It’s been a great year for summer films, not only for blockbusters, but also for smaller and otherwise under the radar films that debuted to great critical success—and for some, box office—success. It’s also been a surprisingly good summer for Netflix; both Set It Up and To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before received positive critical and audience reactions, a step up from some of their less desirable work.


The summer hasn’t been without disappointments, both financially and critically, though. The John Wick-inspired Hotel Artemis suffered bad reviews and a worse box office, Billionaire Boys Club had a great cast but unfortunately also starred a pre-#MeToo Kevin Spacey, so lack of promotion led to unmitigated box office disaster, and Slender Man ended up a bore because of the internal studio controversy leading up to its release.

Thankfully, there are plenty of positives to celebrate. This summer saw the rise of some new figures in film who will undoubtedly continue to churn out great work in the future. On the directing side of things, Ari Aster, Boots Riley, and Bo Burnham proved themselves to be strong cinematic voices with their well-received debuts. Acting-wise, Tessa Thompson cemented her reign in 2018 that started with Annihilation and continued with her role in Sorry To Bother You. Lakeith Stanfield proved that his talents for absurdity extend beyond Atlanta in Sorry To Bother You, further cementing his persona as the unlikely everyman. All of this new talent contributed to one of the better summers for film in recent years.

There were a lot of great under the radar gems this year. These are the best movies that you may have missed this summer.