87° Good Afternoon
87° Good Afternoon

Best, worst movies of summer 2016

How’s your summer been? Hot, gross and miserable? You should go the movies more often.
Aside from air-conditioning, there’s another bonus to movie theaters this summer: good movies. If you doubt that — and who could blame you? — well, you’re not alone. Ticket sales so far are down 21 percent compared to last summer, according to BoxOfficeMojo. (Keep in mind Hollywood’s summer doesn’t “officially” end until Labor Day.) Apparently not even the heat dome was enough to drive skeptical moviegoers to theaters.

That’s too bad given all the smart comedies, great kids’ movies and potentially crowd-pleasing art-house titles that have hit screens this summer. Here’s a look at the ones you might have missed, ones you could still chill out to and a few to avoid.

"The Secret Life of Pets": Best non-Disney animation

Photo Credit: Illumination Entertainment / Universal Pictures

"The Secret Life of Pets" The story of a terrier and a shaggy mutt (voices of Louis C.K. and Eric Stonestreet) who get lost on the streets of Manhattan, this animated film from Illumination Entertainment — a studio responsible for loud comedies like “Minions” — turned out to be clever, charming and very sweet. Another title to consider: Sony Pictures’ “Angry Birds,” a surprisingly not-bad adaptation of the popular video game.

​"Weiner": Best summer documentary

BIGGEST SURPRISEBAD MOMS A career-woman comedy from the
Photo Credit: Sundance Select

"Weiner" This all-access account of Anthony Weiner’s disastrous run for New York City mayor is one of the best political documentaries ever made. Viewed another way, it’s also a great summer comedy, full of outrageous characters, R-rated humor and sitcom-style idiocy. And if Weiner has his way — he’s still out there hogging the spotlight — maybe there’ll be a sequel.

"Bad Moms": Biggest surprise

BIGGEST LETDOWNGHOSTBUSTERS Cheers greeted the news that this
Photo Credit: Styx Productions/Michele K. Short

"Bad Moms" A career-woman comedy from the male writers of “The Hangover” seemed sure to be a tone-deaf disaster. Instead, “Bad Moms” treats its three heroines (Mila Kunis, Kathryn Hahn and Kristen Bell) with respect and taps into the dissatisfaction felt by working mothers everywhere. Hahn steals the show as Carla, an oversexed slob; Christina Applegate, as a PTA queen bee, is at her best in years. Men take the brunt of the humor — and that’s one reason they ought to see it.

"Ghostbusters": Biggest letdown

OVERLOOKED GEMA BIGGER SPLASH Luca Guadagnino’s stylish European
Photo Credit: Columbia Pictures/Hopper Stone

"Ghostbusters" Cheers greeted the news that this female-led reboot was in production. Then came an internet backlash from fans of the 1984 original. Misogynist trolls blasted the trailer. When the movie finally came out — well, it just wasn’t very good. Despite the combined talents of Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones, the jokes fell flat and the story seemed like a rehash. Here’s hoping “Ghostbusters” doesn’t put a chill on future female-fronted comedies.

"A Bigger Splash": Overlooked gem

BEST TRENDCOMEDIES They’re funny again! It began in
Photo Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures/Jack English

"A Bigger Splash" Luca Guadagnino’s stylish European drama is clearly an art-house movie — strange, splintered and slightly perverse — but come on: Don’t you want to see Tilda Swinton as a Bowie-esque rock star and Ralph Fiennes as her bisexual lover-manager? They’re both fantastic (particularly Fiennes, who wigs out to The Rolling Stones’ “Emotional Rescue”), and the movie’s steamy eroticism is perfect for the season.

“Sausage Party” and more comedies: Best trend

WORST OVERALLSUICIDE SQUAD Maybe this superhero movie is
Photo Credit: Sony Pictures

Comedies They’re funny again! It began in June with “Central Intelligence,” a spy farce that counter-cast Dwayne Johnson as a dork and Kevin Hart as the cool dude. July’s “Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates” coasted nicely on its talented cast (notably Adam Devine, Aubrey Plaza and a scene-stealing Alice Wetterlund). Finally, this month’s animated spoof “Sausage Party” (pictured) gave Pixar the R-rated treatment. That’s a comedy trifecta you don’t typically see in these dog days.

“Hunt for the Wilderpeople," more: Best coming of age movies

Photo Credit: The Orchard

For tweens there was “Hunt for the Wilderpeople,” a wonderfully quirky Kiwi production about a chubby foster kid (Julian Dennison, left) and a grouchy bushman (Sam Neill, terrific) who leave civilization behind. For adults there’s “Indignation,” a deep-reaching adaptation of Philip Roth’s novel about a college freshman (Logan Lerman) grappling with sex, death and religion in 1951. Both were smart, honest and non-pandering — a rarity for movies about this age group.


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