Binge Watch: The Best of Summer

Welcome to Labor Day Weekend. While we might get excited for the start of College Football, the coming of the NFL season and all the joys of Fall. As we turn from one season to the next, it’s common to look back. For this space in Binge Watch, that means thinking about my favorite films from this summer. We got some blockbusters and some beautiful think pieces and others that weren’t so hot. Below are seven films of the summer of 2021 that I enjoyed.

Two Girls, A Guy and lots of Action

Marvel's 'Black Widow' Movie Is One Last Insult to Natasha Romanoff

Black Widow
The long-awaited solo outing for Scarlet Johansson’s character finally debuted, and it was worth the wait. It isn’t perfect, but the action is solid and I enjoyed the humor as well. It was nice to have an MCU film back in the fold, too.

Rating: 3 out of 4.

Gunpowder Milkshake
This Netflix film was the best action film of summer. Built around Karen Gillan and a largely female cast, this one had a fun style and a great color palette. I liked the humor and the action sequences. I hope we see Gillan get featured in more films, perhaps even a sequel to this one.

Rating: 3 out of 4.

Free Guy
This one features Ryan Reynolds as a character trapped in a video game. He and Jodie Comer have a great back-and-forth rapport, and this one has some fun action sequences. This was the last great blockbuster of the summer of 2021.

Rating: 3 out of 4.

Emily Blunt Double Feature

A Quiet Place 2' Release Delayed from April to September 2021 | IndieWire

A Quiet Place II
This was one of the first films to get delayed by the pandemic, so we had to wait 14 months past its original release date. It kick-started the summer season as it dropped on Memorial Day weekend and proved to be worth the wait. John Krasinski delivered a strong follow up as we got more back story and progressed in this interesting world. I didn’t love it as much as the first, but it’s still sitting in my Top 10 for the year.

Rating: 3 out of 4.

Jungle Cruise
: Blunt’s second feature of summer, another film delayed a year by the pandemic. This one pairs her with Dwayne Johnson in an adventure inspired by the Disneyland ride. It has great nods to the ride, but also feels like a modern day take on the 1999 version of The Mummy. I loved it.

Rating: 3 out of 4.

Award Contenders

Nine Days
As we transitioned into August, we started to get some films of substance, too. This one from Edson Oda features a terrific performance from Winston Duke and a mesmerizing story that explores the nature of what it means to be alive. It first debuted at Sundance in 2020 and is now in wide release. I suspect it will be a contender this awards season.

Rating: 4 out of 4.
Apple releases trailer for Sundance award-winning movie CODA, premieres  August 13 on Apple TV+ - 9to5Mac

No film moved me as much this year as CODA, which features a fantastic lead performance from Emilia Jones. The story and performances are beautiful, and the music is outstanding. This is a touching and emotional journey, one that had me hooked for every minutes. Released on Apple TV+ after debuting at Sundance in 2021, this one was the best of summer and the best of the year so far.

Rating: 4 out of 4.

Matthew Fox is a graduate of the Radio, Television and Film program at Biola University, and a giant nerd. He spends his free time watching movies, TV, and obsessing about football. He is a member of the FSWA. You can find him @knighthawk7734 on Twitter and as co-host of the Fantasy Football Roundtable Podcast.

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