The year is full of all sorts of different seasons of movies. From Oscar season, to the holiday season, and even late fall season which is usually full of films gear towards teenagers.  But the biggest season of all is the summer blockbuster season which used to not kick off until Memorial Day weekend, but has since expanded to the beginning of May.  And with May just around the corner, the summer blockbusters are about to begin next week with Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol 2.

Last year was sort of a slow year for movies.  We had a few really good ones, but few and far between.  But this year, the summer seems jam packed with sequels, R-rated comedies, adaptations, and originals.  There’s even a few low-key films you may want to keep an eye out for which could surprise you.  Until then, here’s my top 20 list summer blockbuster films I’m most excited for! (All release dates are subject to change.)

Cars

20. Cars 3 – June 16, Rated G.  Director: Brian Fee.  Voices: Owen Wilson, Larry the Cable Guy, Armie Hammer, and Nathan Fillion.

If you know me, you know I HATE the Cars series from Pixar.  To me, it’s nothing more than movies made for toys with bad characters.  Then the first teaser came out and the realistic grittiness of it had me thinking that Pixar may have finally righted their wrong.  The newest trailer definitely has kept my interest, and I may even see this in theaters, but I’m still not happy about the whole boxer-style plot line.

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19. The Hero June 9, Rated R.  Director: Brett Haley.  Starring: Sam Elliot, Laura Prepon, Krysten Ritter, and Nick Offerman.

Fun fact, I had my list set until I came across this trailer and it bumped my #20 right off.  Sam Elliot stars in this Sundance film about an ailing actor coming to grips with his career trailing off, the legacy he’s left behind, and the current life he lives.  The cast line up is pretty much a enough to sell me on seeing this, regardless of the plot, but the trailer brought me in tenfold.  This film could be a very good drama or fall flat on its face.  Either way, I’ll probably see it if it has a wide release.

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18. Transformers: The Last Knight – June 23, Most likely rated PG-13.  Director: Michael Bay (Enough said…)  Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Anthony Hopkins, John Goodman, and Stanley Tucci.

I used to be a pretty big fan of the Transformers series.  I looked passed the bad writing of the second film and quite enjoy 1 and 3.  But Age of Extinction let me down big time and I just can’t get over how bad of a film it was.  I have a feeling The Last Knight will be on the same caliber of the last.  I hate myself because I know I’m going to end of seeing this film, most likely in IMAX, and it’s going to be eye-porn, but probably really bad at the same time. Anthony Hopkins and John Goodman could be just enough to be the saving grace of the film, which is why I have this ranked at #18.

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17. The Emoji Movie – July 28, Not yet rated.  Director: Tony Leondis (Igor, Lilo & Stitch 2).  Voices:  T.J. Miller, Anna Faris, Sofia Vergara, Patrick Stewart, Jennifer Coolidge, James Corden, Maya Rudolph, and Rob Riggle.

When The Emoji Movie was announced, I’m sure just like me, you rolled your eyes.  And of course, we all probably thought, “Sounds like Inside Out.”  But with this cast and T.J. Miller leading it, this could be a surprise hit.  The trailer definitely has me wanting more, but my opinions are on the fence until then.   Regardless, this may be good for a few late summer chuckles.

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16. The Wall – May 12, Rated R.  Director: Doug Liman (The Bourne Identity, Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Edge of Tomorrow).  Starring: John Cena and Aaron Taylor-Johnson.

The Wall is a war film about two American snipers who get pinned behind a wall by an Iraqi sniper.  This could easily be the sneaky-good war film of the year.  It’s produced by Amazon Studios, who’s really starting to rack up a good lineup of produced films; hello Manchester by the Sea.  Plus, it’s directed by Doug Liman, so you know the action will be there.  And after seeing the trailer, I know the suspense will be there as well. But it’ll probably have a limited release, so keep an eye out for this one.

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15. The Mummy – June 9, Most likely PG-13. Director: Alex Kurtzman.  Starring: Tom Cruise, Russell Crowe, Sofia Boutella.

Universal will be starting off its own monster universe with a reboot of The Mummy.  The film looks to be heading in a complete opposite direction of Brendan Fraser’s series with it being set in modern times.  Sofia Boutella will be playing our female mummy, Ahmenet, and Russell Crowe will be joining the universe as Dr. Jekyll.  Of course with Tom Cruise involved, we can expect to see some great action scenes.  I’m hoping for a pretty quality film because I definitely want to see where Universal takes their new monster universe.

