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A Fistful of Summer 2019

Updated: Sep 4, 2019

The Dorks gathered to determine The Best Films of the Summer Movie Season.

Lionsgate

First note, I know it says “Best Films of the Summer Season,” but let’s be real, art is subjective, and our tastes might not align with your tastes. The reality is that our Fistful of Summer is a direct product of our weird brains, so let’s call it our “Favorite Films of the Summer” instead. Sound good? Too defensive? Hit us up and let us know where we went right or wrong here. We do love hearing from you fine people.


We love Summer, but we may love it’s conclusion even more. Every year, the Dorks gather to evaluate the crucial movie season and determine our desperation for quality Fall entertainment. We’re feeling a little pressure. The months did not provide as many surefire wins as we were hoping to receive, but that doesn’t mean it was only dog days at the cinema. Gathering all our forces, we are excited to celebrate several significant cinematic endeavors. That being said, for 2019 to beat out 2018 during this year’s climactic awards ceremony known as The Dorkies, September through December better astonish.


What are our rules for selection? We stick to theatrical features, and no cheating when with festival favorites. You gotta wait, gang. Also, we don’t care what Disney says; we’re sticking with the traditional Blockbuster window of May 1st through August 31st. That means you won't find any talk of Avengers: Endgame or Neil Marshall’s Hellboy. We’re stricklers. 


If you want to hear each Dork’s thoughts on the Summer movies, then you need to listen to our Fistful of Summer 2019 episode (CLICK HERE to do so). What you will find below are the reigning champions of the season averaged out from our individual lists. The results are more than a little surprising, especially for those that have followed our podcast over the last few years. Hobbs and Shaw? Yeah, we’re afraid not. Quentin Tarantino? Uh-uh. Weird, but we gotta do what we gotta do.


5. John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum


Life is full of consequences. Action and reaction. A dealer of death escaped his hell and found love. He compromised his own better judgment to call in favors to help him escape. When his saving grace passes away, it took a casual act of violence to bring out the full force of the madman. The success of John Wick was never a certainty, even with Keanu Reeves at the peak of his physical and acting skills. It caught fire, though. Chad Stahelski and his team have crafted more than a series of barely-there plot devices to string together insane action sequences. Oh, yes. The action is insane. But, the world they’ve crafted is something special. Through three films, not only have they kept Baba Yaga’s story compelling, they’ve sold me on whatever else they want to do to expand that world. Long live John Wick. (William Dass)


4. Rocketman


Rock stars are cool. They spend a lot of money, wear cool clothes, do drugs, have promiscuous sex; they fly high on the adoration of the masses and crash real hard. Musicals are not cool. They say reality be damned – characters are swept up into song regarding their complicated inner lives, dance in an organized yet unabashed way, and even have hopeful and optimistic endings. They are flashy, they are opulent, and they are dorky. Biopics have studios stumped. How do they cash in on our curiosity of celebrity and our nostalgia for the music we love, and not make a musical? Generally, they settle for making a clichéd, subpar film about the rise and fall of fame – the same old beats with platinum records and rock bottoms, but it was all worth it to hear those hits, right? We fork it over at the box office, and Spotify Queens’ Greatest Hits on the way home. Forgettable. 


Thank God, Dexter Fletcherput his boot down and said, “why not?” Why not tell Elton John’s story using all of the tools at our disposal? Rocketman scoffs at being cool and dares to be fabulous. The musical, in its purest form, should use the amalgam of music, poetry, and dance to capture the complicated emotional narrative that can only be implied by acting and dialogue. The way the film uses the music of Elton John and Bernie Taupin’s over five-decade collaboration as the vocabulary to score not only John’s emotional journey, but the journeys of everyone around him – his emotionally distant father (Steven Mackintosh), his self-absorbed mother (Bryce Dallas Howard), his dastardly manager/lover (Richard Madden) – is ingenious and impeccable. Taron Egerton– who, like all the other actors – does all of his own singing and dancing – disappears into his role of Elton John. There is no mimicry or imitation, just emotion, and transformation. It’s stunning.


With Rocketman, Dexter Fletcher took the exhaustively mined rock-n-roll biopic and produced a flawless gem of a musical. It is a film that embraces the whimsy, the fantasy, and the magic the genre has to offer to show us there is more to life than being cool. Why not be Elton John instead? (Lisa Gullickson) 


3. The Peanut Butter Falcon


This movie really surprised me, and it is easily one of the best films of the year. The Peanut Butter Falconis a feel-good, heartwarming movie. Shia LaBeouf, that dude, is a phenomenal actor. Writer/Directors Tyler Nilsonand Michael Schwartz deliver a touching film about creating and making your own family from your friends. It certainly understands that idea better than any of those Fast and the Furious films. (Bryan Young)


2. Godzilla: King of the Monsters


If you know me, you know why I love this film. I understand that this may sound blasphemous to some other hardcore kaiju fans, but for me, Godzilla: King of the Monstersis my favorite interpretation of the Toho Studios characters. I will always love me some man-in-suit, and the idea behind that, but I also love the artistry that goes into this modern design. Instead of pencils, they’re working with pixels. Art is art. I love the respect and majesty of the light Michael Dougherty, and cinematographer Lawrence Sher uses to portray these monsters. I look forward to more Godzilla flicks, but I’ve now got my favorite one, so I’m good. (Darren Smith)


1. The Farewell


Why do you believe the things that you believe? Is your morality anchored by an absolute right and wrong, or is it simply the fashion of the environment you were raised. Lulu Wang adapts her own NPR segment into a stunning feature about the good lie told to keep her dying grandmother happy and alive. While it’s easy for current Western culture to condemn the Chinese method of handling such dire medical news, the film expertly challenges those beliefs, and I came away ready to let Lisa run point on all my future doctor visits. The Farewell is the warm, life-affirming comedy we desperately needed in a Summer season seemingly intent on bringing us down. (Brad Gullickson)

The Indie Dork (William Dass)

5. John Wick: Chapter 3

4. Tone-Deaf

3. Ready or Not

2. Midsommar

1. Tigers Are Not Afraid


MouthDork (Brad Gullickson)

5. Spider-Man: Far From Home

4. John Wick: Chapter 3

3. I Am Mother

2. Rocketman

1. The Farewell


The Turtle Dork (Bryan Young)

5. Batman vs. TMNT

4. The Farewell

3. Toy Story 4

2. Godzilla: King of the Monsters

1. Peanut Butter Falcon


The Disco Dork (Darren Smith)

5. Spider-Man: Far From Home

4. The Farewell

3. John Wick: Chapter 3

2. Peanut Butter Falcon

1. Godzilla: King of the Monsters


WifeDork (Lisa Gullickson)

5. Toy Story 4

4. Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile

3. Spider-Man: Far From Home

2. The Farewell

1. Rocketman

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