Was it worth it? Best films and TV from the summer

Anna Ford, Bradley Earnshaw, Eriq Dixon, and Lanie Padgett

Whether in theaters or on streaming platforms, this summer had a lot to offer when it comes to great entertainment. After spending summer break away, The Seahawk decided to take a look at some of the films and TV we were unable to cover. Staff writers Anna Ford, Bradley Earnshaw, Eriq Dixon and Lanie Padgett have compiled a list of the best of the summer, each with a summary and spoiler-free review.

“Top Gun: Maverick”

Released May 27 in theaters

Almost forty years after the release of the original “Top Gun,” its sequel reimagines what it means to be the best of the best as it brings Captain Pete Mitchell, call sign Maverick, (Tom Cruise) back to his roots for one last flight. When five friends accompany the infamous Maverick on a flight with dangerous terrain, little time and minimal training, they must come together to save themselves and each other from their fears while defeating enemy aircraft and destroying a titanium plant. Complete with a swoon-worthy cast including Cruise, Miles Teller and Glen Powell, this movie tugs at the heartstrings as it parallels the original’s iconic bar scenes, builds suspense with a few close calls and reminds us just how much we love the volleyball scene. “Top Gun: Maverick” has something for everyone, combining everything we love about the original with a fresh storyline to keep fans wanting more. The sheer nostalgia makes it a worthwhile watch for any “Top Gun” fan, maybe even putting it in the running for a new favorite.


Released June 3 on Netflix

In what seems to be the peak of the Adam Sandler Renaissance, Jeremiah Zagar’s Netflix original film “Hustle” is yet another chapter in Sandler’s recent book of stellar performances. The film follows Stanley Sugerman (Adam Sandler), an international prospect-scout for the Philadelphia 76ers. Stanley finds himself in Spain where an exceptional player named Bo Cruz (Juancho Hernangómez) catches his eye. While Bo’s difficult history presents an obstacle from the past, another prospect Kermit Wilts (Anthony Edwards) is the real antagonist here, a sentiment aided by Edwards’ subtle yet infuriating delivery. “Hustle” showcases real basketball talent, brilliant fast-paced camera work, and a perfectly measured storyline that keeps viewers on the edge of their seat the whole time. Adam Sandler’s performance in particular is a great showcase of his ability to deliver hilarious lines as well as turn down the intensity in favor of the more motivational scenes. While there’s no shortage of NBA star power showcased throughout the film, the acting from the supporting cast as well as the “on-the-nose” nature of the film are the weakest aspects. However, this flick doesn’t pretend to be a cinematic masterpiece. “Hustle” is sure to have everyone begging for more basketball and more Adam Sandler.

“The Summer I Turned Pretty”

Released June 17 on Hulu

Based on the bestselling trilogy by author Jenny Han, “The Summer I Turned Pretty” follows teen Isabelle “Belly” Fisher (Lola Tung) as she navigates first love, new friendships and the intricacies of being a teen debutant. Caught between three boys – brothers Conrad (Christopher Briney) and Jeremiah (Gavin Casalegno) and town local Cam (David Iacono) – “The Summer I Turned Pretty” takes the typical love triangle and amplifies the tension to create a compelling and engaging narrative. Belly is pushed out of her comfort zones as she enters the world of debutantes and must decide who she wants to accompany her to the ball. Combining this tension with her childhood friendships and newfound romance will have audiences eagerly waiting to see the resolution. Filmed on Wrightsville Beach, the adaptation showcases themes of loss and growth against the backdrop of summer days by the ocean. Whether rooting for “Team Conrad,” “Team Jeremiah” or struggling somewhere in between, fans of contemporary romance and coming-of-age stories will be sure to enjoy this exciting show.


Released June 24 in theaters

Bringing in over $284 million since its release, “Elvis” is an engrossing tale of stardom for any audience. Narrated from the viewpoint of Elvis Presley’s manager, the biopic addresses the rise and fall of the late singer in an almost three-hour film. It includes immersive costumes, a star-studded soundtrack and montage-like filming by director Baz Luhrmann that are nothing short of extraordinary. The film takes the audience through twists and turns of Elvis’ personal life, most famous performances and struggle with addiction. The audience falls in love with Elvis all over again as we watch his rise to fame through the lens of his roots. Real footage of the singer-turned-actor makes the scenes come alive as Austin Butler (Elvis) and Tom Hanks (Colonel Tom Parker) star side-by-side in this thrilling yet heartbreaking adventure. Seeing the singer perform in real time allows the audience to re-experience something many have only heard in distant stories: just how captivating Elvis actually was. Addressing some mature themes as well, “Elvis” is a film that teens and adults of all ages will love and regard as a classic for generations to come.

“Where the Crawdads Sing”

Released July 15 in theaters

From Delia Owens’ bestselling novel comes a film adaptation of “Where the Crawdads Sing.” Produced by Reese Witherspoon, the film follows the life of Kya Clark (Daisy Edgar Jones), a girl who raises herself in the marshes of North Carolina after the disappearance of her family. When town legend Chase Andrews (Harris Dickinson) is found dead in the marsh, all eyes turn toward Kya–his former flame and town recluse–as the main suspect. Audiences watch as Kya’s life unfolds in tandem with the ongoing murder trial, making her more relatable and nuanced. In her second leading role, Edgar Jones establishes herself as a compelling dramatic actress through her portrayal of the many experiences Kya faces, including first love and classism. With an impactful score, beautiful nature scenery and a mystery that will keep audiences in suspense until the very end, “Where the Crawdads Sing” is the perfect film for fans of slow-burn murder mysteries and character-driven narratives.


Released July 22 in theaters

Jordan Peele is steadily becoming one of Hollywood’s most visionary horror directors following his directorial debut “Get Out” in 2017 and the terrifyingly creepy follow-up “Us” in 2019. Peele’s latest film “Nope” offers an experience that, in many ways, parallels his previous work but breaks away in its distinct mysterious feel. The film follows siblings Emerald (Keke Palmer) and OJ (Daniel Kaluuya) as they try to capture footage of a strange UFO that flies above their home. With an intriguing mystery at its core, as well as likable and funny characters as the focus, “Nope” is a horror comedy experience like no other. It’s wildly entertaining and filled with laughs and surprises but doesn’t shy away from what Peele arguably does best: horror. The film’s moments range from slightly unsettling to straight-up terrifying. Because the scarier elements blend so well with the comedic ones, it creates a perfect balance that helps make “Nope” a must-see for any movie fan.