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14. The House – June 30, Rated R.  Director: Andrew Jay Cohen (Writer: Neighbors, Neighbors 2, Mike & Dave Need Wedding Dates).  Starring: Will Ferrell, Amy Poehler, Allison Tolman, Jason Mantsouka.

When mom and dad need to get money to be able to afford their daughter’s college tuition, their friend convinces them to open an illegal casino in his basement.   Taking notes from all of the classic mobster and casino films, they do their best to make it as legitimate as possible.  And of course hilarity ensues. As a general rule, I stay away from Will Ferrell movies.  I just never seem to find them that funny, with few exceptions.  But The House looks like the perfect combination of cast, plot, and the right style of humor.  I’ve seen the trailer multiple times and it makes me laugh every time.  Assuming (hoping?) they haven’t shown the best parts in the trailer, The House could prove to be Will Ferrell’s next hit.

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13. Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie – June 2, Rated PG.  Director: David Soren (Turbo).  Voices: Kevin Hart, Jordan Peele, Ed Helms, Nick Kroll, and Kristen Schaal.

Two child pranksters hypnotize their principal into thinking he’s a ridiculously enthusiastic, dimwitted superhero named Captain Underpants.  This movie is a no brainer for any animation studio.  And honestly, I can’t believe it took this long to adapt the series.  If you were a child anytime in the last 15 years, you’re probably familiar with the Captain Underpants comic book series.  When I first saw this film was coming, I merely chuckled, but the trailer had me really laughing.  The voice casting seems perfect and I couldn’t be happier with the animation style they chose for it.  If this proves a success for DreamWorks, I have a feeling we’ll be seeing a lot more of Captain Underpants!

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12. All Eyez on Me – June 16, Rated R.  Director: Benny Boom (48 Hours to Live, S.W.A.T.: Firefight).  Starring: Demetrius Shipp Jr., Danai Gurira, Kat Graham, and Jamal Woolard.

The true and untold story of rapper, actor, poet, and activist Tupac Shakur! This movie came out of nowhere for me.  I vaguely remember reading about it, thinking it could be interesting and moved on with my life.  Then I saw the trailer while doing research for this article and the film instantly jumped high on my list of movies to see.  It definitely has the potential to be the next Straight Outta Compton.  And thanks to its relatively unknown cast and a director who hasn’t done much, it sounds like a no lose situation for the studio.  With the right marketing, this could be a big win for them and a surprise hit of the summer.

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11. Rough Night – June 16, Most likely rated R.  Director: Lucia Aniello.  Starring: Scarlett Johansson, Kate McKinnon, Zoe Kravitz, Jillian Bell, and Ilana Glazer.

Five best friends gather together for the perfect bachelorette weekend. Only, after a male stripper ends up dead in their Miami beach house due to an accident, everything falls apart.  Rough Night is going to be the raunchy female comedy of the summer.  It has a killer cast (all the puns) and the red band trailer has me cracking up every single time I see it.  The risk with those trailers is there comes a chance we’ve seen all the best parts, but I’m willing to take the gamble.  I’ve also had a sneaky crush on Jillian Bell since I saw her for the first time in 22 Jump Street and ever since then, I’ve loved her in everything I’ve seen her in; and I’m very excited to see her in a larger role.

Congrats!  You’ve made it to the top ten.

10. Wonder Woman – June 2, Rated PG-13.  Director: Patty Jenkins (Monster, Arrested Developoment).  Starring: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Robin Wright, David Thewlis.

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DC Films are at it again this year continuing their DCEU with Wonder Woman. Diana is a trained princess of the Amazons, but when a pilot crashes and tells of the conflicts in the outside world, she leaves home to fight.  Thus, she discovers her full powers, true destiny, and becomes Wonder Woman.  This is the first of two releases from DC with Justice League coming out later in 2017.  The film has had only moderate advertising compared to their other films and I honestly don’t know much about the character.  But from the little bits I’ve seen and from her small role in BvS, I’m really looking forward to seeing this WWI comic book film and exploring the WW character as whole.  Let’s hope WB has pulled it together and really given us a solid film this time.  No more extended cuts!

9.  The Dark Tower – August 4, Not yet rated.  Director: Nikolaj Arcel.  Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Idris Elba, Jackie Earle Haley.

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The Dark Tower series is just a wow for Stephen King fans.  It’s basically considered his opus.   Covering seven books, multiple comics, and using characters from his other major novels interwoven throughout, the series is considered a masterpiece by many; and a crazy undertaking by film studios!  (It almost never came to be.)  The film is actually produced by Ron Howard and Stephen King himself and is the first of two King adaptations this year. (Stephen King’s IT releases in September.)  It’s challenging to explain what the series is about, other than Roland the Gunslinger (Elba) is in pursuit of the Man in Black (McConaughey), all the while searching for the Dark Tower in hopes of saving his world.  The kicker is our world and his connect and characters come and go between them.

