The summer movie season has ended with something like a month long whimper. July had some good stuff, including from what I hear War For the Planet of the Apes, which seems to be the only worthwhile wide release I missed this summer. Maybe Cars 3 as well. Ehh. So how about a countdown of my favorite movies of the summer.
10 Atomic Blonde – I’m kind of on the middle with this one. The action is excellent, the spy stuff is turgid. I would say it is certainly worth watching, but it isn’t in the same strata as some other recent action movies, like either John Wick.
9 Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales – There is a lot of dead space in this movie, but there it had just enough energy to be enjoyable, especially since Jack Sparrow was back to being the wild card rather than the protagonist.
8 Spider-Man Homecoming – I am going to guess I am the low man on this one. Something about this movie just didn’t click with me. I don’t know what lesson Peter was supposed to have learned and I couldn’t really sympathize with the supposedly sympathetic villain after he straight up murdered one of his allies and made a joke about it. I get why people liked it, but I only barely did.
7 King Arthur: Legend of the Sword – There is plenty that doesn’t quite work here, but I found the general tone and energy to be compelling. It isn’t a great movie, and I can see people just straight up disliking it, but something about it just clicked for me.
6 Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets – In my heart, this movie would be about 4 spots higher. I am already regretting not putting it above Guardians 2. It is a love it or hate it sci fi adventure and I am firmly on the love it side. It is wild, perfect nonsense.
5A Okja – I gave this a very strong review when I first saw it and I stand by that. But in making this list I am looking at the movies I would most like to watch right now, and I don’t feel a compelling need to watch this again right now. From here on up are the movies I genuinely like and have excellent chances to show up on my year’s 10 best list. It is also the only Netflix movie on the list, and since some other Netflix movies would have made had I counted them, I went ahead and gave Okja a bit of an asterisk.
5 Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 – Just like the first, it is tons of fun with a killer soundtrack and an excellent cast. Some of the jokes in this one were big misses for me, but the vast majority of the movie is pure fun.
4 Logan Lucky – I am not the biggest Soderbergh fan. Not that I don’t like his movies, only that I have really only seen the Ocean’s Trilogy and those mostly very recently. This is along those same lines in terms of quality and content. Logan Lucky trades the Vegas glitz for Appalachian grit, but it is still a slickly funny heist movie. It is the perfect late summer antidote to big explosions and CGI.
3 Dunkirk – another of Nolan’s perfect puzzle box movies. It is completely enthralling, though somewhat distant. Any of the three stories it combined would have been enough for its own movie and he combines them masterfully.
2 Wonder Woman – This is a superhero movie in a different mold from most current ones, with a stronger sense of earnestness than any since Captain America or even the original Superman. It does revert to form in the last act, but everything before that is great.
1 Baby Driver – There really isn’t any question here. Baby Driver is the easy frontrunner for my movie of the year. It would take a tremendous upset for anything to unseat it. It might not be the best Edgar Wright movie, but even the worst Edgar Wright movie would rank highly on any yearly list.
I’ll be back soon with a post highlighting the movies I’m looking forward to over the last third of the year. The summer might have been half lackluster, but there are some big movies coming over the next few months.