Seeing Every Movie That Came Out This Summer

This May, I went to the local Lynbrook Regal Cinemas to see Lightyear with two separate groups on two separate occasions. Both times, I was repeatedly badgered by advertisements for the Regal Unlimited Pass (if you’ve set foot inside any Regal movie theater in the past six months, chances are you know what I’m talking about). Every inch of the movie theater was decorated with an aggressive amount of promotional material for this pass–there were posters, cardboard cut-outs, multiple trailers before each movie–such a calculated assault on the senses that eventually I crumbled and decided to see what the fuss was all about. It was perhaps my wisest decision of the year.

The Regal Unlimited Pass, for those unfamiliar with its majesty, grants you the ability to see an endless amount of movies for $23.50 a month. Considering a regular movie ticket is priced at an incredible $16.50, a quick calculation will reveal that with Regal Unlimited, you could see only five movies in three months and already make your money back. And for someone like me, who was already wasting far too much money on the silver screen monthly, this sounded like the greatest deal in the universe. I quickly purchased three months of Regal Unlimited, allowing me endless movie theater experiences for the entire summer. I was lovestruck.

What started as a pastime soon became an obsession. I loved movies, and now movies were free. I had no rules. Soon, I was in the movie theater nearly every day of the summer. My time, once occupied with schoolwork and hobbies, was now spent updating my ever-expanding Letterboxd account and constructing Machiavellian schemes to sneak younger-aged friends into R-rated films. I ate, slept, and breathed movies for those glorious three months, and there was nothing in the world that could be better. I was living a dream, but the dream was slowly fading. Suddenly, it was August, and the twilight days of summer were upon me. Midnight had arrived, my torrid affair with the Regal Unlimited Pass slowly coming to a fateful close. By September 4, all was lost. I opened my Regal App to find my pass expired. The dream had ended.

Thankfully, I still had the memories. I had seen every single movie to play in theaters in the summer of 2022, and if you’ve had any conversation longer than four minutes with me this school year, I’ve probably mentioned this fact to you. Initially, I had this high-minded goal that I would write a review for every movie I saw, but I quickly realized not only did this sound terrible, but it was also doubtful Horizon would be willing to publish upwards of twenty-five movie reviews for movies released months ago. So I compromised with myself. I would select five movies I saw this summer that affected me the most, five that stood out amongst the mass of visual media I consumed in the June-August range. That way, when I’m asked about my favorite films of the summer, I can give a definitive answer, and not just sort of shrug like I’ve been doing. If you happened to miss any of these over the summer, I’d recommend watching any that sound interesting. 

So, after much deliberation, I offer up the five greatest movies I saw while I could still call myself a Regal Unlimited Passholder. As someone who has wasted hours upon hours in a movie theater this year, I can promise you that these five are worth your time.


  1. Bodies Bodies Bodies

This one surprised me. The initial trailer for Bodies Bodies Bodies, starring Maria Bakalova and Saturday Night Live’s Pete Davidson, almost looked like a parody of itself, a horror/comedy taking potshots at “young folk” via lame reference-humor and an overuse of internet buzzwords like “toxic” and “gaslighting.” And yet, the real film was a lot smarter than the trailer would want you to believe. Through the usage of a classic murder-mystery setup–a group of friends trapped in a mansion discover one of their own has been killed–Bodies is able to craft a deft satire of Gen Z culture that views its subjects with more pity than scorn. And this is a funny movie, too; the cast has an electric chemistry together, and they’re able to keep the many, many scenes of them fighting amongst themselves both tense and hilarious (Rachel Sennott in particular nearly steals the entire movie). This is still a flawed movie: it’s a little too slow-moving and the ending, if imaginative, is still pretty predictable. But Bodies Bodies Bodies is still a perfectly good horror film, and a definitively funny comedy, too–both of which are fairly rare in the film industry today.


  1. Elvis

The film career of Baz Luhrmann, the director of the decades-spanning music biopic Elvis, is made up of the kind of movies that I would seemingly hate. Moulin Rouge, The Great Gatsby, and Romeo + Juliet are all campy, explosive exercises in maximalist filmmaking that set out to overload the audience with the stimuli of flashy colors and music– not exactly the type of movies I usually enjoy. And yet, Elvis just worked for me. Sure, it was campy; it was a gaudy, excessive, sometimes downright stupid, and it said a lot without really having that much to say at all. But then again, so did Elvis Presley. For a figure as mythical and monumental as the King of Rock & Roll, a film telling his story would have to be larger than life, and Luhrmann and co. certainly lived up to the task. As Mr. Presley, Austin Butler is incredible. His voice and physicalities are spot-on, so much to the point that there are certain scenes where it’s hard to tell if you’re watching real Elvis footage or a recreation. Tom Hanks, who plays Elvis’ crooked manager, Colonel Tom Parker, is… certainly doing something in the movie, though it’s unclear if that something is genuinely good acting. Either way, his performance is bizarre enough that it will stick in your mind long after the credits roll. And the ending, if perhaps a little cheesy, is still incredibly powerful, solidifying Elvis as a summer blockbuster with lasting power. 