Initial reports of how they planned to adapt the series were Howard was attempting to make film and television series adaptions which would coincide.  But since this film is titled as just The Dark Tower, it’ll be interesting to see how they move forward with the project.  Apparently, this film takes place after the book series itself, in one way that could be helpful so as to not compare to the books, but in another, it might be one big disaster.

8. Despicable M3 – June 30, Rated PG. Directors: Kyle Balda, Pierre Coffin, Eric Guillon (Despicable Me 1 & 2, The Lorax, Minions).  Voices: Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Trey Parker, Steve Coogan, Jenny Slate, and Russell Brand.

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Gru, Minions, the daughters, and that voice cast. Oh, and Gru and a brother named Dru… Need I say more?  Aside from The Minions standalone film, I’ve loved this series from day one.  The first trailer got me really excited to see an 80s themed villain and I can’t wait to see how creative they got with their gadgets in this sequel.  The addition of his brother initially threw me off, but the series really has been all about family all along, so it shouldn’t have surprised me.  The trailers have really made me laugh, as they should.  Plus, Trey Parker, enough said.  Hoping for a pretty solid trilogy here.

7. Baby Driver – June 28, Not yet rated.  Director: Edgar Wright (Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Hot Fuzz, Shaun of the Dead).  Starring: Ansel Elgort, Lily James, Jon Hamm, Jamie Foxx, Kevin Spacey, and Jon Bernthal.

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Another film you may not be familiar with yet, but you’ll want to be.  Baby Driver is about a getaway driver who’s gotten involved with a crime boss and hired for a job that seems destined for fail.  Seems simple enough, but see that cast?  And the director attached?!  You’re welcome.   The movie is sure to be full of great car chase scenes and lots of humor.  The trailer alone has me cracking up.  Plus, Foxx and Spacey?  For me, that’s all I need.  The rest is a bonus.  A big, big bonus!

6. Baywatch – May 26, Rated R.  Director: Seth Gordon (Horrible Bosses, Identity Thief, The Goldbergs).  Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Zac Efron, and Alexandra Daddario.

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It may be #6, but it’s my #1 pick for R-rated comedy of the summer!  Devoted lifeguard Mitch Buchanan doesn’t get along with new recruit, Matt Brody.  But together, they uncover a local crime plot which could threaten the future of the Bay.  Dwayne Johnson just can’t seem to do wrong lately.  (We’ll forgive him for San Andres.)  And Zac Efron continues to surprise and entertain me in films.  When Baywatch was first announced, I was weary and very unsure of which way they would be taking the film.  But when I saw R-rated comedy, I was shockingly and delightfully surprised.

As a big fan of the Horrible Bosses series, Seth Gordon is probably a perfect choice for directing this film.  And I can’t wait to see Johnson in this kind of comedy.  Plus, I can already tell him and Efron will have great screen chemistry.   I think Baywatch will be a film everyone can enjoy and have a good laugh at.  Big expectations for this.  Don’t let me down Rock!

5. War for the Planet of the Apes – July 14, Most likely rated PG-13. Director: Matt Reeves (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Let Me In, Cloverfield).  Starring: Andy Serkis, Woody Harrelson, Judy Greer, and Steve Zahn.

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This is it (I hope).  The one I’ve been waiting for since Rise of the Planet of the Apes.  The war is here and it’s time to see who wins. Andy Serkis has done an amazing job with his role as Caesar and I’m ecstatic we have Woody Harrelson joining us in the cast. From what we’ve seen, we can expect some incredible battle sequences and great suspense between the humans and apes.  Dawn of the Planet of the Apes was a terrific film and I’m glad Matt Reeves came back for the third installment of the series.  I’m hoping for a complete trilogy here.

 4. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales – May 26, Rated PG-13.  Directors: Joachim Ronning and Espen Sandberg (Kon-Tiki).  Starring: Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush, Javier Bardem, and Orlando Bloom.

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Another film on the list ending a series.  Pirates has been a decently strong series since its home run of a film The Curse of the Black Pearl.  Audiences have fallen in love with Captain Jack Sparrow and it’ll be hard to see him go.  The series has had its low parts and we all have disagreements on which is the weakest film, but it looks like Dead Men Tell No Tales (IT TOOK FIVE FILMS TO USE THAT PHRASE!) will actually be returning to the roots of the series.  Bloom is back and there’s ever reports of Ms. Knightly returning as well.  We’ll get a chance to learn more about Sparrow at a younger age and perhaps even see Will Turner’s son!  I can’t think of a better way to start the holiday weekend. Let’s hope the series truly goes out with a canon blast!  Now, where’s my rum?

