The Optimist’s Summer Movie Preview 2016

Once again, I’m checking my cynicism at the door. But that also means excluding some of the summer’s biggest movies from this article. So let’s go through the 10 films I’m most excited to see from May to August.

The good guys of Captain America: Civil War
Captain America: Civil War (May 6)
Starring Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr, Sebastian Stan
Screenplay by Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely
Directed by Anthony & Joe Russo
The event I’ve been waiting for. Both Captain America movies rank near the top of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and this battle royale will be both bigger and better than Batman v Superman.

Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling in The Nice Guys
The Nice Guys (May 20)
Starring Ryan Gosling, Russell Crowe, Kim Basinger
Written by Shane Black & Anthony Bagarozzi
Directed by Shane Black
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is one of my favorite movies of the 2000s. Writer-director Shane Black has that perfect blend of violence, humor and noir setting down for The Nice Guys as well. Both Crowe and Gosling are underrated as comedians, so I’m interested to see their wit on full display.

Oscar Isaac in X-Men: Apocalypse
X-Men: Apocalypse (May 27)
Starring Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Oscar Isaac
Screen story by Bryan Singer & Simon Kinberg & Michael Dougherty & Dan Harris
Screenplay by Simon Kinberg
Directed by Bryan Singer
I have full faith in Bryan Singer, even if the trailers have left me unconvinced. Apocalypse is one of the most terrifying villains in the X-Men world and Oscar Isaac is one of the best actors working today. Hopefully they can pull this off.

Andy Samberg sings with a hologram of Adam Levine in Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping
Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping (June 3)
Starring Andy Samberg, Bill Hader, Sarah Silverman
Written by Andy Samberg & Akiva Schaffer & Jorma Taccone
Directed by Akiva Schaffer & Jorma Taccone
Aside from his movies, I’m actually a huge fan of Andy Samberg. His digital shorts kept SNL afloat in those lean years. And this mockumentary about the world’s biggest pop star looks right up my alley.

Marlin and Dory in Finding Dory
Finding Dory (June 17)
Starring the voices of Ellen DeGeneres, Albert Brooks, Idris Elba
Screen story by Andrew Stanton and Victoria Strouse & Bob Peterson
Screenplay by Andrew Stanton
Directed by Andrew Stanton and Angus MacLane
Finding Nemo might just be Pixar’s best movie ever. It certainly features the best voice work of any modern animated movie. So of course I’m excited for this belated sequel.

Matthew McConaughey in Free State of Jones
Free State of Jones (June 24)
Starring Matthew McConaughey, Keri Russell, Mahershala Ali
Written and directed by Gary Ross
The McConaugh-saince continues with this true-life tale of a Southern man who united both slaves and whites against the Rebel Army, establishing a new state among the fighters.

Alice Eve and Simon Pegg in Star Trek Beyond
Star Trek Beyond (July 22)
Starring Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Idris Elba
Screenplay by Simon Pegg & Doug Jung and Roberto Orci & John D. Payne & Patrick McKay
Directed by Justin Lin
I really love both Star Trek movies, despite never really caring about it one way or the other before then. So I’m all in on Justin Lin – a more visually daring director than J.J. Abrams – taking over.

Matt Damon in Jason Bourney
Jason Bourne (July 29)
Starring Matt Damon, Alicia Vikander, Tommy Lee Jones
Screenplay by Matt Damon, Paul Greengrass, Christopher Rouse
Directed by Paul Greengrass
Did we need another Bourne movie? Probably not, and I hope Jeremy Renner gets to make another one soon. But Greengrass and Damon work so well together that I certainly will not be complaining.

Michael Keaton in The Founder
The Founder (August 5)
Starring Michael Keaton, Patrick Wilson, Linda Cardellini
Written by Robert D. Siegel
Directed by John Lee Hancock
The biggest upside of any movie this summer is this Social Network-esque tale of Ray Kroc, who took the McDonald brothers’ idea and spawned a world-dominating franchise.

The cast of Suicide Squad
Suicide Squad (August 5)
Starring Jared Leto, Margot Robbie, Will Smith
Screenplay by David Ayer
Directed by David Ayer
The biggest question mark of the year. Will this be the first of the recent DC movies to find a balance of humor and action? Will there be too many jokes? Not enough? Will Jared Leto be as annoying onscreen as he is in real life? I don’t know, but I will be there to find out.

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