I wanted to call this article “2017 Summer Movies for Grownups”,but that’s an AARP thing. And “Summer Movies for Adults” seems to mean p-o-r-n, and I don’t want that search traffic. So, I settled on “2017 Summer Movies Where Nothing Blows Up”.
What I mean to provide is a list of movies for Summer 2017 not based on comic book or cartoon characters. Smaller movies where plot and acting performance are the focus, instead of special effects. Movies like The Zookeeper’s Wife.
Don’t get me wrong–I’ll happily watch Guardians of the Galaxy 2 and Pirates of the Caribbean 17, Jack Sparrow Needs to Pay Alimony. Still, I prefer movies with fewer explosions and more dramatic exposition.
I can’t guarantee the following summer movies are classy, just that they are less likely to have animated chipmunks making fart jokes.
So, get your bag of locally-sourced, artisan popcorn and watch some movies!
2017 Summer Movies Where Nothing Blows Up
Scroll down to the bottom to see the one explosion-laden film I think will be worth an exception.
A remake of the 1971 Clint Eastwood feature, this new film stars Nicole Kidman, Colin Farrell, Kirsten Dunst, and Elle Fanning.
Directed by Sofia Coppola, this is the tale of a wounded Union soldier who is taken in by a Southern girls’ school and nursed back to health in secret.
The only man the staff and students have seen in a long time, shenanigans ensue.
And who can blame the women? This is some peak Farrell. He’s free in this movie to apply maximum charm and deploy weapons-grade Irish accent. That’s a real pantalet dropper.
I’m a little concerned about the Southern accents in this one. While English actors can usually nail a half-way decent accent from the American South, actual Americans usually sound like Hee Haw rejects. Here’s hoping, y’all!
Though Kirsten Dunst’s performance in Hidden Figures last year doesn’t have me too hopeful for her.
The Guardian called The Beguiled a “hilariously fraught feminist psychodrama”, and rates it four out of five stars.
The movie premiered at the Cannes Film Festival with great reviews from Vanity Fair, Vox, and Time Out. Sofia Coppola won a prize there for Best Director for this film.
The Beguiled is in theaters June 23, 2017.
Watch the official trailer.
The Book of Henry
“Sometimes things are not always what they seem, especially in the small suburban town where the Carpenter family lives. Single suburban mother Susan Carpenter (Naomi Watts) works as a waitress at a diner, alongside feisty family friend Sheila (Sarah Silverman). Her younger son Peter (Jacob Tremblay) is a playful 8-year-old.
Susan discovers that the family next door, which includes Henry’s kind classmate Christina (Maddie Ziegler, from Dance Moms and Sia videos), has a dangerous secret – and that Henry has devised a surprising plan to help.”
I’m not sure where this movie is going. It starts out like a quirky John Greene tween movie, then veers into thriller territory. A good cast means I’ll check it out to see.
The Book of Henry is directed by Colin Trevorrow (Jurassic World, Safety Not Guaranteed) from an original screenplay by acclaimed novelist Gregg Hurwitz (Orphan X).
Rated PG-13, The Book of Henry opens on June 16, 2017.
Watch the newest official trailer for The Book of Henry.
My Cousin Rachel
As a teenager I saw the BBC adaptation of this novel by Daphne Du Maurier. That version of My Cousin Rachel starred Geraldine Chaplin (yes, Charlie Chaplin’s daughter).
Afterward I read the book, and as many of Du Maurier’s other novels I could get my hands on. I loved Jamaica Inn, Rebecca, Frenchman’s Creek, and her short story, “The Birds” that became the basis of the Hitchcock movie.
Many Du Maurier novels share the same Cornwall setting, which I find to be a very romantic place. It comes across as wild part of England with smugglers, sea cliffs, and secrets.
I was sent the novel, which has a new cover to tie in with the release of the film. I loved re-reading it thirty years later. Time and experience changed my perspectives on the characters and the whole cousin-love situation.
This new film version of My Cousin Rachel stars Academy-Award winner Rachel Weisz, and that hot guy from The Hunger Games who was really the only reason you agreed to take five tween girls to see it in the first place, Sam Claflin.
My Cousin Rachel will be released on June 9, 2017, and is rated PG-13.
It’s great to see 80s superstar Debra Winger back in films. Her new movie, The Lovers, is described as “a refreshingly funny look at love, fidelity, and family”.
Winger (three-time Academy Award nominee) is the wife of Tracy Letts (from Homeland, a two-time Tony Award winner, and the winner of the mf’ing Pulitzer Prize for his play, August: Osage County).
Wife and husband both are “in the midst of serious affairs and are increasingly committed to their new partners.
But on the brink of officially calling it quits, a spark between them suddenly and unexpectedly reignites, leading them into an impulsive romance that forces them to navigate the hilarious complications of “cheating” on their respective lovers.
A mixture of humor and powerful emotion, the story is a uniquely honest take on modern marriage.”
Normally I avoid adultery movies, but this feels more like an un-dultery story. Also, the cast is top notch, and the film has an 86% Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
The Lovers is currently in theaters and has an R rating.
