With this summer came many new entertainment offerings you might have missed. For the first time since the pandemic began, movie theaters started to reopen, reviving the box office with blockbusters, such as "Black Widow" and "A Quiet Place Part II," in full force.
While you probably heard about the blockbusters, there were many films that didn’t have a theatrical release. So, here are some under-the-radar picks for the best movies, television and music of the summer.
"The Fear Street" trilogy
Netflix released a connected series of horror films on three consecutive Fridays based on “Fear Street,” a series of books written by renowned horror writer R. L. Stine. Each film takes place in the town of Shadyside in a different year (1994, 1978 and 1666, respectively) and follows the residents as they try to eradicate an evil curse plaguing their town.
All three films strike a neat balance between "Stranger Things"-esque nostalgia and the rebellious spirit of the '90s. The standout film is "Part 2: 1978," which stars Sadie Sink as a summer camper who tries to escape with her friends from several slasher monsters. All three films have twists and turns and follow a surprisingly rewarding emotional journey of one central character.
"No Sudden Move"
Director Steven Soderbergh is one of the few Hollywood filmmakers who has embraced creating films for smaller budgets in the streaming and COVID-19 era. His latest film, "No Sudden Move," is a heist film that borrows a lot of the filmmaking tricks from his "Ocean’s 11" trilogy.
The movie boasts a similarly stacked cast but keeps the stakes smaller and more personal, relying primarily on its characters, atmosphere and numerous plot twists to keep viewers engaged. "No Sudden Move" is streaming on HBO Max.
"Mare of Easttown"
Kate Winslet delivers a memorable performance as the titular Mare in one of HBO’s newest limited series'. "Mare of Easttown" has finished being released weekly, making it binge-worthy for a weekend inside.
Taking place in the suburbs of Philadelphia, the show is a grounded and emotional portrait of how tragedy strengthens and tears relationships, while also providing the thrills and twists one expects from a murder mystery series.
"The White Lotus"
"The White Lotus" is one of the most unconventional pieces of media widely released this year. The anthology show's first season depicts the unusual staff and guests working at a Hawaiian resort. It’s a simple premise, and the show can feel aimless at times. However, acute viewers will enjoy the little moments between characters and the themes of privilege, family and independence the show examines. All episodes of "The White Lotus" are streaming on HBO.
"The Golden Casket" — Modest Mouse
Rock band Modest Mouse's first album in six years, "The Golden Casket," is the band's best since 2004's "Good News For People Who Love Bad News." It’s a return to form for a band that has fallen out of the mainstream in the last decade. The album doesn’t have any obvious radio hits in the vein of "Float On," but the quality is consistent across the whole record, with "F— Your Acid Trip," "Wooden Soldiers" and "Leave A Light On" being the three standout tracks.
"Bo Burnham: Inside"
Comedian Bo Burnham made a triumphant return to Netflix specials with "Inside," a musical journey through life in the age of the internet. The show uses quarantine during COVID-19 as a connection to examine many societal issues that have been brewing for two decades and recently became fully exposed. It’s simultaneously one of the best albums and best movies of the year.
The songs are funny, surprising and catchy, while still displaying the intelligence and emotion that make Burnham’s social commentary connect. The visuals are stunning and inventive for a one room show. Check out the special streaming on Netflix, or the album streaming from most music streaming services.