Summertime means movies galore, and this July was no exception. And while the writers here at Sequential Planet watched a number of flicks both old and new, in this list we’ll be looking specifically at some of their favorites. If you’re going to see any movie this July, why don’t you make it one of these?
Chris G – Crawl (2019)
Florida. Alligators. A category 5 hurricane. These were the ingredients chosen to make the perfect summer thriller. Crawl is the surprise hit this month to me, and while I’d say I watched objectively better movies these past 31 days (shoutout to the 1995 Lion King) this was hands-down the best theater experience I had in July and, quite possibly, this year. Crawl follows UF swimmer Haley and her father Dave trying to ride out a category 5 hurricane in their old Florida home. If the abominable weather wasn’t enough, Haley and Dave are also trapped in the crawlspace under the house (hence the film’s title) by alligators. Oh yeah, and rainwater is causing the crawlspace to flood. The plot is simple, the dialogue is atrocious, and the premise is ridiculous; despite all of these factors, Crawl manages to deliver a surprisingly tense experience that delivers on everything you’d want in a Florida-based disaster film. The character performances sell the movie, and the action is satisfying. Highly recommend you see this one with a date or friends. It’s a film meant to be enjoyed with others.
Chris T – Breaking Away (1979)
This isn’t the best movie I have seen this month (see my review on Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood). However, I have a little gem that I want to focus on for the month of July. Breaking Away was a movie released in 1979 directed by Peter Yates and starring a packed cast of Dennis Christopher, Dennis Quaid, Daniel Stern, Jackie Earle Haley, and a magnificent performance from Paul Dooley. The nuts and bolts of this story are simple: teenagers find themselves wondering about the rest of their lives as they are stuck between high school and what is next. For some, it could be college and for others, it could be working in the local stone quarry. Then there is Dave, Mike, Cyril, and Moocher who haven’t quite figured out their future, but Bloomington, Indiana isn’t a resting place for everyone. The best part of this film is the dynamic of blue-collar families versus the upper-class college attendees and elitist attitudes around the campus area. The film’s finale is set against the very real Little 500 bicycle race where the town has sponsored a four-man team to represent them among the many other corporate-sponsored teams in the race. It is a four-man team, so guess what four individuals the city is entering? Yep! Breaking Away is more than a comedy, it struck me as a very real struggle of the 70s in a blue-collar town. It ends up having heart and a create message behind it and if nothing else, you get to see some young actors starting their careers, and as I said earlier, Paul Dooley as Dave’s Dad is worth the price of admission.
Ryan – Midsommar (2019)
Midsommar isn’t merely the best film I’ve seen this month, it’s the best film I’ve seen so far this year. It’s an insane exploration of grief and loss in a horrific plot centering around a cult in Sweden, one that has more to it than meets the eye. Ari Aster’s sophomore film, it’s beautifully shot and beautifully unsettling. The cast helps with this of course, with Florence Pugh giving the performance of her career, somehow surpassing her performance earlier this year in Fighting With My Family. She portrays Dani, who has recently experienced a murder-suicide caused by her own sister. The film itself is about her suffering and trying to come to grips with the pain, while there’s an actual insane cult around her doing the most disturbing stuff you can imagine during one of their special festivals. I’m not kidding when I say I was left in shock for minutes after the film actually ended. So if you’ve not seen Midsommar yet, you should get up right now, find a screening and see it because it must be seen to be believed.
Steven – Avengers: Endgame (2019)
I see at least one movie a week in theaters, usually a new release, or something I haven’t had a chance to see yet. Of all the movies I’ve seen in July (I don’t keep track of them) I haven’t had a better experience than Avengers: Endgame. It’s kind of cheating a bit since Endgame came out three months ago but it’s still in theaters, so it totally counts. Everyone (and their mom) has seen the movie, so I don’t think I need to avoid spoilers, but the emotion behind this movie just gets me. Over 10 years we’ve had 23 movies in the MCU all building up to the Endgame. I’ve literally grown up with these characters, and the actors that portray them. I’ve seen it twice this month, and around thirteen times total, and it gets me every single time. To see this final payoff is one thing, even if it had been bad I think I would’ve enjoyed it. But to see a movie this big actually work? We won’t see a movie this big for a long time, if ever.