1. Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates - Some funny moments, but ultimately a forgettable and unoriginal comedy. I feel like ever since Bridesmaids succeeded with the "raunchy funny females" type comedy, some movies just really try to out-do the raunchiness but they forget the essential part about being funny. Aubrey Plaza - raunchy but not funny at all. I really, really want to like her (and I ADORED her on Parks & Recreation), but every role she's done is just really terrible. She's not a very good actress. Luckily, the other actors (Zac Efron, Anna Kendrick & Adam Devine) are all strong enough to make up for her performance. The storyline, however, is a bit all over the place, and unbelievably ridiculous. And none of the characters are likeable in any way whatsoever, which is weird for a movie like this. Literally all of them ruin someone else's life in some way during the course of the movie, but all is forgiven in the end. There is no sensible character motivation other than getting to the next plot-point. It's just dumb.
2. Demolition - I wasn't expecting to connect with this movie in the way that I did. I mostly watched it for Jake Gyllenhaal. I've never really found him attractive (the whole puppy dog eyes thing just doesn't do it for me), but he just gets better with every movie - and his talent is definitely attractive. He's excellent in this movie - probably my favorite male performance of the year (so far). The movie was about loss, but it is so much more honest than most movies dealing with this subject. He is a man whose wife is tragically killed in a car accident, yet he doesn't feel her loss like everyone expects him to. Through his use of angry letters venting to a vending machine company, we learn that he wasn't really in love with his wife. He cared for her, yes, but he remembers her telling him that he never paid attention, and now that she's gone, he agrees. He doesn't really know who his wife was because he was self-involved, and his need to be loved was more important than loving someone else. It's deeply honest, and almost destructive for him to come to this realization but it lifts this invisible weight off of him. The movie goes a little literal with this idea by having him demolish random objects, his home, his relationships, etc., but it's very effective. Overall, that's how I would describe the movie - very effective. There are a ton of little moments and connections, stunning imagery, thoughtful dialogue, and it's all just very effective.
3. Dirty Grandpa - Coincidentally, I watched this movie the day after Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates not realizing that it also starred both Zac Efron and Aubrey Plaza. And again, Plaza is really awful. Her lines are cringe-worthy so it's not entirely her fault. I was expecting an over-the-top raunchy comedy, but actually, this movie is very sweet. The "message" is don't spend your entire life living up to someone else's idea of "happy". The "dirty Grandpa" (Oh, De Niro, please stop), is just trying to rescue his grandson from living a life of mediocrity and disappointment because he missed the opportunity to save his son from it. I wasn't really expecting to get anything out of a movie like this, so that was a pleasant surprise. They could have made a solid comedy with this plot, but they ruined it by soaking it in crude (and not funny) jokes. The movie is just filled with really low points (pedophilia is never funny), but there are also (very) few really high points (Efron doing the Macarena...naked). Also, I forgot that Efron can sing! I try to blackout his High School Musical phase, because it's so terrible and he's so great now.
4. Eddie the Eagle - The trailer for this movie was just so typical '90s feel-good, sports-theme movie, I just HAD to see it. It has everything you expect from this type of movie - the underdog, the disenfranchised coach, the training montage, etc. Plus, Taron Egerton is sooooo HOT (but, umm...., not in this movie. Not at all. It's so weird.). It's such a cheesy, predictable movie, but it's exactly as it was advertised. The story is pretty interesting, but they definitely made it more dramatic for the screen. It's weird that this happened during the same Olympic games as the famous Jamaican bobsled team, but also, I think these stories probably occur during every Olympic game - everyone has a story, it just takes someone to write it...right? It's also interesting that they actually changed the qualification rules so that this never happens again. And, really, it shouldn't. I mean, people spend their whole lives training for this event. It's unfair to have someone undermine all of their hard-work. I know we're supposed to root for Eddie, but I kind of agree with the "villains" on this one. Otherwise, it's a super cute, super charming movie.
5. Star Trek Beyond- I enjoyed the previous two Star Trek movies. I don't fully understand the mythology behind it all because I've never really been a Star Trek fan, but overall I find the movies enjoyable. I didn't realize that Justin Lin directed this one until it was over, but that totally makes sense because it felt more action-packed than the previous ones - and the action is spectacular. It's similar to Lin's previous work (The Fast and the Furious franchise) in that it just gets straight to the point, and straight to the action. I love J.J. but his directorial style is a little all over the place. I feel like this and X-Men Apocalypse are the best blockbuster action movies of this year, and yet nobody is talking about them....like, at all. I loved seeing J.J. Abrams favorite, Greg Grunberg, in a quick blink-and-you'll-miss-it scene. I love that J.J. still supports his early team of actors (Grunberg is from Felicity). This is the first film in the series, in which I actually like most of the characters. I guess getting to know them a little more helps. Chris Pine really annoyed me in the first two, but he was tolerable in this one. I like the back and forth between Bones and Spock, and I really like the character Jaylah. Overall, this is simply just a fun, action-packed summer blockbuster. Expectations = met.