The Best and Worst Summer Films of 2017

Aug 12, 2017

Summertime is peak season for moviegoers. Studios tend to release blockbusters, and market their films toward the younger audiences who are mostly out of school.

This summer saw the release of movies like Wonder Woman, Valerian, Dunkirk, Baby Driver, and Girls Trip. But as nationally syndicated radio host and resident film review Ryan Jay notes, some films worked better than others:

Top Films:

A Cure For Wellness - "It's a little slow and deliberate but it's like the kind of movie that stays with you and gets under your skin and makes you a little uncomfortable as you try to go to sleep at night. Not a classic horror but I loved it. I don't know why, but it really spoke to me."

Baby Driver - "It's one of my top ten favorite movies of the year...What I loved most about it is it's the first movie since Whiplash that I found to be able to compare to it in the sense that it was edited musically with a rhythm to it and a great musicality to everything they were doing in the film....Every aspect of that movie is just amazing."

Atomic Blonde - "One of the things that I really liked about it is, it opens, and you see how battered (Charlize Theron's character) is and you don't know why. And then throughout the film you see how tough she is and how she earned those scars and bruises throughout the film and it's pretty cool." 

Jay says that the rise of strong female characters as well as formidable women behind the screen producing and directing these films (i.e. Wonder Woman) is a positive indicator of the changing tide of movies to come. He notes that Atomic Blonde has been referred to as "a female James Bond spy film."

READ: DC Strikes the Magic Formula With 'Wonder Woman'

"How would we feel about actually having a female James Bond? Why not?" asks Ryan. "Look at how amazing Charlize Theron is (in Atomic Blonde), or we're going to be seeing Alicia Vikander in the new remake of Tomb Raider."

Get Out - "I loved it...There a really special quality to Get Out that kind of can't be replicated, so (Jordan Peele) sort of struck gold with that movie and I'm glad it did so well."

Dunkirk - "I think I'm going to credit Dunkirk as the film that has changed my opinion about war movies as a genre...It's a real celebration of humanity coming together for sort of a happy ending in a war going above and beyond."

Although it didn't quite fit the summer release category, Beauty and the Beast was a major success. It made more than $500 million just in the US alone, but the monetary success is just the tip of the iceberg according to Jay.

"It's really incredible to see what (Disney) can do with their classic animated films, adapt them to Broadway, see how successful they are with live actors on stage, then re-adapt them as a live action film...It's remarkable, and deservedly so. I also love what it does for musicals because I want there to be more than one or two movie musicals a year."

Film Flops:

A Ghost Story - "I find it disturbing in the sense that I think it was the opposite of entertaining. There was some very still moments that we have to wonder if two actors...are doing the most mundane of tasks, are they even acting? That's an interesting thought or question to arise while watching a movie."

Valerian - "It was supposed to be the next Avatar and it did not do well. It goes to show you that it's not enough just to be pretty. You have to have some substance, you have to have some spirit there...There was a lack of chemistry, the screen play had some problems and there was a cheesiness to it that just totally disconnected the audience."

War for the Planet of the Apes - "The special effects are incredibly well done, but again, there's that lack of connection with story and drawing you in to the point of caring and so I think that's why this film didn't do that well."

As the fall movie season fast approaches, Jay's top must-see films include It, Kingsman: The Golden Circle, and as a bonus series release - Stranger Things (season 2).

"(The trailer) blew me away, I literally got the chills watching that."