August: Blockbuster Flicks
Hello readers, I am back from my own personal summer break to bring you more movies. For me, the summer blockbuster is more of an event than any other season of cinema: you go to drive ins, bring a picnic blanket to an outdoor movie, or just enjoy the sweet AC of your local theater. And on the screen, you watch something a little more relaxed and fun. That's what this selection will reflect - the laid back summer favorites.
1. Booksmart (2019)
It's worth adding something so new (potentially still in a theater near you) because recent years have struggled to give us a fun blockbuster outside of the Superhero genre. Booksmart feels like an instant classic with a Superbad esq. plot to get to a party for one last shot of fun before graduation. Highly driven best friends Amy (Kaitlyn Denver) and Molly (Beanie Feldstein) realize that Nick's party is their last chance to have fun in high school. Amongst the high-jinks, there is growth within their friendship and they learn to put their judgements of their classmates aside and embrace their differences, have fun, and be driven all at once.
2. Super 8 (2011)
An early JJ Abrams 80s nostalgia film? That's got summer written all over it, and somehow, this one slipped under the radar upon release. A mysterious train crash takes place in a small town, and a group of rag tag kids with a super 8 film camera decide to investigate. Follow the movies breadcrumbs as they're given and you slip into the same anticipation and childlike wonder as the characters, making the reveals much more fun. It's funny and suspenseful imbued with a love of DIY filmmaking.
3. Selena (1997)
Perhaps one of the greatest music biopics - is it because it's JLo in her prime? Is it the wild and tragic story of Selena? Or is it the pure charisma of the Selena character, the rags to riches pop queen who never forgot where she came from? This movie pays homage to the beloved singer herself Selena Quintanilla-Perez and unfolds like a love letter to the fans. Who could forget the scene in the dress shop? It'll make your heart do that bidi bidi bom bom.
4. John Wick 1-3 (2014, 2017, 2019)
If you grew up watching James Bond or most big action franchises, you have probably found yourself wincing through misogyny and action scenes that weren't worth it. The John Wick series, yes all three, are pure action joy. John Wick (Keanu Reeves) receives a puppy after the passing of his wife, and when he finally feels some comfort, his car is stolen and puppy murdered - dragging him back into the world of assassins. He's an action hero that is fun to watch as he fights his way through the complicated world he had left behind and struggles to leave again. He's the kind of action hero who seems like he would rather catch up on Grace & Frankie with his dog but keeps getting dragged into killing cuz he's so good at it!
5. Young Frankenstein (1974)
If you haven't been down the Mel Brooks comedy rabbit hole, this is a great place to start. It's the story of Dr. Frederick Frankenstein (Gene Wilder) inheriting his grandfathers castle and with it, a reanimation guide. After much skepticism, the young Dr. Frankenstein gives it a go and realizes his grandfather was legit. It's wildly funny and weird with memorable characters and quotable lines.
Until next time!
ABOUT WHAT SHE’S WATCHING
Hi y'all, my name is Pilar and I am a filmmaker & lover who has gotten overwhelmed by suggestions at film school parties and didn't know where to start. I'm hoping this column will give you some hors d'oeuvres to chew on and help you discover other great movies to inspire your own filmmaking. This is a safe space no judgement if you haven't seen it, in fact, I'm very jealous of you right now for getting to experience some of this for the first time.