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The Emerson College VMA Summer 2018 Movie Guide

by Jack Federman

Here at Emerson College, we know movies. I would say it’s basically a prerequisite to have at least five favorite movies coming into this school as a Visual and Media Arts major. Ask an Emerson student their favorite movie, and you’re in for a very long, passionate explanation. So it only makes sense that Emerson students would be the ones to talk to about which movies are coming out this summer, and which ones are worth waiting in line at midnight for. After careful deliberation and lots of input from fellow VMA students, I believe we have concocted a list that puts other summer movie lists to shame. Keep in mind that these are VMA students—their tastes are refined, so only expect a couple of blockbusters and nostalgia grabs on this list.

Without further ado, I present the Emerson College VMA Summer 2018 Movie Guide.

June

(It may already be July, but don’t let it deter you from seeing these movies that just came out; there are some real great ones here.)

Won’t You Be My Neighbor – June 8

FRED ROGERS! The name alone should make you feel warm and fuzzy inside. The man who taught so many children how to imagine, embrace emotion, and be a wholly good person is now a subject of a wide release Morgan Neville (20 Feet from Stardom)-directed documentary. While the current student body at Emerson may barely remember Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, there are still the select few of us who wish to once again learn from the master on how to be the best person possible. I know for a fact I will be face deep in a tissue box by the end of this documentary, and I highly recommend everyone sees this documentary, whether you watched the program or not.

Ocean’s 8 – June 8

Coming off last year’s less than well-received Ghostbusters reboot, Hollywood needs a good all-female reboot. Not only to show that it’s not a gimmick, but an interesting way of telling a story in a time where we are now trying to make a change in the industry as to who is represented and how. With an outstanding cast, one can only hope that this Ocean spin-off carries the same energy that made the original trilogy so entertaining. It has a heist, female empowerment, and Rihanna! What more could you want?

Hereditary – June 8

Following an insane few years of hit films, A24 is set to release what will hopefully be another certified classic on June 8. This dramatic horror film has already garnered a lot of attention when it played earlier this year at Sundance, and for good reason. Toni Collette plays the lead, and she is being directed by a fresh face, Ari Aster, who is already being called auteur-like in his approach to film-making. A great cast with a chilling story about a haunted matriarch, this movie hopefully lives up to the horror standards that A24 laid out three years ago with The Witch. This visually driven movie will be a stark contrast to the other films coming out the same weekend.

Incredibles 2 – June 15

Probably the most exciting moment in my movie-going experience as a kid was the promise of an Incredibles sequel at the end of the first movie. It’s only been about 14 years, so Pixar really worked fast on this one. Actually, come to think of it, Pixar has been releasing sequels to their hit movies almost in alignment with how people my age have grown up, almost like they know we college students thrive on nostalgia. It has been really interesting to be part of the generation of kids who “grew up” with these movies, literally. We look forward to the next installment in one of our favorite animated films.

Under the Silver Lake – June 22

If you were a fan of It Follows, then David Robert Mitchell’s next film is for you. Exploring his stylistic film-making even further, Mitchell hopes to transport us to a very interesting version of Los Angeles, where Andrew Garfield is searching for a missing girl. Reviews have been mixed for this one, so you’ll just have to see it to form your own opinion. However, if it carries any of the same energy as his last flick, I have high hopes.

July

Sorry to Bother You – July 6

This directorial debut for rapper Boots Riley stars Lakeith Stanfield as a black telemarketer with a rather unusual talent: he sounds white on the phone. If you are familiar at all with Boots Riley’s musical career, you already know this movie is going to be one big jab at identity politics. The film has already been gaining high praises from early reviews, calling it a surrealist comedy for 2018. Hopefully catching the same satirical spark that Get Out captured, Sorry to Bother You looks like an insanely fun watch that actually has something worthwhile to say.