It Comes at Night
Yes, this is a horror movie, but hear me out on this one. A stellar cast (Joel Edgerton, Trey Edward Shults, Christopher Abbott, Carmen Ejogo, Riley Keough, and future huge star Kelvin Harrison, Jr.) and a non-traditional horror narrative really elevate this movie.
Movie Web describes It Comes at Night as, “engrossing, thought-provoking, bleak and stunning”, and claims it’s “one of the best horror movies of 2017 and very well could be one of the best movies of the year. Period.”
I plan on seeing this as soon as it’s in theaters June 9, 2017. This movie is rated R.
Some of the publicity images for It Comes at Night feel spoiler-y, but the official trailer below gives a little taste of the movie’s plot without giving away too much.
More Summer Movies Worth Watching
All Eyez on Me
I caught a glimpse of a commercial and thought, “Wow, that guy looks like Tupac.” It was the trailer for this film, and wow, that guy looks like Tupac.
Hoping All Eyez on Me avoids the hagiography of Straight Outta Compton, an otherwise good film. I like when biopics give a really balanced glimpse into the main character’s life.
I mean, Tupac went to the Baltimore School for the Arts and danced in The Nutcracker. He was childhood friends with Jada Pinkett. I wanna see that on film!
The Big Sick
A serious romantic comedy about a Pakistani-American whose has to deal with his ex-girlfriend’s angry parents after she’s placed in a medically-induced coma. This looks like a smart and thoughtful spin on While You Were Sleeping and Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner.
Amazing cast of Zoe Kazan, who is one of my favorite actresses, Kumail Nanjiani, Holly Hunter, and Ray Romano. Yes, Ray Romano looks good in this, though playing the beleaguered dad with a feisty wife may not be too much of a stretch.
In theaters June 23, 2017.
The Bad Batch
You better work, batch! Starring Jason Momoa’s eyebrows, a puffy and middle-aged Keanu Reeves channeling a post-apocalyptic Hugh Hefner, and introducing Suki Waterhouse’s hot pants. The Bad Batch will either be an amazing B-movie, or a hot mess.
I’m leaning more toward the former, since this movie is from writer/director Ana Lily Amanpour. I loved her dark and quirky Iranian vampire tale, A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night.
Early reviews from critics are mixed, but generally favorable.
The Bad Batch is in theaters June 23, 2017.
A movie about a white rapper is bound to attract some criticism, but Patti Cake$ might dodge that bullet.
It seems to have the one thing that every movie needs to succeed: a story with heart. Heart is what made Hustle and Flow, Eight Mile, and Precious so good. And Patti Cake$ looks like a decent melange of those three films.
“In a coming-of-age story straight out of Jersey, an unlikely rapper finds her voice as a one-of-a-kind hip-hop legend in the making in PATTI CAKE$.
Set in gritty strip-mall suburbia, PATTI CAKE$ chronicles an underdog’s quest for fame and glory with humor, raw energy and some unforgettable beats.”
The film and its star, Danielle Macdonald just received a standing ovation at Cannes, so that’s a hopeful sign.
Watch the trailer for Patti Cake$
I’m excited to see a film with not only racial diversity, but also size diversity.
The only way I see a big girl on screen is if she’s shitting in a sink in a bridal store (Melissa McCarthy in Bridesmaids) or slipping in a pile of vomit (Rebel Wilson in Pitch Perfect).
I hope Patti Cake$ doesn’t have to degrade its obese main character too much before it lets her succeed.
Exception to the No-Blowing-Up Thing
OMG, this trailer! Raised on Bond (:pours out a shaken-not-stirred martini for Roger Moore), is this at long last the Lady-Bond movie I’ve always wanted?
Angelina Jolie has come the closest, but I can never quite separate her performance from her real-life mishegas.
Please don’t let me down, Charlize Theron! I’m a little iffy on her English accent, but those throat punches will get me to forgive much.
Interesting to see a movie set in 1989 Berlin. I remember so much from that time of world change, especially the music. Any excuse to listen to New Order.
Wednesday 7th of June 2017
Oh great! I put a couple of movies on my watchlist, thank you!
Monday 29th of May 2017
Wow! I was thinking the only movie I would see this summer was Pirates! Thanks for the great suggestions.
Monday 29th of May 2017
Hope it's helpful!
Monday 29th of May 2017
This is a great list, I'm glad to see Debra Winger back! I'm wondering if The Book of Henry is okay for a 10 an 12 year old.
Monday 29th of May 2017
Thanks for commenting, Valerie. It's PG-13, so it's right on the bubble for a kid a little younger.
Watch the trailer and see the themes touched on at the end. While it looks likes it will be an over-all positive move, there may be somethings you might not want a sensitive child to see.
But, hey, people are letting their 12-year-olds watch 13 Reasons Why, and this looks like nothing compared to that.
Sarah Harris | makesmewander.com
Monday 29th of May 2017
I was most curious about Henry and Tupac but you said the magic words: Keanu and Momoa! Great round up of films!
Saturday 27th of May 2017
I hadn't heard of a lot of these. The Lovers is one I want to see. I'm glad to see Deborah Winger back too!