The Guide To Your Non-Blockbuster Summer

By  · Published on April 30th, 2015

Summer starts tomorrow with a gloriously loud bang. Avengers: Age of Ultron is upon us, and it’s both the epitome of a modern superhero blockbuster and the tip of the spandex iceberg. For all those looking for respite from all the explosions, this list should provide a safe haven.

It should also provide proof that there are still all kinds of movies being made. Some of them might be coming to a thousand theaters, but hopefully VOD and your couch can help us out.

On that same note, if you have some non-blockbuster counter programming suggestions, please share them in the comments for the benefit of everyone trying to escape the summer heat.

Far From The Madding Crowd

When: May 1st

Who: Directed by Thomas Vinterberg (The Hunt); starring Carey Mulligan and Matthias Schoenaerts

The Pitch: A classic Thomas Hardy novel gets another adaptation, this time benefiting from the nuanced eye of Vinterberg, crafting a gorgeous new look at an unruly politeness-play about a love quadrangle.

Welcome to Me

When: May 1st

Who: Directed by Shira Piven; starring Kristen Wiig, James Marsden and an ensemble of thousands

The Pitch: Wiig continues a streak of interesting, low-profile projects with the story of a woman on psych medication who dumps the pills and buys her own talk show after she wins the lottery.

Saint Laurent

When: May 8th

Who: Directed by Bertrand Bonello; starring Gaspar Ulliel and Lea Seydoux

The Pitch: A biopic of the rumor-creating designer that Dan called a “luxurious, seductive masterpiece.”


When: May 8th

Who: Directed by Henry Hobson; starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Abigail Breslin

The Pitch: Should Arnold kill his zombie or try to save her?

Every Secret Thing

When: May 15th

Who: Directed by Amy Berg (West of Memphis); written by Nicole Holofcener; starring Elizabeth Banks and Diane Lane

The Pitch: The same week her directorial debut Pitch Perfect 2 lands, Banks stars in Gone Girl-esque mystery involving a kidnapped baby and two young women who’ve served jail time for killing a child.

Slow West

When: May 15th

Who: Directed by John Maclean; starring Michael Fassbender and Kodi Smit-McPhee

The Pitch: A classic style western with a few tricks up its sleeve, featuring a young man traversing treacherous land, accompanied by a gruff stranger.

The Connection

When: May 15th

Who: Directed Cedric Jiminez; starring Jean Dujardin and Gilles Lellouche

The Pitch: It’s like The French Connection, but French. And Belgian. Based on true events that saw heroin smuggled to the United States via Turkey, France and Canada, it looks like an intense take on an intense subject.

Sunshine Superman

When: May 22nd

Who: Directed by Marah Strauch

The Pitch: An adrenaline-fueled documentary about Carl Boenish, the father of the BASE jumping movement, and a man who wanted to jump off everything. I can only assume it makes a perfect companion to Man on Wire.


When: May 29th

Who: Directed by Cameron Crowe; starring Emma Stone, Rachel McAdams and Bradley Cooper

The Pitch: Rocket Raccoon is embroiled in the middle of a rocky past and problematic future as a military contractor who returns to Hawaii to confront an ex-girlfriend and the biggest failure of his career. The most mainstream pic on this list. So sue me.


When: May 29th

Who: Directed by Andrew Bujalski; starring Kevin Corrigan, Cobie Smulders and Guy Pearce

The Pitch: Romantic entanglement and insane people. Bujalski seems firmly out of the Mumblecore label at this point, and this looks both glossy and absurdly funny.

Coming Soon: Non-blockbuster films for June and July

See also: The 15 Must-See Movies of Summer 2015

Movie stuff at VanityFair, Thrillist, IndieWire, Film School Rejects, and The Broken Projector Podcast@brokenprojector | Writing short stories at Adventitious.