Eighth Grade – July 13

I have heard absolutely nothing but good things about this movie. Bo Burnham, of Internet and stand-up comedy fame, is directing his first film here, and I could not be more excited about it. As most VMA kids who are interested in comedy will tell you, Bo Burnham is a genius. Whether or not you like his brand of weirdo comedy, you cannot deny the imprint he has had on so many facets of media. Now, Burnham is telling us a story about something we all wish to forget: eighth grade. Starring Elsie Fisher, an actual adolescent girl who Burnham said he wrote much of the protagonist around, this film promises a real look at how we come of age in such an awkward time. Boasting a strong 100% on Rotten Tomatoes after many pre-screenings, and winning the audience choice award at Sundance London, Eighth Grade is shaping up to be one of the best films of the summer.

Alita: Battle Angel – July 20

I know what you’re thinking: Great, another Hollywood blockbuster based on a manga (Japanese comic book) that is going to completely whitewash the story. Honestly, I can’t tell you this movie won’t be that. What I can say, however, is that this film looks like a far more well-thought-out take on what manga should look like when adapted for the screen. Rather than casting a white woman as the Asian protagonist (I’m looking at you, ScarJo), director Robert Rodriguez has opted for motion capture to give the movie a more animated feel. With names like James Cameron and Jon Landau attached as producers, and Rodriguez ready to redeem himself after a shameful Sin City sequel, I can only hope they do Yukito Kushiro’s fantastical work justice.

August

The Meg – August 10

Jason Statham fights a giant shark. Let me just say that again so it sinks in: Jason Statham…fights…a giant shark. I think I have said enough. This will win Best Picture at the Oscars, no contest.

Crazy Rich Asians – August 15

While I can definitely say that I know this movie was not made for me, I am very interested to see what a film like this does to relate to a wider audience. Directed by Jon M. Chu, known for his work on the Justin Bieber documentary, this movie follows the story of an Asian American woman who travels to Singapore for the first time, only to find out that her boyfriend is from one of the wealthiest families in the country. I’m really happy to see a film that is catering to an Asian audience, as that seems to be a group wildly underrepresented in mainstream media. Whether or not this movie will be good is totally up in the air. I want to be hopeful and say it will be great, but the writing team is not known for their masterpieces. Then again, I am not the target audience here, so take my words with a grain of salt.

The Happytime Murders – August 17

One thing I realized while at Emerson College is that college students LOVE puppets. I don’t know if it’s an irony thing or if the Sesame Street generation is real or what, but puppets are a sure thing to get me or any other VMA kid I know to watch your movie. Of course, Brian Henson, son of Jim Henson, knows this. This live-action/puppet murder mystery is sure to be the late summer comedy that everyone is talking about. I for one am just excited to see more genre filmmaking getting the spotlight. The cast alone would be enough to get me to see this, with Maya Rudolph, Melissa McCarthy, and Joel McHale. Pairing them with puppets just seems like a recipe for a hilarious puppet movie for a more mature audience.

The Little Stranger – August 31

Coming in at the very end of summer, we have the return of Lenny Abrahamson to the director’s chair after his last hit Room was nominated for Best Picture at the 2016 Oscars. This period piece, based on a Sarah Waters novel, follows a doctor returning to his childhood estate, where he was raised as the son of a maid, to investigate the peculiar health problems plaguing the current family. Whether or not their problems are of the supernatural variety is up to us as the audience to figure out. No doubt going back down the same childhood-trauma route from Room, Abrahamson adds more than stark realism to this flick to make a truly dark story unfold. There is little promo material out for this film yet, but I’m sure it will be talked about a lot when August comes around. 

I will say I left off a significant amount of movies from this list that either a) everyone already knows is coming out or b) will no doubt be a bad movie that you should not spend money to see (Jurassic World, Ant Man, etc.). However, there are a few honorable mentions:

Damsel – June 22

Sicario: Day of the Soldado – June 29

Three Identical Strangers – June 29

Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot – July 13

Blindspotting – July 20

Hot Summer Nights – July 27

Christopher Robin – August 3

Madeline’s Madeline – August 10

We the Animals – August 17

Welp, that’s all of them. Every movie you need to see this entire summer, as suggested by us, your trusty VMA friends at Emerson College. Happy summer!