3. Spider-Man: Homecoming – July 7, Rated PG-13.  Director: Jon Watts (Cop Car).  Starring: Tom Holland, Michael Keaton, Marisa Tomei, and Robert Downey Jr.

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SPIDER-MAN IS BACK WITH MARVEL!….sort of, half way, they’re sharing.  Doesn’t matter! Spider-Man is in the MCU now and we get to enjoy all the benefits.  Rebooting the series for the second time, Tom Holland returns as Spider-Man, but this time in his own solo film!  Co-starring Michael Keaton, noting his return to the comic book films, as The Vulture, Spider-Man’s first major villain.  I shouldn’t need to say more about this other than we’re all incredibly excited to see how Marvel handles their own property.  But if the scenes from Captain America: Civil War are any indication, I think were in good hands.

2. Alien: Covenant – May 19, Rated R.  Director: Ridley Scott (Alien, The Martian, Promethus).  Starring: Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston, James Franco, Noomie Rapace, Billy Crudup, and Danny McBride.

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The film which should have been Paradise actually became Alien: Covenant, but that’s okay! Ridley Scott is back directing another Alien film and I could not be more ecstatic.  In this sequel to Prometheus, which is still a prequel to Alien (still following?), the crew of a ship named Covenant are destined for colonization on a remote planet on the far side of the galaxy when they discover what they believe is uncharted paradise.  Soon they unearth an incredible threat and must attempt a harrowing escape!

So, is this really Paradise renamed or is that sequel still in our future?  Will this film answer our questions of what happened to Elizabeth Shaw at the end of Prometheus? And how has the deacon evolved more since we last saw it at the end of the last film. There are so many questions we hope to have answered with this sequel which looks jam packed of suspense and action.  It’ll be a glorious thing to be able to see the alien creatures back on the big screen after 20 years (not counting those abominations we call AvP.)

Runner-Ups

The Bleeder – May 5, Rated R. Director: Phillippe Falardeau (The Good Life). Starring: Liev Schreiber, Ron Pearlman, Naomi Watts, and Elisabeth Moss.  The true story of heavyweight boxer Chuck Wepner, the inspiration of Rocky Balboa!

Drone – May 26, Not not rated.  Director: Jason Bourque.  Starring: Sean Bean, Mary McCormac, and Patrick Sabongui.  Sean Bean’s character is a military drone contractor, unbeknownst to his family.  But when a whistle blowing site exposes him, a Pakistani, believing Bean to be the reason behind the death of his wife and child, tracks him down for a major confrontation.

A Ghost Story – July 7, Not yet rated.  Director: David Lowery (Pete’s Dragon [2016]). Starring: Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara. In this mesmerizing drama, a recently deceased, white-sheeted ghost returns to his home to try and reconnect with his bereft wife.

Atomic Blonde – July 28, Not yet rated.  Director: David Leitch (John Wick, Deadpool: No Good Deed).  Starring: Charlieze Theron, James McAvoy, and Sofia Boutella.  This major hand to hand combat action flick focuses on Agent Lorraine Broughton, equal parts spycraft, sensuality, and savagery.  Sent to Berlin to investigate the murder of a fellow agent, she partners with embedded station chief David Percival (McAvoy) to help her though the game of spies. 

Detroit – August 4, Not yet rated.  Director: Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker, Zero Dark Thirty).  Starring: John Boyega, Anthony Mackie, Algee Smith, Jacob Latimore. Based on the true story of the major police raid in Detroit back in 1967. 

1.Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 – May 5, Rated PG-13. Director: James Gunn (Guardians of the Galaxy, Super).  Starring: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Michael Rooker, and Kurt Russell.

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Honestly, this probably isn’t a surprise.  Especially considering the site you’re reading this one. But here’s the thing, Guardians of the Galaxy was such a surprise for me.  I knew absolutely nothing about any of these characters before I saw the first film and it blew me the hell away in every way.  To say I have high expectations for its sequel doesn’t even come close to how excited I am for this movie.  I’m ready to see this bunch of A-holes back together and help save the galaxy once again.  Don’t forget to stay for the FIVE credits scenes!  Fingers crossed for Howard the Duck.

And there you have it geeks.  My top 20 line up. What do you think?  Do you agree with my order?  Which ones surprised you?  I know I surprised myself with a few.  What’s your #1 pick?  Let us know in the comments!

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