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“Blinded By The Light” And “The Peanut Butter Falcon”: Films To See In August

Believe it or not, but the summer, somehow, is almost over. I meant to get to this a few days ago, obviously, but with all of the NYFF announcements and such, we’ve been a bit delayed. Still, August is in its first days, so a look at the month is still appropriate. Furthermore, the month is almost overcrowded, there’s to much goodness here. Two of my absolute favorite films of the year come out over the next week and change, so if that isn’t an endorsement, I don’t know what is, right? There’s some real gems opening, so it’s a very strong movie month, to say the least…

Here now are what I feel are the ten very best bets for the month of August:

10. Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark – This Guillermo del Toro backed horror offering comes from a well regarded book series. Whether this will translate into a top tier fright flick remains to be seen, but August has long been a spot to debut a scary movie. So, if nothing else, there’s a chance that this is something of note.

9. Ode to Joy – A quirky independent romantic comedy, I’ve seen this film and found it fairly charming. More on this one later on in the week (potentially as part of a review round-up, depending on how things go), but this indie has a fun gimmick and some very sweet execution. More to come soon…

8. Cold Case Hammarskjöld – One of the best documentaries of the year, this debuted at the Sundance Film Festival and literally could be world shattering. Initially a look into the death/potential assassination of a former U.N. Secretary General, the doc turns into something more, unearthing a conspiracy that you wouldn’t believe if it was found in a dramatic thriller. Terrifying, right?

7. The Kitchen – A female centric gangster tale, I see this one later on in the week and have heard some buzz that it’s a real solid flick. Though the cast suggests something comedic, this is a period crime drama, which presents all sorts of interesting possibilities. I’m definitely curious about this one, so stay tuned!

6. Light of My Life – Casey Affleck’s latest effort behind the camera is a really strong and sparse effort. I was able to check it out last month and found it fairly compelling. Affleck is really good both in front of and behind the camera. It’s out this week, so look for a more thorough write up in the days to come…

5. Where’d You Go, Bernadette? – Richard Linklater opts for a jaunty literary adaptation for this latest work. I’ve yet to see it, but am incredibly curious how his sensibilities jive with the material. If nothing else, Cate Blanchett in a baity role is always a pleasure to witness. Who knows, maybe Oscar needs to take notice of this one?

4. Ready or Not – I love this horror/comedy hybrid. It’s decidedly dark, but the black comedy aspects of it mix very well with the gore. Plus, it has one hell of an ending, trust me there. I won’t spoil anything, but it’s a total blast. Sit tight for a review later on this month, and a highly positive one, at that.

3. Good Boys – This raunchy comedy debuted at South by Southwest and offers some potentially riotous low art to cap off the summer with. I can not wait to see it, especially since the last comedy to get the seal of approval from SXSW was Booksmart, that’s one of the best things I’ve seen all year. That’s good enough for me.

2. The Peanut Butter Falcon – Until I saw the next movie, this was my favorite work of 2019. It opens on Friday, so I don’t want to wax poetic too much right now, but just let me say that it’s kind of phenomenal and unconventionally so. When you see it/read my review, you’ll understand why. For now, just know that it’s very special…

1. Blinded by the Light – My favorite film of the year so far, and that’s only partly due to my love of Bruce Springsteen. I’ll simply share my Facebook/Twitter reaction after seeing it early on last week: “It doesn’t happen often, but every once in a while a film perfectly captures a feeling. For me, Blinded By The Light brilliantly presents what it’s like to discover Bruce Springsteen as a teenager. The movie is a crowd pleaser of the first order, but for someone like myself, it was close to a religious experience and my body was wracked with the feeling of being seen. I’d be shocked if this doesn’t stick as my favorite film of the year. I truly feel seen in a way that cinema, at its best, can sometimes do.”

Honorable Mentions: After the Wedding, The Amazing Jonathan, The Art of Racing in the Rain, Brian Banks, Brittany Runs a Marathon, Driven, The Fanatic, Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw, Freaks, Love, Antosha, Luce, Madness in the Method, The Nightingale, Official Secrets, and Teacher

Be sure to check out these various movies all throughout the month of August!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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