To be frank, this summer felt like a bit of a letdown for movies. Sure, Moonrise Kingdom was phenomenal, The Dark Knight Rises felt like a satisfying (if sloppy end) to the series, and Magic Mike presented a shockingly nuanced and thoughtful take on the economics of 21st century America for a picture about a male stripper. (Gotta love Soderbergh.) That said, did anyone really care about Men in Black 3? While many of the big releases left us unsatisfied, there were still a ton of sleepers that really impressed us with one general constant – they were all really weird. On that note, here are the weirdest movies of the summer that are actually well worth your time.
Jack Black is absolutely incredible as an East Texas mortician whose story begins when he befriends the meanest old lady in town (Shirley MacLaine, naturally). We won’t reveal where Bernie goes, except to say it feels like the always interesting Richard Linklater’s take on Fargo, bathed in a different kind of regional twang and almost entirely devoid of cynicism. If you’ve ever wanted to see a genuinely sweet and gentle dark comedy about murder, this is the movie for you.
When did this become the year of Matthew McConaughey? Everybody’s favorite stoned walking punchline/bongo player has absolutely crushed it in 2012 with strong, diverse turns in autuerist fare like Magic Mike and Bernie. Yet his best work to date (and what may be the best performance of the year so far) comes William Friedkin’s adaptation of Tracy Letts’ deeply disturbed, frequently hilarious trailer park noir. Killer Joe earns its NC-17, presents an unrepentantly cynical view of humanity, and prevents you from ever being able to look at a leg of fried chicken the same way again. But if we may say so ourselves, the results are still finger-lickin’ good.
None of us ever expected to see a David Cronenberg film prominently feature a sequence involving Robert Pattinson getting the world’s longest prostate exam in the back of his limo while conversing with an underling about the nature of capitalism, but here we are. Cosmopolis is one very weird movie, to be sure, and it’s most definitely not for everyone, but there’s something undeniably interesting about Cronenberg’s deadpan dissertation on the absurdity of a society in which you can make money on other money. That Cronenberg and Pattinson managed to promote the movie at the New York Stock Exchange feels like the ultimate act of punk rock rebellion.
Rihanna says “Mahalo motherfucker” before shooting a missile at the face of an alien. A real-life legless Iraq war veteran punches an alien’s teeth out in slow motion. If you couldn’t tell already, Battleship is absolutely insane, and we haven’t even gotten to the third act twist that shoots the movie into a whole other stratosphere of glorious batshit madness that is very appropriately accompanied by a note-perfect use of “Thunderstruck.” Maybe it’s just an example of big-budget filmmaking gone horribly awry, or maybe it’s really a subversive, avant-garde satire (it’s an unabashedly pro-military film where the end credits are set to “Fortunate Son”!), but all we know is, at one point, our heroes literally play Battleship against the aliens. Yes indeed.