18 original movies to see in summer 2018

There’s no lack of familiar movie franchises this summer. We’ll get another Star Wars spinoff, a Pixar sequel, a Jurassic Park sequel, and a new Marvel episode. Some of these might be good, but for those of you who want to see something new, here’s 18 original movies to look forward to this summer.

June 1

American Animals

American Animals is a heist movie. There are a lot of heist movies. But the trailer has a ton of energy, and director Bart Layton’s previous effort (The Imposter) was a unique, thrilling documentary. I’m excited for this one.

June 8

Hereditary

Hereditary is a cryptic horror film, plot-wise, revolving around the death of a family matriarch and some kind of possessed child. It doesn’t take much to make me cover my eyes during horror films, and Hereditary is being billed as one of the scariest films ever made. But it’s also getting stellar reviews. I’m not sure if I’ll make it through Hereditary, but I really want to try.

Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

Won’t You be My Neighbor? is a documentary about Fred Rogers, whose children’s show Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood ran for more than 30 years. Rogers was a shining ray of positivity, and the trailer opened my eyes to some of the tougher topics he covered on his show. In a cynical time, I could use two hours of Fred Rogers in my life.

Hearts Beat Loud

Hearts Beat Loud stars Nick Offerman (Ron Swanson from Parks & Recreation) and Kiersey Clemons (Dope, Neighbors 2) as a father-daughter duo who form a band the summer before the daughter heads off the college. On the surface, it looks like a lot of other indie film festival faves that have come before it. But Offerman and Clemons are both great talents, and I’m hoping this one will have the emotional impact to keep me invested.

June 22

First Reformed

Per IMDb: A former military chaplain is wracked by grief over the death of his son. Mary is a member of his church whose husband, a radical environmentalist, commits suicide, setting the plot in motion.

If that sounds like weighty stuff, it will be. But the film comes from writer/director Paul Schrader, who previously wrote Taxi Driver and Raging Bull. First Reformed will have a focus on faith and environmentalism, but from the mind of the man who wrote Travis Bickle, it should be something we haven’t seen before.

Under the Silver Lake

Under the Silver Lake is the directorial follow-up from David Robert Mitchell, whose last film, It Follows, was once of the most frightening, well-constructed horror films I’ve seen. Mitchell departs from the horror genre with Under the Silver Lake, which follows a man’s obsession with the murder of a billionaire and the kidnapping of a woman he recently met. This one stars Andrew Garfield and Riley Keough, whom I’ve loved in nearly every role she’s been in.

June 29

Three Identical Strangers

Three Identical Strangers is a documentary about three identical triplets, separated at birth, who only learn of and meet each other after two of them meet in college. The trailer suggests that what began as a heartwarming reunion story, though, soon become a bit more sinister. I can’t wait to see where it goes.

July 6

Sorry to Bother You

Sorry to Bother You was once of the breakout films of the Sundance Film Festival, and it’s easy to see why: it’s a “bonkers satirical comedy,” according to Vox, with “commentary on race, labor, and American capitalism.” It’s a movie that couldn’t have been made any other time than the present. Sorry to Bother You stars Lakeith Stanfield (Atlanta) and Tessa Thompson (everything) as a down-on-their-luck couple, until Lakeith’s Cassius discovers he can go much farther in the telemarketing business if he uses his “white voice.” Directed by rapper Boots Riley, this one should be fun.

July 13

Eighth Grade

Eighth Grade tells the story of Kayla (Elsie Fisher), a teen trying to make it through the last week of eighth grade before she gears up for high school. The film is the directorial debut of stand-up comedian Bo Burnham, whose stand-up I adore. Early reviews have been glowing; this is my most anticipated of the summer.

Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far On Foot

Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot is WAY too long of a title for a movie, but don’t let that distract you from the fact that this is a new film from director Gus Van Sant, who gave us Good Will Hunting and Milk. His new film follows a man who takes to raunchy cartooning after an accident leaves him partially paralyzed. Joaquin Phoenix, Jonah Hill, and Rooney Mara star.

July 27

Hot Summer Nights

Hot Summer Nights is a coming-of-age story about a boy who spends a summer in Cape Cod, selling weed and falling for a girl in town. None of that matters, though; all you need to know is that Timothée Chalamet (Call Me By Your Name) stars.

August 3

Searching

Searching is like a reverse-Taken: instead of trotting the globe to find his missing daughter, David (John Cho) breaks into his daughter’s laptop to find information about where she could be. A la Unfriended, this film takes place entirely within the constraints of David’s daughter’s laptop screen. It’s a gimmicky storytelling convention, but that’s also where so much of our lives take place now, right?

Never Goin’ Back

Never Goin’ Back is about two high school dropouts who plan to take a week’s vacation from their jobs, only to get sidetracked by financial restraints and a slew of personal mistakes. The trailer is hilarious and free-spirited, and this one has the potential to become a cult film in the vein of Slacker.

The Miseducation of Cameron Post

The Miseducation of Cameron Post stars Chloe Grace Moretz as the title character, who is forced to undergo gay conversion therapy by her conservative parents. This film also stars Sasha Lane, who was incredible as the lead in American Honey. No trailer yet for this one, unfortunately.

August 10

The Meg

Just because this is a list of original movies doesn’t we can’t have big budget blockbusters on here, right? The Meg stars Jason Statham as he tries to take down a 70-foot shark. There’s not much more to this than Jaws on steroids, but it looks fun. Rainn Wilson (Dwight from The Office) and Ruby Rose (Orange is the New Black) also star.

BlackkKlansman

BlackkKlansman, based on a true story, is about a black police officer who infiltrates the KKK. Yes, that KKK. Early critical receptions suggest this is a return to form for director Spike Lee, who at the height of his powers is the best director around to comment on issues of race in America. John David Washington (Denzel’s son!), Adam Driver, and Topher Grace star.

August 17

The Happytime Murders

The Happytime Murders is a crime story about puppets that are being murdered. It’s a strange mesh of genres, but if anyone can handle it, it’s director Brian Henson, son of Muppets legend Jim Henson. The cast is star-studded, and includes Melissa McCarthy, Elizabeth Banks, Joel McHale, and Maya Rudolph.

Three Seconds

Three Seconds is a prison movie, about an undercover cop who gets himself put in jail on purpose in order to infiltrate the mob. Familiar summer fare, but the cast is strong: Ana de Armas was a standout in Blade Runner 2049, Rosamund Pike gave one of my favorite performances of the decade in Gone Girl, and Common is Common. No trailer yet for this one, either.