Most Touching Summer Movies

To paraphrase Sebastian from Disney’s The Little Mermaid: “the human world is a mess” and that statement perfectly explains the summer 2019 movie season in a multitude of ways. Sure, we got what we wanted with the continuation of thrilling franchises, further exploitation of nostalgia, and a multitude of post-movie viewing memes. But minus those elements, this summer’s cinematic releases were a mixed bag.

Yet there was one aspect that was a positive surprise – the kind that birthed a theme for this summer that came out of nowhere. From timid characters exploring their potential futures, to masculine archetypes unbuttoning their sharp dressed hearts, 2019 slowly became the summer in which unfiltered emotions ran wild. And with summer drawing to a close, it’s about time we reflect on these explorations into a new soul-stirring frontier. This was the summer of…feelings.

This article includes some spoilers for the movies included.

Blinded by the Light Review

Blinded by the Light

Directed by Bend It Like Beckham’s Gurinder Chadha, Blinded by the Light (inspired by the life of journalist Sarfraz Manzoor) tells the story of a Pakistani teenager named Javed (played by Viveik Kalra) who is living in the intense climate of 1987 England. With a mixture of racism, economic heartbreak and other intense struggles, Javed wishes to find a way to discover what future he could have outside of the one his father believes to be his destiny. Thankfully when our lead discovers the magic of Bruce Springsteen’s music, the key to such knowledge and confidence is unlocked.

With his lyrics, Javed finally feels “seen” in a landscape that blocks him out of society constantly, and transforms him into the young man he was meant to be. But perhaps the greatest aspect that comes from Javed’s new inspirational aid has nothing to do with his new sense of swagger towards his life, love, and his friendships – instead, the best gift that comes from Bruce’s music is an ability for Javed to develop his true adult identity, one that he never would be able to find amidst the shadow of both his family and the racist climate he was living under.

And though not all of the results of Bruce’s influence on Javed’s life are perfectly cheery, the assurance he gains in being able to draw a line in the sand of where he wants his life to go is a beautiful sight to behold. With a showcase of tears, strength, and complete heart tugging vulnerability, Javed ripping the emotional curtain away from the strict by-the-books lifestyle of his father was a visual, and soul-stirring, cinematic feast that shouldn’t be forgotten.

 yesterday lyric video

Yesterday

In this borderline Twilight Zone inspired tale, Danny Boyle’s Yesterday tells the story of a musician named Jack Malick (Himesh Patel), who during a sudden worldwide power outage gets hit by a bus. As he wakes up, everything appears to be normal, except for a few important details: Coca-Cola, cigarettes and The Beatles (the latter being the film’s main concern) never existed. This puts Jack in a unique situation, since he is the only person (that he is aware of) that remembers the iconic British band – making him essentially the equivalent of the film’s musical messiah.

Yet in the midst of this interesting concept is a much more conventional tale – one that when casting Patel opposite Lily James doesn’t make a ton of sense. Jack and his childhood best bud Ellie (James) have been close since their school days, but Jack is incredibly clueless, not at all realizing that Ellie has loved him all this time (and how you could do such a thing when Lily James’ big beautiful eyes are looking at you is beyond me.) Yet with Jack’s obsessive dreams of fame and fortune, he loses sight of the greatest thing in his life – and no, it isn’t the lyrics to “Yellow Submarine”.

Using the music of The Beatles to tell a story of a down-on-his-luck, fame-seeking jerk is a nice yet somewhat messy idea. John, Paul, Ringo and George’s tunes were filled with unfiltered emotions across the board, and throughout the course of the film Jack slowly begins to realize that his closed-off and vein ways aren’t going to let him truly succeed in life – the way that isn’t defined by how many records you sell or stadiums you fill. It’s a bumpy road for him, and the audience, to get there but the final destination is (mostly) worth the trip.

hobbs and shaw review 

Hobbs and Shaw

With their giant pecks, well-trimmed suits, and mean glares, the leads in Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw do not at all seem like an emotional pair. But like with any great action flick, there has to be some heart involved, and in keeping with the Fast & the Furious brand, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Jason Statham keep family right at the gooey center of this summer 2019 flick.

The plot is all over the place in this one – with a typical virus like weapon as the film’s main conflict. But the person who has said virus inside of her is non-other than Deckard Shaw’s (Statham) sister – the kick butt, best part of the entire movie, Hattie Shaw (played by Vanessa Kirby) – making Deckard’s usual lack of concerns for the fate of the world elevated to a much higher level. The clock on his sister’s life is close to striking midnight, and if it happens, she has a much worse fate than turning into a pumpkin.

At the same time, Luke Hobbs (Johnson) is going through his own emotional journey throughout the film’s 135-minute running time. Not only does he (very randomly) have a romantic spark with Hattie, but he’s grown to have a huge disconnect with his family, specifically his estranged brother Jonah. In order to accomplish their task of saving the world, Hobbs has to burry his pride and asks Jonah for his help. And with a bit of a push from Hobbs’ mother, their entire family comes together to save the day.

Sure, none of the acting nor emotions on display here are Academy Award winning by any means nor totally new to the Fast franchise, but the fact that a giant masculine summer blockbuster like Hobbs and Shaw can have not one but two male macho male leads shed their tough guy personas to honor and wear their hearts on their sleeve, in the dumbest of ways, is something to weirdly cherish.

Avengers Endgame Deleted Scene

Avengers: Endgame

Underneath the suits, spandex, and long Asgardian locks, Avengers: Endgame is more than just the most success movie of all time, but is easily one of (if not the) most emotional movies to come out of 2019’s summer slate. From seeing the emotional conclusion to decade long character arcs, to witnessing the evolution of a franchise known for masculine, powerful images to become the world’s most accessible soap opera – tissues were certainly needed throughout this incredible cinematic experience.

But even from just watching this one installment in this 20-plus movie long series, its impossible to not appreciate the raw emotions on screen that elevate the movie from just any sort of typical blockbuster, but to something that touches even the most nitpicky and detached of filmgoers.

From Thor’s journey from depressed failure to a still worthy hero, Cap’s path through the tunnels of time to find his happy ending, Nebula’s road to her own personal redemption, Natasha and Clint’s struggles, and of course “I Love You, 3000” – the list truly is as endless as the feelings we have towards these memorable characters. But no matter if this is your favorite or least favorite installment in the franchise, or a film series you could care less about, it is impossible to not connect and feel for this timeless, beautifully written characters.

late night trailer

Late Night

In Late Night, Mindy Kaling’s character Molly desperately wants to break into the world of comedy, one that in the film’s rules is rarely fueled by the voices of women. This is certainly the case when Molly is hired to be the new female writer on highly successful light night talk show of TV icon Katherine Newbury (played by Emma Thompson.) She brings a new voice to the mix, but also something that hadn’t exist in Katherine’s world – emotions.

Throughout the film, many characters (including Katherine) will speak to the failures of women in the industry – specifically that their sentimentalities get in the way of the final product. But as Molly shows her talents to the all-male staff of the show, Katherine eventually takes notice of her skills. Yet in one critical scene, where Molly decides to work a charity gig that she has a personal connection instead of going to work, resulting in her getting fired, a sort of heart-felt magic takes place.

This is one of the moments where Katherine turns from the Miranda from The Devil Wears Prada kind of cartoonish antagonist, into a Scrooge that slowly begins to learn the importance of standing up for your beliefs even in an environment that forces women to keep themselves shut in emotionally. Moments like this, and many more throughout the film, speak to how we as a society need to stop telling each other to keep our feelings in check in order to be respected.

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