Summer is the season for big blockbusters, robots fighting aliens fighting whales with feet all in 3-D. But just because the theaters are crammed with action flicks doesn’t mean a few quiet indie dramas and comedies don’t wiggle their way in during the warmer months. Here are a few to watch out for.
1. Boyhood (out now)
The coming-of-age drama that took twelve years to shoot, Boyhood features one actor, Ellar Coltrane, filmed over the course of his entire adolescence. Beyond the gimmick of the endless filming schedule, the film is getting rave reviews, and boasts a ton of big names to balance out its unknown star, like Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette.
2. Happy Christmas (July 25th)
Anna Kendrick stars as the twenty-something little sister who has no idea what she’s doing when she moves in with her brother and his picturesque family in Chicago just before the holidays. One of the best parts of the film is the adorable baby, played by screenwriter and star Joe Swanberg’s real son. A close second MVP is Lena Dunham, especially when she’s helping map out a Fifty Shades of Grey-style erotic novel.
3. Wish I Were Here (July 18th)
Zach Braff’s Kickstarter funded follow-up to Garden State is coming out ten years after that film introduced millions to The Shins, and most critics and commentators have decided to hate his latest endeavor on principal alone. Still, the story of a thirty-something trying to figure out his own life and teach his kids a few lessons looks interesting, and at least we know the soundtrack will be worth listening to.
4. Very Good Girls (July 25th)
Bound to make everyone who remembers her from Uptown Girls feel very, very old, Very Good Girls stars Dakota Fanning as a recent high school graduate who vows with her best friend (played by Elizabeth Olsen) to lose her virginity before college. Unfortunately, that summer they both fall for the same guy. The tonal opposite to American Pie, the film ends up being more about the future and friendship than a quest to be de-virginized.
5. What If (August 1st)
Harry Potter is in a rom-com! The trailer looks adorable and co-stars indie darling Zoe Kazan and Girls’, Adam Driver but all you really need to know about the film is the boy who lived spends the film bumbling and mumbling around charmingly. The story follows Wallace (Daniel Radcliffe) as he pines, and tries to deny pining for his already attached female friend (Zoe Kazan).
6. Life After Beth (August 15th)
It’s Aubrey Plaza as a zombie! After Beth dies, her boyfriend (played by Dane DeHann) is heartbroken, but he soon finds out she’s been resurrected and they can happily be together again. Unfortunately, Beth soon becomes a hungry, violent member of the living undead, and there are no online advice columns about how to end things with your zombie girlfriend. The film also stars all the actors you expect to pop up in indie comedies, like Alia Shawkat and Anna Kendrick.