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Summer 2017 Movie Preview: The 25 Films You Need to See

When the scorching summer temperatures threaten to turn you into a post-accident Alex Mack, what do you do? Do you simply accept that you’re doomed to be the lesser of two Wonder Twins? Do you legally change your name to “Sticky Jeff” since that’s basically what you are now? Or do you seek solace in the air-conditioned paradise of your local movie theater? Spoiler alert: going to the movies is the only acceptable answer, and thankfully there’s a metric ton of kickass films coming your way this summer. On today’s episode of The Dan Cave, we’re running down the must-see movies of summer 2017.

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Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 (May 5, 2017): Everyone’s favorite gang of intergalactic a-holes are back with some sweet throwback tunes, the continuing adventures of Baby Groot, and Kurt Russell as a sentient planet who definitely absolutely one hundred percent has a wiener. The sequel has some massive expectations to live up to, but then again it also has 100 percent more Sylvester Stallone than the first one and if the MCU was in desperate need of one thing, it was a Tango & Cash reunion.

Read our review!

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King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (May 12, 2017): Look, I was just as surprised as the next person when I read that Guy Ritchie was going to try his hand at bringing Arthurian legend to life on the big screen with Charlie Hunnam in the starring role. But the Knights of the Round Table seem uniquely suited for a modern action-adventure franchise, so my fingers are crossed that this film is a worthy heir to the throne.

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Alien: Covenant (May 19, 2017): Back before Ripley burst onto the scene, the Xenomorphs were but wee-no-morphs, which is not a cute term for a boner, and a human colonization mission went awry. Alien: Covenant is the story of that mission, which–spoiler alert–probably won’t end well for our intrepid crew. But considering our intrepid crew now contains Danny McBride as Space Kenny Powers, you’d better strap on your goddamn K-Swiss and get your butt to a theater for a chestburstin’ good time.

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Baywatch (May 25, 2017): Finally a film is putting the old maxim of “anything David Hasselhoff can do, The Rock can do better” to the test. The 1990s TV series gets a raunchy, R-rated reboot with a cast including Zac Efron, Priyanka Chopra, Alexandra Daddario, and more. Expect plenty of dick jokes and copious amounts of slow motion running.

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Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (May 25, 2017): Just when you thought it was safe to buy rum again, Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) returns as a walking cautionary tale against the demon liquor’s foul influence. This time, Jack Sparrow finds himself targeted by his old nemesis Captain Armando Salazar (Javier Bardem), an undead pirate hunter with a ghostly crew and a plan to murder every pirate on the open sea.

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War Machine (May 26, 2017): No, this isn’t the Don Cheadle solo Marvel movie you’ve been waiting for; rather, this is Australian writer-director David Michôd’s absurdist war dramedy about Brad Pitt as a vainglorious American general in Afghanistan who gets caught up in a journalistic exposé.

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Wonder Woman (June 2): After kicking ass, taking names, and occasionally using some Themiscyran chiroprachty on Maxwell Lord for the past 75 years, it’s about time that Wonder Woman gets her own feature film. Diana of Themiscyra is one of the best parts of the DCEU, and she’s taking us back to Dubya Dubya One for what looks like it’s going to be a brutal battle against the god of war himself, Ares. Come for the bullet-deflecting and leg-sweeping, but stay for the invisible jet. Seriously, though, where is it? I need to see this damn jet.

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The Hero (June 9): If you want to know why Sam Elliott is going to win the Academy Award for Best Actor next February, then you need to see this movie. If you wondered what Sam Elliott would be like on molly, then you need to see this movie. If you need to see Nick Offerman as a giggling, silent movie-obsessed pot dealer, then you need to see this movie. Basically, you just need to see this movie about an aging western star-turned-voiceover actor. It’s that damn good.

Read our review!

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The Mummy (June 9): While this movie may lack the Brendan Fraser many Egyptologists believe is required for a successful Mummy film, The Mummy does have a secret ingredient that can save otherwise ill-advised action films: Tom Cruise. This movie has Tom Cruise running! Tom Cruise screaming! Tom Cruise coming back from the dead! And it has Sofia Boutella, the amazing sword-legs girl from Kingsman, as the Mummy herself. Will the Rock be in the post-credits sequence for a Scorpion King cameo? Probably not, but not all dreams were meant to come true I guess.