  1. E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial


Ok, so maybe this is cheating. But in celebration of the 40th anniversary of this Steven Speilberg classic, Regal Cinemas re-released E.T. in theaters. I hadn’t seen the movie since I was very young and remembered nothing beyond the scene where the titular alien hides in that pile of stuffed animals, so I was excited to revisit the classic film on the big screen. Suffice to say, it did not disappoint. I’m certainly a little biased here–I have a weakness for coming-of-age stories where the main character befriends a fantastical creature who must leave by the end of the film, as well as literally anything scored by John Williams–but E.T. is one of those movies that’s stuck around in the public’s eye for a reason. There’s an inexplicably magical quality to the movie, one that permeates nearly every scene, from the first encounter in the cornfield to E.T.’s house tour to the iconic bicycle chase to the final, tearful goodbye in the woods. Spielberg’s ability to capture childlike innocence in both Elliot and E.T. is incredible, and it adds a layer of palpable nostalgia to an already-nostalgic film. Certain bizarre plot choices, such as that sequence where E.T. gets Elliot drunk through telepathic connection, hold the film from that masterpiece title. But this is still one of the best family films ever made, and one that’s just as remarkable and emotionally potent as it was forty years ago.


  1. Nope


Since his debut feature, Get Out, Jordan Peele has been one of the most well-respected voices in Hollywood, making a name for himself through horror films infused with timely social commentary. His latest picture, Nope, a thriller centered around some form of alien invasion, had a ton of excitement surrounding its release. Press for the film leaked little to no details about the plot, leading to massive amounts of speculation from fans. Unfortunately, such high hopes may have been a double-edged sword. Nope premiered to good, but not great, reviews, with many critics and fans claiming the film was slow-moving, underwhelming, or simply not scary.

I think much of Nope’s divisiveness stems from its genre: this is a drama first and a horror movie second. While there are some genuine thrills to be found throughout the film (one scene in particular involving a chimpanzee in a birthday hat was more disturbing than any I’ve seen this year), but Jordan Peele was much more interested in exploring complex sibling dynamics and the evils of Hollywood than extraterrestrial terror. His two leads, OJ and Emerald (played by a perfectly cast Daniel Kaluuyah and Keke Palmer) are real people, not horror movie fodder, and the intricacies or their relationship with their father, their horse ranch, and each other are the true focus of Nope. Both act as an anchor through the madness the film eventually devolves into, keeping this tale of  flying terror planted firmly on the ground. Much like Elvis, Nope is a little guilty of trying to accomplish too much, with certain plotlines and characters either feeling underdeveloped or slightly self-indulgent. And yet, I’m still very glad the movie took as many risks as it did, even if not all paid off; it helps give this film an exciting, original feel. And perhaps original is the best word to describe Nopeit throws the horror, comedy, drama, action, and arthouse genres into a blender, and the results are unlike any other film I’ve seen this year.


  1. Everything Everywhere All at Once


I had heard a ton of early praise for Everything Everywhere All at Once when it premiered, all of it ranging from “really fun sci-fi film” to “one of the best movies of all time.” Praise like that is worth a two-hour trip to the movie theater, so I visited Regal for an 8:40 showing, trying to curb my expectations slightly and accept this movie wouldn’t be as monumental as reviews suggested, as critics more often than not are prone to over-exaggeration. I couldn’t be happier that this wasn’t the case.

Everything Everywhere All at Once, directed by the director duo Daniels (Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert), is a special movie. It begins and ends with a woman named Evelyn Wang (an Oscar-worthy Michelle Yeoh) doing her taxes. She and her husband, Waymond, own a struggling laundromat together, and an upcoming audit threatens to destroy the life they’ve precariously built for themselves. This is a film best seen with little to no prior knowledge, so I’ll simply say that when meeting with their auditor, Evelyn has an otherworldly encounter that forces her to become a hero–even if that’s the last thing she wants to be. Everything is a film that feels like it could spin out of control at any second, but the Daniels duo manages to hold everything together, balancing action with comedy with devastating emotion and pulling you along for the ride. The title of the film is less of a hint to the ensuing plot and more of a warning–this is a two-hour assault on the senses, throwing every possible twist and gag and punch and explosion it can at you and seeing what sticks. Thankfully, nearly everything does, and by the time the film reaches its gut-wrenching climax, you feel like you’ve truly journeyed through the universe and back. Everything Everywhere All at Once is a one-of-a-kind film, and I don’t think it’s an embellishment to say it’s one of the best I’ve ever seen. Immediately after the (second) credits began to roll during my watch, I bought myself tickets to see it again the next night. It’s one of those movies.