Reel Talk: Best movies of the summer


Jillian Leiby, JagWire opinions editor

Hello. You may remember from my incredibly popular blog Feminist’s Forum last year. While I have decided to move on to a more entertainment themed blog now, this blog will still have some feminist undertones. Enjoy.

Last January, I turned seventeen. The only thing this really meant was that I could finally see all movies (specifically R-rated ones) by myself. As a girl that seems look like a twelve-year-old, it’s nice to hand my ID to the ticket taker with confidence. This summer, however, I was only carded twice, and for the same movie at the same time. But, whatever, I still had a lot of fun seeing a ton of movies, good or bad. Here are a few of my favorites.

“Mad Max: Fury Road”

Possibly the greatest action movie in the history of action movies. Maybe the greatest action movie of the summer. Definitely my favorite movie (action or not) of the year. I saw this movie five times in theaters. It was that good. While Tom Hardy may play the eponymous Max, it is Charlize Theron who steals the show as Imperator Furiosa, a tough, vulnerable and, most of all, capable action heroine. It was so incredibly refreshing to watch a visually appealing action movie filled with well-written female characters. It’s hardly seen in movies, even today.

“Me And Earl And The Dying Girl”

An inventive coming-of-age film, “Me And Earl And The Dying Girl” is hilarious and sad, a great showcase for its young actors. What I found most interesting about this film, however, was the direction. Director Alejandro Gomez-Rejon (who did some funky directing on American Horror Story) takes risks and tries new things (including a long 360 degree tracking shot in the heartbreaking final act) something I find lacking from veteran directors. Good direction can take the audience on an incredibly fun roller coaster and Gomez-Rejon succeeds.


Finally, a Melissa McCarthy comedy that uses its lead actress in a nice and creative way. Instead of an unimaginative comedy that she had done before (“Tammy,” “Identity Thief”), McCarthy stuns in a hilarious spy comedy that proves that size really doesn’t matter. A game ensemble cast includes Jude Law, Jason Statham (astonishingly funny as a parody version of himself in every other action movie) and Rose Byrne. Director Paul Feig (“Bridesmaids,” “The Heat,” the upcoming “Ghostbusters” reboot) finally shows Hollywood how to use Melissa McCarthy in a role that truly shows off her comedic genius.


I have divisive feelings about this one. On one hand, it is a harmless romantic comedy about a relatively-real white girl in New York City. Some jokes land and others do not, but, at times, “Trainwreck” really shows itself to have a heart. On the other hand, the comedy is littered with racist jokes (that Lebron James cannot save), unhealthy sex lives and a final act that drags and misses its message. Still, I find this film (directed by Judd Apatow and written by star Amy Schumer) endearingly raunchy and incredibly funny at times. And James is a scene-stealer, proving that he may have a career after all this basketball stuff ends.

“Inside Out”

An incredible achievement by Pixar, this animated film managed to charm audiences, young and old. I felt like an emotional roller coaster watching this, but that’s what the film aimed to do. With Amy Poehler, Mindy Kaling and Bill Hader voicing such characters as Joy, Disgust and Fear that show up in everyone’s head. Come for the imaginative plot, stay for Sadness played by Phyllis Smith (“The Office”) in a fantastic voice performance.

So there are my favorites from the summer. There are many more films that I enjoyed and left out. There are also many bad movies that came out of this summer, but I like to remain positive the first week.

Senior Jillian Leiby is an avid moviegoer, enjoying genres from action to independent. She likes spending an afternoon in a dark, air-conditioned movie theater, eating popcorn and drinking soda.


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