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Rough Night (June 16): Like most bachelorette parties in Miami, the one at the center of Rough Night begins with a dead male stripper, tons of illegal drugs, and a hilarious ensemble cast including Scarlett Johansson, Kate McKinnon, Jillian Bell, Illana Glazer, and Zoe Kravitz. Okay, maybe I don’t know much about Miami bachelorette parties, but I do know that this looks like it will be the Bridesmaids of movies that involve dead strippers, which is to say very funny indeed.

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Transformers: The Last Knight (June 23): Finally, the Transformers franchise has reached the point where all fandoms converge. It has everything: giant robot fights, King Arthur, Nazis, and possibly Stanley Tucci playing Merlin. That’s right, folks, THE TOOCH as the greatest wizard of all time. It also has the least believable thing of all time: Mark Wahlberg as a scientist. Still. Most importantly, the movie wound up finding a home for Freya, a rescue pup dubbed Britain’s loneliest dog, who was rejected by 18,000 potential owners before landing a role and a forever home as part of the movie’s production. So yeah, go ahead and shit on Michael Bay all you want, but look at this sweet angel and look at her being a goddamn movie star.

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The Big Sick: Easily one of the best rom-coms of the last decade and one of the best films of the year, The Big Sick tells the story of the real-life courtship of comedian Kumail Nanjiani and writer Emily V. Gordon, and the life-threatening illness that nearly tore them apart. Directed by Michael Showalter, it manages to pull at your heartstrings and send you into fits of uncontrollable laughter in equal measure. Make sure you don’t miss it.

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Baby Driver (June 28): If you only see one film about a getaway driver suffering from tinnitus this summer, make it Baby Driver. Edgar Wright’s musical masterpiece feels like a throwback to heist movies of yesteryear but infused with his unique sense of humor. Boasting the best soundtrack in ages, too, Baby Driver deserves a parking spot in your heart. Shitty jokes aside, this movie is a hell of a lot of fun and features some of the best stunt driving in recent memory. And yes I saw The Fate of the Furious.

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Okja (June 28): A sort of twisted, surreal South Korean spin on Free Willy, Bong Joon Ho’s Okja is the story of a young woman (An Seo Hyun) who sets out to rescue Okja, a massive creature and her longtime friend, from New York City, where it is being exploited for profit by the Mirando Corporation and its image-obsessed CEO (Tilda Swinton).

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Spider-Man: Homecoming (July 7): Either my Spidey-Sense is tingling or I need to see a doctor, but I’ve got a feeling that Spider-Man: Homecoming is going to blow me away. Or at the very least, it’ll be really enjoyable. Your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man swings back into theaters for his third iteration in 15 years, with Michael Keaton as Vulture, a guest appearance by Tony Stark himself, and us finally not having to see poor sweet Uncle Ben die on camera. Which is great news for everyone but Stan Lee, who once famously said, “I invented Spider-Man…just to take his uncle away again and again. Excelsior!”

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War for the Planet of the Apes (July 14): The fact that the new generation of Planet of the Apes movies are actually really, really good is straight up bananas. But the only monkey business you’ll find in this movie is an increasingly dystopian world in which the last vestiges of humanity must band together against an increasingly intelligent army of apes. To be fair, we did kind of draw first blood, but also apes are scary as hell up close. And they fling their poo at you! And if I know Woody Harrelson, the villain of this movie, he HATES having poo flung at him.

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Dunkirk (July 21): This summer, have some Funkirk with Christopher Nolan, short-hair Harry Styles, and the cast of Dunkirk, a sweeping World War II drama about the Battle of Dunkirk, in which more than 330,000 Allied soldiers managed to evacuate from the beaches of Dunkirk, France after being cut off by the German army. And honestly, is there any better way to experience the brutality and horrors of war than on IMAX as envisioned by Christopher Nolan and shot by Hoyte van Hoytema? If there is, I don’t want to know because that sounds way too intense man.

