Catch up on the summer’s hottest films

If you missed out on any summer flicks, be sure to catch up with these five essentials.

Illustration by Thecla Li/ THE CHIMES

Chris Charpentier, Freelance Writer

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As the decade comes to a close, you would not expect many films to become staples of the decade. However, in a year where remakes, reboots and sequels have flooded Hollywood, it is important that new and upcoming filmmakers continue making new and original content that will be remembered for years to come. From continuing franchises to directorial debuts, this summer showed that even in the hottest time of the year, you can sit, cool down and relax to watch fantastic films. 

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

As one of the most anticipated films of the summer, legendary director Quentin Tarantino’s ninth film brings unique innovation. Unlike the rest of his filmography, slow, yet meaningful “Once Upon a Time” explores 1960s Hollywood, the actor lifestyle and the culture that unites them. Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt impressively deliver as DiCaprio’s washed-up actor role and Pitt’s stuntman role. Elegant and emotionally resonant, the film’s aesthetic draws viewers in from start to finish.

The Farewell

This past year’s Sundance Film Festival showcased many boundary-pushing and culturally-significant films. “The Farewell” is among the most popular, especially now that it officially released in theaters across the country. Starring Awkwafina, from “Crazy Rich Asians,” the film journeys through her character’s odd family situation as they reunite for a fake wedding in order to say goodbye to their dying grandmother. Its unique premise is strengthened by an eclectic cast, key familial themes and the interesting bonds formed between family members.

Spider-Man: Far From Home

For big studio blockbusters, this summer was very much a letdown. From lackluster remakes like “The Lion King” and “Aladdin” to big franchise flops like “X-Men: Dark Phoenix” and “Men in Black: International,” blockbuster fans may have been convinced that nothing would satisfy. Fortunately, “Spider-Man: Far From Home” left many pleasantly surprised. 

Following “Spider-Man: Homecoming” and “Avengers: Endgame,” “Far From Home” had a lot riding on its shoulders. Despite the impossible odds, the film was quite possibly one of Marvel’s best. From Tom Holland’s charismatic portrayal of Peter Parker to his villain’s wittiness, the film displays some of Marvel’s most notable arcs. Although it is unlikely there will be a follow-up, thanks to Disney and Sony’s partnership falling through, the pair concluded this story on an incredibly high note.

Midsommar

Viewers familiar with last year’s breakout horror hit, “Hereditary,” know that the director Ari Aster should be kept on their radar. This year, he followed it up with an even stranger film. While many consider Midsommar a horror film in the daylight, what really makes this film stand out is its exploration of cultish environments and toxic relationships. Its visuals and slow pace present dreamy, euphoric landscapes, adding to the intensity of every scene. Its ending, in particular, remains one of the most well-crafted, visually stunning and mind-boggling sequences of the decade. Not to mention, the film is more comical than expected. Its dark humor might put off some, but those who are willing to push through will appreciate its wit.

Booksmart

In a time where diversity and representation have become increasingly more important in the entertainment industry, “Booksmart” will be remembered as an important staple in female representation. Similar to the comedy “Superbad,” the film follows two girls who spent their entire time in high school striving to get into the best colleges. When they find out their other classmates who slacked off also got into those colleges, they set out on a night of partying in order to make up for all the time they missed. 

The cast’s chemistry and natural dynamic make viewers wonder if they were even acting. Through Olivia Wilde’s fantastic directorship, the film depicts a timely message of growing up and transitioning into the real world.