Top 10 Films of Summer 2021

3. Werewolves Within

Release Date: June 25

Since this is based on a video game of the same name, that effectively makes this the best movie based on a video game (sorry Pokemon: Detective Pikachu, you had a good run). Werewolves Within is a comedy/horror hybrid from director Josh Ruben. Like Ruben’s past film, Scare Me, the film is effectively a classic campfire story but here with a larger cast of comedic actors that plays out in a murder mystery fashion making the audience question if there is even a werewolf at all. The cast is stacked with some of the best comedic performers working today that help brings this likely town of eccentric individuals to life.

Sam Richardson stars in what is normally a thankless straight man role, but Richardson has just enough offbeats to him that he makes the character equally fun against all these various different personalities and has an everyman nature to him that could make him the next Chris Pratt (fitting since he starred opposite Pratt in this summer’s The Tomorrow War, which premiered a few days after Werewolves Within). Milayana Vayntrub has been playing smaller comedic characters for a good part of her career. It’s nice to see her in a lead role, and not only does she shine in this film her performance might make her the MVP of the summer. All I should have to do is list the cast of supporting players to sell you: Catherine Curtin (Orange is the New Black), Michael Watkins (Casual), Michael Chernus (Spider-Man: Homecoming), Cheyenne Jackson (30 Rock), Harvey Guillen (What We Do In the Shadows), George Basil (Flaked), Sarah Burns (Big Little Lies), Glenn Fleshler (Billions), and that should make this a high priority to watch come this Halloween season.

2. Plan B

HULU

Release Date: May 28

The raunchy teen comedy is a staple of summer movies, and it is also one of the genres that redefines itself so quickly because while the emotional experience of being a teenager can be universal, oftentimes there are cultural, generational, and just technological changes that need to be addressed. For example, the time difference between American Pie and Superbad was eight years. Then 2019 saw the release of Booksmart, which offered an entirely unique 21st-century spin on the teenage party film with a uniquely female perspective. Now from director Natalie Morales (in her directorial debut) and screenplay by Prathi Srinivasan and Joshua Levy comes Plan B, a film that uses the teen sex comedy set up as its inciting incident to lead into a comedic road trip film akin to Road Trip. The resulting film may be one of the funniest movies I’ve seen in a long time, while also being incredibly touching and also rage-enducing when you realize this is one of a number of films to come out recently that shows the dangers that young women have to put themselves through to get basic healthcare they are denied in various parts of the United States.

While it may share some slight similarities to last year’s underrated Unpregnant, that film was primarily focused on the girl’s broken friendship and how this experience brings them back to one another. Plan B is more focused on how the road trip makes the two characters of Sunny and Lupe, perfectly played by Kuhoo Verma and Victoria Moroles respectively, essentially come into their own as adults despite the double standard of society still treating them like kids but also forcing adult consequences on them. The film takes a lot of the detours you expect from a road trip movie, including misdirections, the car being stolen, encounters with strange individuals, but each scene feels funny because it is grounded in this friendship that will get these characters through anything. There is plenty of danger at play, and it wants the audiences to be uncomfortable in some scenes (one scene in particular that jumped the line between extremely disturbing to gut-busting hilarious I thankfully was able to pause the movie so I wouldn’t miss anything) but the movie knows, as long as these two stick together and have each other’s back it will be okay. The relationship between the kids and their parents is layered and may go places that certainly aren’t traditionally expected but also make you go “well why wouldn’t it be like this?”. Again special attention needs to be paid to the two leads, and one reason this movie should be seen more is that these two actresses deserve to get every major opportunity.

But the main reason this movie should be seen, as well as the previously mentioned Unpregnant and last year’s Never Really Sometimes Always is that the genre of ‘young women putting themselves in incredible danger to get a basic medical procedure’ only exists because of real-world institutions holding up old, archaic, and downright unscientific views that needs to go away. These young women, and every woman, deserve better. With the recent law being passed in the state of Texas and the Supreme Court failing to strike it down in time, these stories of fiction reflect a sad reality for many.

1. The Suicide Squad

Release Date: August 6

2016 was full of disappointing summer movies: from X-Men: Apocalypse, Independence Day: Resurgence, The Legend of Tarzan, and Warcraft it just felt like something was in the air of disappointing (and would only get worse come that November here in the U.S.A). But easily the most disappointing movie of 2016 was Suicide Squad, which somehow beat Green Lantern as the worst DC superhero movie of the 2010s. It was a mess of studio notes, bad decisions, and barely skated by due to the strong performances of individuals like Margot Robbie, Will Smith, and Jai Courtney. Now five years later, thanks to the work of writer and director James Gunn and a cast of obscure DC characters played by an eclectic mix of actors, The Suicide Squad is easily the best film of summer 2021. It has a rock n roll dive bar good time that made the Guardians of the Galaxy work back in 2014, but with more of an edge. Gunn does what any good comic book creator does, takes a random mix of characters and fleshes them out to make an audience care for them. There was a time when a character like Mr. Freeze was just a random Batman villain that nobody cared about until Batman: The Animated Series added a layer of depth to him where now he is considered one of the most iconic Batman villains. Gunn has now made characters like Polka-Dot Man, Ratcatcher II, and Bloodsport, who were never big names in the comics, into fully fleshed out people who could become fan favorites for years to come.

The Suicide Squad is a blockbuster that uses its absurd, silly, and extremely goofy characters to still tells a thoughtful moving story about how everyone has a purpose. The Suicide Squad is a reminder that it is never too late to turn things around, be it as a person or a mega-franchise. It is easily the best movie of summer 2021.

Do you agree with the list? What were your favorite movies this summer? Let us know in the comments below.

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