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Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (July 21): The comic that Star Wars shamelessly stole from and that The Fifth Element was deeply influenced by is now getting a major motion picture adaptation from the director of The Fifth Element, Luc Besson. This movie about two spacetime cops, Valerian and Laureline, played by Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevingne, looks gloriously weird with dozens of alien species, Ethan Hawke as a creepy cabaret pimp, and a tiny critter that can poop out copies of whatever it eats. Don’t you wish that YOUR butt could do that? The answer is yes, we all wish that. But the only way to make that dream come true is to watch Luc Besson’s gonzo vision of it in Valerian this summer.

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Atomic Blonde (July 28): Imagine that if instead of Keanu Reeves playing a bereaved dog owner/the world’s deadliest hitman in John Wick, it was Charlize Theron in the role as a brutal blonde assassin who turned all her opponents into a fine, red mist? Well, you don’t have to imagine because not only do we get John Wick with Keanu, but Atomic Blonde with Charlize Theron as well. The movie stars Theron as an elite MI-6 agent sent to Berlin on an impossible mission, which is a bit confusing because we know that nothing is impossible for Theron after seeing her in Mad Max: Fury Road. AND it’s directed by John Wick co-director and Deadpool 2 director David Leitch, so those three films will basically be the Ghosts of Ass-kicksmas Past, Present, and Future.

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Brigsby Bear (July 28): The best movie you’ll ever see about a grown man obsessed with an animatronic bear, Brigsby Bear is a heartwarming, hilarious story about overcoming trauma through the power of friendship and storytelling. What seems like it might be a deeply strange story of doomsday cults and children’s television turns out to be profoundly cathartic and a showcase of Kyle Mooney’s emotional range. Plus it’s got Mark Hamill in multiple roles, which is ALWAYS a good thing.

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Detroit (August 4, 2017): In a time where racial tensions and police violence weigh heavy on the sociopolitical climate, Kathryn Bigelow’s Detroit feels particularly timely. Set during the 5-day-long civil unrest that rocked Detroit in the summero f 1967, Detroit centers around the infamous Algiers Motel Incident which led to the deaths of three black men and the brutal beatings of nine others–two white women and seven black men–by members of the police and the national guard. The film boasts an exceptionally talented cast including John Boyega, Jacob Latimore, Will Poulter, and Anthony Mackie.

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Ingrid Goes West (August 4, 2017): This movie is what happens when you put The Talented Mr. Ripley and Instagram in a blender. It’s a seriously funny, deeply unnerving thriller about a lonely young woman (Aubrey Plaza) who moves across the country to become best friends with the lifestyle blogger (Elizabeth Olsen) with whom she is obsessed.

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The Dark Tower (August 4): Look, if I tried to explain The Dark Tower to you here, I’d wind up with a migraine and you would be equally as confused so just trust me when I saw you’re going to want to see Idris Elba as Roland the Gunslinger and Matthew McConaughey looking like a straight-up anime villain in this sprawling dark fantasy western from the mind of Stephen King. And unlike many things from the mind of Stephen King, this one wasn’t written by a sentient pile of cocaine. That was Maximum Overdrive and holy smokes what a bonkers movie that is.

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Death Note (August 25, 2017): Come for the creepy-cool story of a high school student (Nat Wolff) who finds a supernatural notebook that allows him to murder anyone whose name he writes inside of it, stay for the necessary dialogue about whitewashing in Hollywood! The Adam Wingard-directed Death Note adapts the mega-popular anime/manga series for American audiences, and makes quite possibly the single most inspired casting choice of the year: Willem Dafoe as Ryuk, a terrifying god of death with a penchant for eating apples.

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Terminator 2: Judgement Day 3D (August 25, 2017): Come with me if you want to live…in a world where you can see Terminator 2: Judgment Day on the big screen in 3D in 2017. Fortunately, this is that world and you’re gonna get to do exactly that this summer.

What movies are you most excited to see this summer? What would you add to this list? Let us know in the comments below!

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Dan Casey is the senior editor of Nerdist and the author of books about Star Wars and the Avengers. Follow him on Twitter and ask him about all things TV (@Osteoferocious).

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