The Five: Summer Films That Deserved More Love

Now that we’re inching our way closer to September (and the beginning of another school year – boo!), it’s time for everyone to start churning out their summer-related movie lists, examining which films got it right, which films got it wrong, and which films, well, didn’t really get it at all. One of the things I’m most interested in exploring, though, is which summer films deserved more love. Which great films did you probably miss in theaters because they were sandwiched between two giant blockbusters? Here are five to get you started – look out for their arrival on DVD/Blu-ray later this year and in 2011.

'Cyrus'1.       Cyrus – Directed by Jay and Mark Duplass, Cyrus sort of faded into the background when it arrived in theaters right smack in the middle of the summer season. Fox Searchlight tried desperately to promote it, but the blockbusters simply overshadowed its down-to-earth humor and relatable situational comedy. In the film, John C. Reilly stars as an awkward, lonely divorcee who meets the girl of his dreams (Marisa Tomei) at a party and then finds his relationship with her in turmoil after she introduces him to her bizarre, overprotective son (Jonah Hill).
2.       Splice – The creature features returned to form this year, with both Splice and Piranha 3D serving up the sort of uncomfortable, gory awesomeness that audiences have been craving after a slew of mindless PG-13-rated Hollywood horror remakes. While Piranha 3D will make enough to sequelize, Splice never did find its footing after critics showered it with rave reviews following its Sundance premiere. Part of this was due to the studio trying to turn it into something huge right off the bat instead of taking their time with the release strategy, though the film – which follows a couple of scientists who genetically splice together the DNA of several animals including a human and create a creature that’s … interesting, to say the least – should find an audience on DVD and hopefully turn into the cult film it deserves to be.
'Micmacs'3.       Micmacs – The latest from famed director Jean-Pierre Jeunet (Amelie) is just as whimsical and hilarious as some of his previous efforts. The film, which follows a ragtag group of idiots who stage a plot to take down two big weapon’s manufacturer’s, is like a fantastical version of Ocean’s 11, but with the cool suits replaced by poorly dressed misfits who you can’t help but adore.
4.       Winter’s Bone The big winner at this year’s Sundance Film Festival has actually turned out to be one of the more praised films of the year, not to mention the fact that it has also helped launch the career of one Jennifer Lawrence, who’ll be starring in X-Men: First Class in 2011. The story of a mountain girl who tries to keep her family together while attempting to track down her drug-dealing father will definitely wind up on more than a few end-of-year best-of lists, and may even have a shot at the Oscars. Definitely catch it when you can to impress those friends who’ve never heard of it come awards time.
'Scott Pilgrim vs. the World'5.       Scott Pilgrim vs. the World – The film literally owned San Diego Comic-Con and was a monster hit with critics and fanboys who grew up with old-school video games, but one of this summer’s most entertaining films failed to find an audience because moviegoers – as well as the movie marketing – just didn’t “get” the film. Starring Michael Cera as an awkward geek musician who must defeat seven evil ex-boyfriends in order to win over the girl of his dreams, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World was so many different things rolled into one package that general audiences were too confused (and somewhat afraid) to dive in. If you missed this one in theaters because it just didn’t seem like your cup of tea, definitely give it a shot on DVD/Blu-ray – it’s so totally worth it.
Do you recommend any summer films that flew under the radar and deserved way more love than they received?
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