There have been many exceptional movie releases this summer from “Barbie” to “Spider-Man: Across The Spiderverse.” However, with the numerous summer releases and their proximity to one another, some have fallen under the limelight. To highlight a few of those films, I curated a list of five must-see underrated movies of the summer:
1. “Theater Camp”
When thinking about an underrated movie of the summer, “Theater Camp” immediately comes to mind. The film follows Angelo (Ben Platt) and Rebecca-Diane (Molly Gordon), lifelong best friends and drama instructors at a rundown theater camp in upstate New York. When the camp’s owner Joan (Amy Sedaris) encounters a stroke, her clueless son Troy (Jimmy Tatro) takes over the property. Angelo, Rebecca-Diane, and production manager Glenn (Noah Galvin) band together with the staff and students to stage a masterpiece production and try to keep their beloved summer camp afloat. This mockumentary-style film didn’t get the attention it deserved as its release was too close to “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer’s” debuts. However, this film is full of many laugh-out-loud moments while simultaneously telling a heartwarming story about theater that is well worth the watch.
“Theater Camp” is currently showing in theaters.
It isn’t for certain why “Joyride” didn’t perform as well at the box office as it should have, but don’t let that stop you from watching this film because it is comedy gold. The movie centers around Audrey (Ashley Park), an Asian American woman who was adopted and raised by white parents. She goes on a business trip to China with her childhood best friend Lola (Sherry Cola) and Lola’s cousin Deadeye (Sabrina Wu). However, once Audrey meets up with her college roommate Kat (Stephanie Hsu) in China, her business trip turns into a chaotic adventure to find her birth mother. Although you would only expect this film to be a simple comedic and thrilling experience, there is more to the story than just jokes. The plotline discusses topics of identity and friendship that will leave viewers feeling moved.
“Joyride” is currently showing in theaters.
3. “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem”
There have been many different movie adaptations of the classic comic book series “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.” As a result, many people weren’t as excited when the new animated movie of the same title was announced. However, to much surprise, this movie was a knockout. This film centers around four sheltered mutant teen turtles who set out to win the hearts of New Yorkers and be accepted as normal teenagers. They team up with their new friend, April O’Neil (Ayo Edebiri), to help them take on a mysterious crime syndicate. But they soon get in over their heads when an army of mutants is unleashed upon them. With this film having actual teenagers voicing the beloved teenage mutant ninja turtles, it brought a refreshing spin on the comic book series that fans have yet to see in the movie adaptations. It highlighted the essence of being a teenager that brought the four characters to life in a funny, action-packed way that was also enjoyable to watch.
“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem” is currently showing in theaters.
Some might be shocked that “Elemental” is on this list, considering the Pixar movie has slowly become a successful hit. However, in the early days of its release, the film had few people watching the movie in theaters. This is partly because of the lack of marketing and public misconception of what the film was actually about. Many, including myself, thought that this film would be like “Zooptopia,” but with elements as the trailer hinted that it would be. However, that is not the case at all. The movie follows fire element Ember (Leah Lewis), who meets Wade (Mamoudou Athie), a water element and city inspector, after accidentally causing a water leak in the basement of her father’s bodega shop, The Fireplace. Wade reluctantly reports a violation of The Fireplace, which will cause the store to shut down. Wade and Ember join together to try to keep Ember’s father’s bodega from shutting down, which slowly sparks a relationship between the two. This movie touches on important topics such as interracial relationships, immigration and microaggressions in a heart-wrenching and must-watch story that beautifully captures the immigrant experience.
“Elemental” is currently showing in theaters.
5. “Past Lives”
Out of all the movies on this list, “Past Lives” is the most underrated, as the film didn’t receive much attention from moviegoers. But don’t let that fool you because this film was truly magnificent. This movie follows Nora (Greta Lee) and Hae Sung (Teo Yoo), two deeply connected childhood friends who were wrested apart after Nora’s family emigrated from South Korea to Canada. Decades later, they are reunited for one fateful week in New York, where they both reflect on their lives. This film was both beautifully written and filmed in a manner that immersed viewers in this emotional journey about love and fate. It will leave you pondering your own life experiences in a powerful way and just for that is a movie that should be added to your list.
“Past Lives” is currently showing in theaters.