laughs, and heart wrenching sweetness. Bring your little sister as an excuse if you must; we all know you’ll love it, too.
8) Let’s Be Cops
Release Date: August 13
Starring: Jake Johnson, Damon Wayans Jr.
If you’ve never witnessed Damon Wayans Jr. in action, you’re missing out. He starred in the criminally underappreciated “Happy Endings” TV show, and is the kind of guy who you immediately fall in love with on screen. Pair that with “New Girl” star Jake Johnson and you’ve got a recipe for success. The duo plays a pair of friends dressed as cops at a Halloween party who find their pretend duties escalating quickly. Directed by Luke Greenfield, who led the surprisingly wonderful “The Girl Next Door” (2004), “Let’s Be Cops” has the potential to be the sleeper comedy hit of the summer.
Release Date: July 4
Starring: Mark Ruffalo, Keira Knightly
“Begin Again,” which premiered at last September’s Toronto Film Festival, stars Mark Ruffalo as a lonely record executive who bonds with a hopeful young singer-songwriter (Knightley). Like last year’s excellent “Inside Llewyn Davis,” it looks to be an emotional character study set against a music industry backdrop. If nothing else, I’m excited to see Mark Ruffalo do his classic Mark Ruffalo thing.
Oh, and this movie has Adam Levine! I don’t mind spending every day… watching your movies, Mr.Maroon 5!
Release Date: August 15
Starring: Brenton Thwaites, Jeff Bridges, Meryl Streep
While the market seems to be saturated with young adult novel adaptations, “The Giver” is an excitingly introspective take on futuristic coming-of-age cliche. It depicts a 12 year old boy (Thwaites) discovering the stains of a so-called utopia when he’s selected to take over the position of “Receiver of Memory” from an elderly man (Bridges). The film looks appropriately subdued, and promises to leave audiences talking and, more importantly, thinking. Besides, at least its not another Hunger Games/ Hunger Games clone (I’m looking at you, Divergent).
5) What If
Release Date: August 1
Starring: Harry Potter Daniel Radcliffe, Zoe Kazan, Adam Driver
I love Harry Potter. You love Harry Potter. Almost everyone with a pulse loves Harry Potter. So when the Boy Who Lived comes out with a new movie, it demands our attention. Fortunately for us, “What If” actually looks like a great, quirky rom-com for all of us to enjoy. It stars Radcliffe as an average guy who falls for a taken girl and shows the struggle that comes for loving the right girl at the wrong time. While it may be more adequately titled “Adventures in the Friendzone,” “What If” throws off the right kind of quirky vibes; think “(500) Days of Summer” with British lead and (hopefully!) a happy ending. For that, I’m interested.
4)Guardians of the Galaxy
Release Date: August 1
Starring: Chris Pratt, Bradley Cooper, Zoe Saldana, Vin Diesel
Marvel’s going out on a limb with “Guardians of the Galaxy”; the concept is a bit (excuse the pun) out of this world. But if it’s even half as good as “The Avengers” (2012), their last foray into Superhero teams, audiences should be thrilled. The film stars a team of cosmic misfits who are forced to band together and fight evil. The main characters include an Ent, a foul-mouthed, trigger-happy raccoon (voiced by Bradley Cooper, no less), and a sassy green woman, but the movie avoids taking itself too seriously. It recognizes its innate ridiculousness and uses that to its advantage, seeming to deliver a fun action adventure that’s worth looking forward to.
Release Date: July 11
Starring: Ellar Coltrane, Ethan Hawke, Patricia Arquette
“Boyhood” is the kind of indie darling that may be magical enough to wow mainstream audiences as well as critics. The film, which premiered at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, is a drama telling the story of a young boy growing into adulthood. While this seems like a rather mundane premise, the film itself was shot in a way that no other film has been before. Director Richard Linklater filmed the main character, Coltrane, over 12 years, actually showing his evolution from boyhood into a young man. The same actor plays the main character at all ages; the growth in the film happened in the real world as well. Considering Linklater’s great track record with films like the “Before Sunrise” trilogy and “Dazed & Confused” it seems like “Boyhood” is more than just a gimmick; it could be a monumental step forward in film making.
2) Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Release Date: July 11
Starring: Andy Serkis, Gary Oldman, Keri Russell, Jason Clarke
Following the surprising success of “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” (2011), “Dawn…” continues the story of Caesar (played by Andy Serkis using Motion Capture) and his band of hyper-intelligent monkey’s as they creep towards world domination. The the first film took its admittedly absurd premise to surprisingly dark places, and “Dawn…” seems to continue its somber depiction of Primate dominance. Gone is the laughing face of James Franco, replaced by the ultra-serious character actors Gary Oldman and Keri Russell. It’s a post-apocalyptic film about monkey’s ruling the world; sounds like fun, right?
1) 22 Jump street
Release Date: June 13
Starring: Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill, Ice Cube
“21 Jump Street” (2012) was a total blast; since both Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill ooze likability, they make a great pair of bumbling undercover cops. This year, the duo returns, and this time they’re going to college. Hopefully, “22 Jump Street” will be something other than a carbon-copy of the original; all it takes is a solid new storyline for the pair of stars to shine. I can’t wait to watch Tatum and Hill be deliciously immature; with the two of them, it almost has be funny.
I’ve just given you a complete gold mine of information. The 10 movies you see above may not all be critical hits; they might not even do great commercially. But I can confidently say that each and every one will rock your socks off. So trust me. Enjoy your summer, and make sure to head to the closest theatre. You won’t regret it.