Gina Vaynshteyn
May 15, 2014 1:00 pm

Summer is for sweaty bangs, margarita slushies, and DIY Slip ‘n Slides. It’s also for movie theatres because they’re air-conditioned. I know a lot of us are planning to see X-Men: Days of Future Past, The Fault in Our Stars, and The Giver, but if you’re looking for amazing alternatives, here are ten that you may not want to miss. Best of all, many of these feature amazing female protagonists who counter the hyper-masculine summer blockbuster scene (ahem, Hercules, X-Men, Spiderman).

1. Palo Alto 

Release date: May 9

Written by James Franco and directed by Gia Coppola, this film is too pretty to pass up. Palo Alto explores youth and juxtaposes it with leering adulthood, and how emotions are these delicate, weird things in high school that can be hard to grasp, let alone understand. A lot of things are going on in the movie, including a very illegal relationship between a teacher and a student, and a kid who may have committed a horrendous crime. I’m mostly excited to see Emma Roberts in a serious role, and anything the Coppola sisters touch is always kind of gorgeous.

2. Tammy

Release date: July 2

If you loved Bridesmaids or The Heat, then you’ll love Tammy. Tammy is about a woman whose life is in super sad shambles. She totals her car, get fired from her job, and finds her husband cheating on her. But, like most movies, maybe bad things need to happen in order to finally realize that we deserve good things.

3. Jupiter Ascending

Release date: July 18

This seriously might be Mila Kunis’ coolest role yet. What seems to be a cross between Thor and The Matrix, this sci-fi is super intense and out-of-this-world (literally). Jupiter Ascending is set in the future, and Jupiter Jones (Mila) is just a maid who finds out she’s space royalty. But pretty much everyone wants her dead, so that’s where Channing Tatum comes in with pointy ears and a cute face (and to like, help her battle space lords).

4. Lucy

Release date: August 8

Scarlett Johansson stars in this fast-paced action movie that looks kind of like Limitless, but way better. Scarlett plays Lucy, a drug mule working for the mob. She has a drug implanted in her stomach, but after some mob dudes beat her up, the drug leaks and she turns into a superhuman who can learn Chinese in under an hour and has telekinetic powers.

5. If I Stay

Release date: August 22

This movie, based on a YA novel by Gayle Forman, explores the idea of what it would be like in an out-of-body experience. The trailer is kind of confusing if you don’t understand the premise (at least to me, I was like, why is she in a coma, then a baby, and then staring at herself? WHAT IS GOING ON). The story is about a 17-year-old named Mia, who falls in love with a dreamy guy. Shortly after meeting him, she gets into deadly car accident with her parents. It seems like she has to choice to either live or die, and she goes trough a series of memories and moments that lead up to her decision. All I know is that I’m going to be bawling my eyes out.

6. Boyhood

Release date: July 11

This movie is also going to have me crying, so basically I’m just going to be crying a lot this summer. This film, which was shot over a 12 year period, chronicles a divorced couple (Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette) who try to raise their son in the most normal way possible.

7. Sex Tape

Release date: July 25

Sex Tape is about a couple that decides to reignite their sex life by recording themselves doing it. Instead of deleting the video, it goes viral because that’s what happens when you own a Mac, apparently. Their Cloud syncs with all their friends’ Clouds, and now they have to steal each individual Mac product (that they gave out as gifts, which seems really extravagant, but whatever) back and destroy the evidence. Even though I would probably just send out a mass e-mail explaining the situation and hope for the best, the scenario is admittedly pretty funny.

8. Sin City: A Dame to Kill For

Release date: August 22

Based on the Sin City graphic novel series, this sequel to the first Sin City film features Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Eva Green, Mickey Rourke, and Jessica Alba. This gritty crime noir is about a guy named Dwight who is hunted down by a woman he loves and watches everything fall apart.

9. The Double

Release date: May 9

Although this movie seems kind of like Fight Club, the idea of a man with a split personality/possibly real doppelgänger was actually coined way before Chuck Palahniuk’s time. Based on the Russian novel by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Double is about a guy names Simon James who comes to find out that a co-worker, James Simon, looks exactly like him. And he’s out to steal his crush and ruin his life. Dun, dun, DUN.

10. Obvious Child

Release date: June 6

If you love-hate Mona Lisa from Parks and Rec, then you’ll love-love Donna Stern. Donna, a stand-up comedian, gets fired and then dumped, but ends up meeting a really cute dude who she ends up sleeping with. Lo and behold, she finds out she’s pregnant, so I guess bad news does come in threes. Now it’s up to her to make a decision that’s not only right for everybody, but a decision that’s right for her.

11. The Two Faces of January

Release date: August 8

If you like anything by Alfred Hitchcock or Orson Welles, then you’ll absolutely adore The Two Faces of January, which is set in 1960s Greece. Basically, there’s a con artist, a wife, and dead guy, and it goes from there.

12. Wish I Was Here

Release date: July 18

You guys, it’s our new Garden State! So prepare to fangirl out and buy the album, and listen to it over and over again on your CD player like you did in 2004. Aidan Bloom (played by Zach Braff) is a struggling actor father, and husband who is going through a midlife crisis, so expect really good epiphanies and soul melting scenes that put everything in perspective. Because that’s what really good movies do, right?

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