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  • Michelle Khachatryan

Five Films To Watch for June

Now that summer is approaching…or if you live in LA, hopefully, it will come soon (as it's been days on end with no sun in LA), it's time to binge some movies with your friends! As we anticipate releasing major films like Greta Gerwig’s Barbie and Martin Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon, I hope to bring some great insight into movies that have been available to us for years that remind me of summer!

1. Booksmart

Starting with this ultimate summertime, out-of-high-school movie banger, Booksmart, directed by Olivia Wilde and starring Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever, follows two academic overachieving snarky girls who realize on the eve of their high school graduation that they never experienced the carefree, alcoholic, and wild parties in their teenage years. The lack of these memorable experiences has made them regret spending all their time studying and staying home. Amy and Molly decide to cram a night of fun into one day and begin to make a deal to check off all the goals they missed from lost time. The film is adventurous, cringe, and chaotic in the best way. Although the synopsis sounds typical, it stands out tremendously from every coming-of-age film about high school—the best movie to watch over the summer with your best friends.

2. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

The cultural impact these films have is crazy. Lord of the Rings trilogies are reserved for the summer, as Harry Potter is more of a movie to watch over the winter. As this is not everyone's cup of tea, stepping into this fantasy world of The Lord of the Rings reminds me of summer because of how beautiful this one stands out cinematography-wise, out of the rest of the two. The film focuses the most on the friendship between Frodo and Sam; how much they are devoted to each other becomes a great example of a true cinema friendship. As summer is a time to finally focus on spending more time with your friends, watching The Lord of the Rings is the perfect and epic get-together activity.

3. The Florida Project

Nothing resembles summer as fun innocence does, and this film captured the point of view of a group of kids living in Florida during the summertime is one film that comes to mind when I think of summer. Beautifully captured with an appreciation of color, The Florida Project, directed by Sean Baker, is about a group of six-year-old friends having an adventurous and troublesome summer while the adults around them are dealing with difficult and heartbreaking times. As I watch this film and understand what it feels like to look through the lens of a child again, it becomes a problematic aspect to be able to render our emotions now as adults. I can’t help but feel sad because I know I’ll never be able to feel that carefree innocence again. The wonder and paradise we sought when we were younger is only temporary, and you're only six years old once. This film revolves around how the friends wanted to go to Disneyland so bad; this paradise they tried to reach was always so close to them yet so challenging to reach.

4. Portrait of a Lady on Fire

Ah, yes, a tragic summer romance needs to be included in this list. A film that evokes so much emotion through symbolism and color relates to summer eloquently, and true cinema lovers should have this film listed on their favorites. Céline Sciammas, Portrait of a Lady on Fire links color and life experiences about the difficult times of being unacceptable lovers in a traditional society. The film follows an art teacher who gets hired to paint a wedding portrait of a young aristocratic woman. Amid this slow-burn story of love, this should be on your list of must-watch summer movies simply because it is so good. Everyone remembers that one time they had a bonfire at the beach. This movie's bonfire scene is so powerful that one 10-second clip with no dialogue is the root of all the energy, tension, anger, and emotion you get from just staring at a bonfire, feeling that it will consume you. Portrait of a Lady on Fire is so hypnotic and consuming that you might forget to breathe during the film's last few minutes.

5. Pan's Labyrinth

Monsters have frequently been depicted throughout film history as agents of terror meant to delight audiences by making them flinch. The idea of horror, however, goes beyond mere enjoyment in Pan's Labyrinth by Guillermo del Toro and expresses a more profound significance profound-eath the creatures' outward form. Pan’s Labyrinth is a colorful, enriching film to watch and is included in this list as the second fantasy film to enjoy during the summer. I don’t know; I feel like fantasy, romance, and coming of age are perfect movies to sit back and watch while on extensive breaks. And this hauntingly beautiful one that is a little weird is what simply makes it great and better than the original! The design of the creatures in this film is also insane and gives an iconic look to the fantasy thriller that makes it stand out from the rest. The harsh realities of Spain's post-civil war society are contrasted with the powers of innocent wonder and human cruelty in this film. It establishes the thin line between monsters and people through their distinct physical attributes, symbolism, and set design, encouraging viewers to think critically about the complexity of society.


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