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(50) Movies of Summer

Dunkirk, The Big Sick, Okja, Detroit, Hell on Earth, Maudie, The Trip to Spain, Baby Driver, Ingrid Goes West and Atomic Blonde (and that's just my top ten).



In mid-20th century America, going to summer movies came with the added bonus of enjoying air conditioning, something most homeowners couldn't afford. That, coupled with 50-cent admission prices meant theaters were packed to the gills. In the latter half of the century, cineplexes continued to see huge summer box-office receipts from blockbusters such as Jaws, Star Wars and Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Now, in the summer of 2017, with ticket prices in the double digits and home entertainment options growing rapidly, it will be a tough task for cinemas to compete for time and cash. There will be some familiar faces on the big screen this summer—pirates, web-slingers, talking apes and transformers—but there are also plenty of original titles to pique your interest. So, here's my list, ranked by level of enthusiasm, of the must-see movies of summer 2017. And for the first time, my summer movie list includes TV network and streaming service premieres.

1. Dunkirk—Director Christopher Nolan's epic should be a Best Picture Oscar contender (July 21).).

2. The Big Sick—One of the best-reviewed comedies in ages (July 14).

3. Okja—Director Bong Joon-ho's follow up to Snowpiercer (June 28, Netflix).

4. DetroitDirector Kathryn Bigelow visits the 1967 Motor City riots (Aug. 4).

5. Hell on EarthDirector Sebastian Junger chronicles the fall of Syria and the rise of ISIS (June 11, NatGeo).

6. MaudieSally Hawkins is Canadian folk artist Maud Lewis (June 16).

7. The Trip to SpainSteve Coogan and Rob Bryden hit the road again (Sept. 8).

8. Baby DriverThis hard-driving action thriller stars Kevin Spacey and Jon Hamm (June 28).

9. Ingrid Goes West—The heir apparent to Bridesmaids or The Hangover (Aug. 18).

10. Atomic BlondeCharlize Theron is a super sexy super spy (July 28).

11. Wonder WomanGal Godot is the Amazon princess (June 2).

12. ChurchillAnother in a long list of Churchill biopics (June 9).

13. The BeguiledNicole Kidman and Colin Farrell in the remake of the 1971 thriller (June 30).

14. My Cousin RachelRachel Weisz in an adaptation of the 1951 novel (June 9).

15. Buena Vista Social Club: AdiosA follow up to the smash 1999 documentary (June 2).

16. A Ghost StoryThis Sundance hit stars Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara (July 28).

17. The Little HoursA hard R-rated comedy starring Aubrey Plaza and Alison Brie (July 14).

18. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No TalesThis is the fifth cruise for Johnny Depp (May 26).

19. Paris Can Wait—Diane Lane cruises the French countryside (June 16).

20. LandlineThis comedy made a big splash at Sundance (July 21).

21. My Neighbor Totoro (1988)TCM and Fathom bring the 1988 classic back to the big screen (June 25).

22. It Comes At NightThis horror film could be the sleeper hit of the summer (June 9).

23. Death NoteThis supernatural thriller is one of the biggest productions ever on a streaming service (Aug. 25, Netflix).

24. War for the Planet of the ApesCaesar and his simian soldiers go to battle (July 14).

25. The Hitman's Bodyguard—An action comedy starring Ryan Reynolds and Sam Jackson (Aug. 18).

26. The JourneyThe true story of the Northern Ireland peace talks (July 7).

27. Captain UnderpantsThe children's favorite makes his big screen debut (June 2).

28. The HouseWill Ferrell and Amy Poehler team up (June 30).

29. Lost in Paris—Emmanuelle Riva stars in this comic puff pastry (June 23).

30. Brigsby BearSNL vets Kyle Mooney, Andy Samberg and Beck Bennett co-star (Aug. 25).

31. Lady MacbethAn adaptation of the 1865 novella (July 14).

32. The Life and Death of John Gotti—John Travolta stars as the crime boss (Aug. 25).

33. Becoming Cary GrantNewly-discovered footage of the iconic movie idol (June 9, Showtime).

34. If You're Not in the Obit, Eat BreakfastDocumentary about comedians in their 90s (June 5, HBO).

35. Brave New JerseyTony Hale stars in a comedy about the night of Orson Welles' War of the Worlds broadcast (Aug. 4).

36. An Inconvenient SequelFor those who wonder whatever happened to Al Gore (July 28).

37. Once Upon a Time in VeniceAction adventure/comedy starring Bruce Willis and John Goodman (June 16).

38. The Dark TowerA big screen adaptation of Stephen King's series of novels (Aug. 4).

39. Annabelle: Creation—The sequel to the 2015 summer smash thriller (Aug. 11).

40. Despicable Me 3Steve Carrell returns as Gru (June 30).

41. The Emoji MovieThe epic adventures of three emojis (July 28).

42. Spider-Man: HomecomingTom Holland is the latest actor to sling the web (July 7).

43. Rough NightA bachelorette party goes so wrong (June 16).

44. Cars 3Lightning McQueen steps on the gas for another sequel (June 16).

45. Amityville: The AwakeningStill another sequel in the supernatural franchise (June 30).

46. BlindA sight-impaired Alec Baldwin falls for Demi Moore (July 14).

47. The Last FaceThis Sean Penn-directed film has garnered some horrible reviews (July 28).

48. Valerian and the City of a Thousand PlanetsBased on the French science fiction comic series (July 21).

49. The MummyTom Cruise is reincarnated for another summer blockbuster (June 9).

50. Transformers: The Last KnightReally? I mean, really? (June 21).


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