For the final time for realises, welcome back to your 2018 Summer Movie Guide. Thanks for sticking with us. I swear that this was supposed to be only 3 parts, but then I accidentally Hunger Games-d Part 3, so today we’ll be doing the short-form round-up of the season’s comedies, Indies, and Netflix Originals that we left out of the previous part for time constraints. Then again, I happen to think splitting Mockingjay into two separate movies worked out for the best, so I believe this will go great!
If you missed the previous parts in the series – of articles, not Hunger Games books/movies – you can reacquaint yourself at the following links: Part 1 (covering big movies pre-August), Part 2 (big movies in August), and Part 3 (rounding up miscellaneous horror, action, animation, and drama).
Everyone else: let’s get this over with.
All release dates are UK specific, taken from the Film Distributors Association website and, whilst correct at press time, are subject to change.
Those who have been paying attention to the year so far will know that we’ve already had two properly funny and legitimately great comedies – in the shape of Game Night and Blockers – so they may be understandably sceptical about the absolute glut coming down the pipe this Summer. For, as we all know, we get, at most, 3 truly great comedies per year, with a whole shovel-load of shit to wade through in the meantime. There is a chance that many of these could be absolutely terrible, but it’s also a line-up chock to the brim with films I can tell apart from one another, and that’s not something to take lightly.
It is, however, admittedly not a list free of half-baked ideas and obvious stinkers. Super Troopers 2 (June 15th) makes its belated way overseas to what I can only assume will be thunderous indifference, Swimming with Men (July 6th) is about an accountant (Rob Brydon) who has a midlife crisis and joins an all-men’s synchronised swimming team whilst the film itself has yet to have a proper trailer despite being released just over a month from now, and Book Club (June 1st) is genuinely about old women who read Fifty Shades of Grey for the first time. This was a film produced in 2017.
Brighter prospects fortunately do abound, including, and I shit you not when I say this, Uncle Drew (July 6th), a basketball comedy based upon a character from a series of Pepsi Max commercials that just looks way too goddamn weird to be forgettably bad. Somebody clearly watched the critical and commercial success of Spy very closely because Mila Kunis and Kate McKinnon have been odd-buddied up for The Spy Who Dumped Me (August 22nd). It honestly doesn’t look very good, but I will forever hope for these actresses, this writer-director (Susanna Fogel of Life Partners), and my continued desire for comedies that are properly directed. Game Night reminded me of how nice it was to get one of those!
I might even get it soon with Tag (June 29th) whose trailer was already way, waaaaay better than a New Line comedy with this premise – a group of friends play an extreme, month-long game of tag every year, with Jeremy Renner as the ace who has never been caught; it’s sort of based on a true story, believe it or not – has any right to be.
Still going. You know who else is still going? Johnny Knoxville! That warms my heart! He and Chris Pontius, basically the only members of the Jackass crew still capable of doing that stuff nowadays, have reunited for Action Point (August 31st) which takes the Bad Grandpa concept of stringing together ridiculous real stunts performed by the cast with the fictional narrative of a rundown theme park that laughs in the face of safety regulations. It’d be nice for it to be better than Bad Grandpa, please. In returns that nobody was asking for, the gender-flipped remake of Overboard (June 22nd) still looks just as horrible and hateful as the original.
Much better sounding is The Happytime Murders (August 24th), a neo-noir puppet movie, directed by Brian Henson, with a logline, crossing Who Framed Roger Rabbit? with The Muppets, tailormade to take all of my moneys. The just-released trailer, however, is really desperate at trying to position itself as a comedy for adults, crude arguably to a fault without Sausage Party’s excuse of genre parody, which worries me in spite of my getting a few chuckles from it. Finally, The Festival (August 17th) is the first work by Iain Morris since wrapping up the generation-defining Inbetweeners franchise. He’s not writing it, Damon Beasely’s not involved, and there is basically zero info about it, but I am already way more interested for it than Swimming with Men.
Films under this category can most likely have slipped into Drama without too much fuss, but the Indie designation comes from the fact that they are practically guaranteed to get release plans of the most limited variety, meaning that you and I will likely have to wait for these films to hit whichever home viewing method you most prefer. You could also just rechristen it “The A24 Category” because they have basically taken over the quality Indie game in recent years, and this Summer shows no signs of them waning in that department.
In addition to the prior-covered Hereditary – getting a wide release because it’s a horror movie, same way that The VVitch and It Comes at Night lucked into wide releases – they are also releasing A Prayer Before Dawn (July 20th) in America, a true-story boxing prison drama where Billy Moore (played by Joe Cole) takes up Thai Boxing in order to survive his stint in Nakhon Pathom prison (where the film was also shot). Also receiving rave reviews is First Reformed (July 13th), Paul Schrader’s tightly-coiled drama about a priest (Ethan Hawke) suffering from a severe crisis of faith that’s being labelled as one of the year’s best films by lucky American critics who have already been able to see it.
