Summer Movies 2016: The Best and the Worst and the Most Mediocre

This summer movie season was regarded by critics as one of the worst of all time. Summer movies can be a pretty big deal. Think of the term “summer blockbuster,” and all the movies it’s spawned. That’s movies like Die Hard, Men in Black, Jurassic Park, Guardians of the Galaxy, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Star Wars Episode V, Finding Nemo, Toy Story 3, and Mad Max: Fury Road. The list goes on. Every summer seems to come with at least one movie people regard as being truly great. This summer hasn’t been exactly that. We got a slew of remakes, reboots, sequels, and spinoffs. In fact, 15 out of the 20 highest grossing movies this summer were a remake, reboot, sequel, or based on an app (looking at you, Angry Birds Movie). 

I saw nine of this summer’s biggest movies in theaters this year:   X-Men: Apocalypse, The Shallows, Finding Dory, The Purge: Election Year, Ghostbusters, Suicide Squad, Sausage Party, War Dogs, and Don’t Breath. We had some pretty good ones, some pretty bad ones, and some very underwhelmingly mediocre ones.

The Good

  1. The Shallows                   


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The Shallows was without a doubt the best written, best acted, most original, and most entertaining movie out this summer. And this I have to stress, it was original. Or maybe not, but there’s something so lovable about that subgenre of movies about getting stranded in a place and having to get back (The Revenant, The Martian, Cast Away Gravity). Either way, The Shallows is a welcome addition to the group, and a great summer movie.

      2. Don’t Breath


At its core, Don’t Breath is a slasher movie, and it delivered a slasher movie with genuine fear, relatable characters, and predictable but still entertaining twists. While I didn’t like it as much as some other movies on the list, I ranked it as a better summer movie because it’s just that, and it delivered on its promises.


      3. Finding Dory


To Finding Dory‘s positives is this, it’s the one of the best children’s movies to come out this summer. Some of it’s competition is The Secret Life of Pets, a Dreamworks movie with the exact plot of Toy Story, and The Angry Birds Movie, which speaks for itself. As for Finding Dory, Pixar always delivers a good story and touching moments, but the biggest problem stemmed from the fact that it was just about half as good as Finding Nemo

     4. War Dogs


War Dogs is one of those movies to market itself as a comedy then change its mind partway through. It ended up seeming like an odd mixture of The Hangover, The Wolf of Wall Street, and American Sniper. That’s not to say it wasn’t a fun movie to watch, I’m just not sure what movie I was watching. However, Jonah Hill and Miles Teller really pulled it off to make one of the better mediocre movies this summer.

     5. The Purge: Election Year


It’s hard for me to review this, because I like The Purge series more than I should. From a purely critical standpoint, this was a fun movie to go out and see with your buddies, but it had a lot of problems. There are so many things that could be said for and against The Purge series that I’m not going into it, but what I will say is The Purge: Election Year is a good third installment that was as good if not better than The Purge: Anarchy

     6. X-Men: Apocalypse


Coming off of two of the best X-Men movies, First Class and Days of Future Past, you’d think to expect great things from X-Men: Apocalypse. You’d be wrong to expect great things, as this movie was a bit of a jumbled mess that was hard to follow for people who aren’t familiar with the characters, and hard even for fans of the series to enjoy

     7. Sausage Party


For lack of a punless phrase, Sausage Party left a bad taste in my mouth. While a funny movie, writers Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen aimed for a comedy like South Park that delivers both social commentary and offensive humor. And while they did deliver a funny movie, the message felt very spelled out and heavy handed. I kept Sausage Party in the mediocre category because it delivered something audiences really wanted, even if it came with something they didn’t


     8. Ghostbusters


Ghostbusters generated a lot of controversy this summer for rebooting a classically beloved movie with a gender switched cast. I almost didn’t see Ghostbusters, and I’m sure most of you didn’t. But what I got pleasantly surprised me. Among the best parts being the comedy and the character interactions, the worst parts being the writing and the story. Despite this being a pretty ok movie, I’m ranking it as bad because whether or not it was good, it just wasn’t asked for.

     9. Suicide Squad


Oh Suicide Squad. We all wanted to like you. Why did you go and do that? How could a movie filled with action be so boring. This movie was set up to be the Deadpool of the DC universe but really all they did was try too hard. The villain was boring, the “comedy” wasn’t funny, the fighting was barely fighting, and the soundtrack was the biggest try hard of any soundtrack ever. Suicide Squad was 20% exposition and 80% climax, and that’s not a good thing. Most importantly, it was a bad summer movie.