While this summer saw low box office receipts and some disastrous movies, there was no need to completely despair.
Summer 2016 actually had a big crop of strong movies. A few of them, including a superhero epic and a long-awaited sequel, came from major studios. Not every movie was a big box-office hit though. Many gems were smaller indies that will likely have a long shelf life ahead of them.
Keep reading to see the best movies of the summer.
'Popstar' is a cult classic in the making. This Lonely Island-created mockumentary about a Justin Bieber-like musician named Conner4Real (Andy Samberg) is by far the best comedy so far this year. It has jokes stacked up on other jokes in a way that would be exhausting if it weren't so funny.
This is one of those comedies that is too good to be understood on its initial release; it was destined to be a box-office bomb. But as with 'Hot Rod' and 'MacGruber,' two other movies that Samberg, Akiva Schaffer, and Jorma Taccone have been involved with, 'Popstar' will only get funnier with time.
While this was a weak summer at the box office overall, it was a good time for horror, with hits like 'The Conjuring 2' and 'Lights Out.' One of the most surprising hits of the summer was 'The Shallows,' a movie in which Blake Lively fights a shark and befriends a seagull. The film received solid reviews and was a box office hit.
Horror movies get a bad rep. However, thanks to directors like James Wan ('Insidious,' 'The Conjuring') and powerhouse production companies like Blumhouse, the genre has had a strong few years. Plus, most horror movies are cheap to make and guaranteed to make a profit. Don't be so surprised next time something like 'The Shallows' breaks out.
The all-female 'Ghostbusters' reboot was working against a lot, as it spent months fighting against sexist internet trolls looking to take the film down. When you finally watch it, you won't understand what all the fuss was about.
While 'Ghostbusters' has its flaws, as well as an uneven third act, it's overall hilarious, smart, and ambitious. Plus, it finds a way to address the haters from the start. And most of all, its cast, especially 'Saturday Night Live' stars Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones, make up for a dynamite comedy ensemble. While the film's lacklustre performance might not call for a sequel, its cultural impact should pave the way for more female-led blockbusters.
'The Lobster' is set in a dystopian future where all single people are forced to go to a hotel to meet their lover. If they fail to do this, they are turned into an animal. It's a dark, fascinating, and sometimes funny meditation on human companionship. And if all is right in the world, Colin Farrell will earn himself an Oscar nomination.
It's a bizarre and polarising film. But no matter how you feel about it, you won't be able to stop thinking about it.
Shane Black wrote 'Lethal Weapon,' starred in 'Predator,' and directed 'Iron Man 3.' He is a Hollywood legend at this point. He's proven that's he still got a fast, funny, and brilliant mind with 'The Nice Guys,' a detective tale that encompasses the porn industry in 1970s Hollywood. Of the many pleasant surprises of the film, it shows thar Russell Crowe has terrific comic timing.
Unfortunately, the film flopped at the box office, proving how hard it is to turn a mid-budget, original idea into a hit nowadays. It's begging to be rediscovered on VOD.
13 years later, the sequel to 'Finding Nemo' was worth the wait. Instead of rehashing the same tropes and grabbing an easy paycheck, 'Finding Dory' goes deeper into Dory's (Ellen DeGeneres) inner life while introducing fantastic new characters like Hank the octopus (Ed O'Neill) and an angry sea lion named Fluke (Idris Elba).
Plus, there were those adorable sea otters.
A comedy about an improv troupe seems like the most niche film ever. However, 'Don't Think Twice' is also about love, loss, and friendship. It's a small, quiet, and funny film that marks a perfect second directorial effort from comedian Mike Birbiglia.
After the dismal 'Star Trek Into Darkness,' the franchise reset itself in this terrific third instalment. It's fun, thoughtful, and optimistic. At dark times like this, it's great to watch people from all walks of life unite against an alien played by Idris Elba.
Perhaps the best part about 'Star Trek Beyond' is how inviting it is. You don't have to be a diehard 'Star Trek' fan to enjoy 'Star Trek Beyond.'
A political documentary can only be as interesting as its subject, and there's no story more crazy than that of disgraced New York congressman Anthony Weiner, who's entire political career went up in flames after two major sexting scandals.
With 'Weiner,' directors Josh Kriegman and Elyse Steinberg got unprecedented access to Weiner's unsuccessful run for mayor of New York in 2013. It's a fascinating look at the inside of the political machine, played like a tragedy. And the greatest directorial choice here is the extra special focus on Weiner's wife Huma Abedin, whose constant looks of sadness and disapproval unintentionally speak for the audience.
The movie recently gained some newfound relevance after Weiner was involved in a third sexting scandal. As a result, Weiner and Abedin split. The documentary may add a postscript now before debuting on Showtime on October 22.
The most critically-acclaimed animated movie of the summer didn't come from Disney, Pixar, or Dreamworks, but rather from Laika ('Paranorman,' 'The Boxtrolls'). Like any good animated film, it's receiving love from kids and adults alike for being a beautifully animated adventure tale.
Between 'X-Men: Apocalypse' and 'Suicide Squad,' this summer has seen a backlash against superhero movies. You wouldn't know that from looking at 'Civil War,' which may as well have been another 'Avengers' movie all together.
The third Captain America movie is one of Marvel's best. It's both fun and deep and even manages to give every single character their own backstory while staging action scenes that will inspire future filmmakers. 'Civil War' isn't just a great superhero movie, it's a great movie, period.
Business Insider's Jason Guerrasio called 'Hell or High Water' the best movie of this summer. That's no surprise. The modern western, starring Jeff Bridges and Chris Pine, has received nearly universal acclaim, and it's the breath of fresh air viewers need during the dog days of August.
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