Still, though it may seem otherwise by this point, A24 is not the only game in Indie town. My Friend Dahmer (June 1st), a biopic based on the acclaimed graphic novel memoir about notorious serial killing cannibal Jeffrey Dahmer during his high school years, finally crosses over to the UK 8 months after its US release. Unflinchingly bleak Jehovah’s Witness drama Apostasy (July 27th) also finally releases this Summer, a film I honestly think I may have been too hard on when I saw it at the London Film Festival last year so I’m hoping to give it a second chance.
Then there’s a film that fell victim to schedule clashes during my time at the Fest, Anchor and Hope (July 20th), about a cohabiting lesbian couple (Natalia Tena and Oona Chaplin) at odds over whether they want to have a child, and the male friend (David Verdaguer) they rope in to help out. Elsewhere, the neon-drenched Terminal (July 6th) drops Margot Robbie, Simon Pegg, Dexter Fletcher, and Mike Meyers into a Tarantino-tinged noir caper and must have something majorly wrong with it to be getting a release in less than 25 theatres.
Finally, and not really an Indie release but lumped in here due to the current lack of a trailer, we have an adaptation of The Miseducation of Cameron Post (August 31st), a coming of age drama about the titular character (Chloë Grace Moretz), her burgeoning homosexuality and, eventually, her time at a conversion therapy camp. It’s directed and co-adapted by Desiree Akhavan of the brilliant Appropriate Behaviour (still on Netflix at time of writing), and the cast list also includes Sasha Lane, finally following up her star-making turn in American Honey, so there’s real talent on both sides of the camera. Whatever the best possible version of this book I haven’t read may potentially look like, this will almost definitely be it, so fingers crossed as it slips in under the buzzer!
Now, this entire category is a crapshoot for pre-release impressions because, as frequently vexed followers of the streaming giant’s original content are likely fully aware of by now, Netflix are dogshit when it comes to advertising their original movies. They’re considered to be doing a good job if they release a trailer earlier than a week before the film’s drop date. Most of the time, films will just turn up on the service and you may or may not stumble upon them depending on whether the algorithm gods are smiling down on you that day. It’s all well and good bragging about having 1,000 pieces of original content by year’s end, Netflix, but it’s not going to mean anything if you’re only seriously trying to push 5 of them! Enough old man grumbling from me, though. Point is, 90% of Netflix’s releases this Summer are little more than titles and release dates, so cut me some slack if this entry is too dry for you.
Non-comedies are very thin on the ground over the Summer, but not non-existent. The Angel (June 15th), by Ariel Vromen (The Iceman), is a spy-thriller about Mossad agent Ashraf Marwan (Marwan Kenzari) whose intelligence was personally responsible for Israel’s defence of Egypt’s surprise attack on the Golan Heights during the Yom Kippur war of 1973. How It Ends (July 27th) is an apocalypse thriller following a father trying to get back home to his pregnant wife; it’s by David M. Rosenthal, of such garbage as The Perfect Guy and Janie Jones, and who is also remaking Jacob’s Ladder for some reason.
But if none of those take your fancy, then maybe you’ll instead care for To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (August 17th), a teen romance based on the successful novel about a teenager (Lana Condor) whose private letters to all her past crushes mysteriously get sent out and she has to deal with the repercussions. Of those three, you may not be surprised to hear that I am most drawn to All the Boys since, at the very least, it may satisfy my teen movie craving that most Hollywood studios couldn’t give a toss about in the era of regular $200 million budgets and laser-focus on the Chinese box office. So, thank you, Netflix, for keeping that subgenre going. Sincerely.
Netflix comedies have had a very low success rate over their history, but they also have had the courtesy to release trailers in time for my writing this guide sos I can make semi-informed opinions. Ibiza (May 25th) unites Gillian Jacobs, Vanessa Bayer, and Phoebe Robinson for a holiday to Ibiza and also maybe they’ll make a movie on the side whilst they’re there, as is the case with most holiday-based comedies that have trailers lacking in any laughs. Hot on the heels of Love, Simon is Craig Johnson’s Alex Strangelove (June 8th) where the writer-director of The Skeleton Twins spins a yarn about a model High Schooler coming to the slow realisation that he may not be heterosexual. I’m hoping that it will be good, cos I really need a win after Love, Simon was just kind of “eh,” but I don’t trust the writer-director of The Skeleton Twins to pull this off.
Last of this Summer’s slate to get a trailer at press-time is Set it Up (June 15th) which drops Lucy Liu, Zoey Deutch, Glen Powell, and Taye Diggs into a workplace version of The Parent Trap because we’re still making movies like those, apparently. There’s also The Legacy of a Whitetail Deer Hunter (July 6th), marking Jody Hill’s return to the feature director’s chair for the first time since Observe and Report, which has a severely out-of-context clip that says basically nothing, other than that Josh Brolin and Danny McBride are starring, and that’s all we really know for now. Still, the co-creator of Eastbound and Down was finally allowed to make another movie! That’s something!
There is more on the schedule, of course, but they’re only titles and release dates, so what good’s my spending time on them, huh? That’s on Netflix not getting their shit together! How am I supposed to get hyped when I’ve got no information to get hyped about?
Now, we are DONE! Congrats for making it to the end! What films are you excited for this Summer? Which ones are you dreading? Did we miss any out, or do you disagree with any of our premature assessments? Hit up the comments, it’s what they are there for!