The Underdog Summer Movies to Watch

In-between viewings of 'Fast X' and 'Indiana Jones,' keep your eye out for these promising non-blockbusters.


Blockbusters aren't the only reason to go to theaters over the next couple of months!

Summer 2023 will have plenty of entertaining, big-budget fare to offer, whether it be the returns of Indiana Jones, Mission: Impossible, and the Spider-Verse, but there are also some smaller films that deserve your attention.

From Jennifer Lawrence finding a boyfriend on Craigslist, to Mark Duplass and Sterling K. Brown being the last two men on Earth, here are eight non-IP vehicles worth driving to see in the near future.

You Hurt My Feelings (May 26)

Ten years after collaborating on the unbelievably sweet and underrated Enough Said, Oscar-nominated filmmaker Nicole Holofcener and Julia Louis-Dreyfus reunite for a new A24 dramedy. You Hurt My Feelings stars Louis-Dreyfus as a novelist whose marriage becomes strained when she discovers that her therapist husband (Tobias Menzies) hates her new book. And while Louis-Dreyfus and Menzies are perfectly matched, Michaela Watkins (Casual) and Arian Moayed (Succession) nearly steal the show.

Past Lives (June 2)

Playwright Celine Song makes her feature debut with Past Lives, a stirring romantic drama that is already garnering awards buzz. Greta Lee and Teo Yoo play Nora and Hae Sung, childhood friends who were separated when Nora’s family left South Korea. Now reunited 20 years later in New York City, they spend a fateful week together that leaves them wondering if their past is also their future.

God is a Bullet (June 23)

Director-actor Nick Cassavetes breaks away from romantic comedies with God is a Bullet, a crime, horror and thriller based on the novel by Boston Teran. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau plays Bob Hightower, a detective whose wife is murdered and whose daughter kidnapped by a satanic cult. With the help of an escaped cult victim, Case Hardin (Maika Monroe), Hightower infiltrates the cult and is led through a dark, twisty underworld to find his daughter. Jamie Foxx and January Jones also star.

No Hard Feelings (June 23)

During her Oscar-winning career, Jennifer Lawrence has done a bit of everything, except a raunchy, R-rated comedy—and, thankfully, that wait is almost over. Hailing from The Office alum Gene Stupnitsky, No Hard Feelings follows Lawrence’s Maddie, a young woman struggling to keep up with her bills, which leads to her answering a shocking Craigslist posting: In exchange for a new car, a rich couple wants her to date their socially awkward, yet extremely smart son. Joining Lawrence on this hilariously wild adventure are Andrew Barth Feldman, Laura Benanti, Natalie Morales, and Matthew Broderick.

Biosphere (July 7)

The feature debut from Mel Eslyn stars Sterling K. Brown and Mark Duplass as Ray and Billy, the last men on Earth, who live inside a biosphere, cut off from the post-apocalyptic world outside. But the world may not be exactly as it seems, and Ray and Billy are forced to undergo an evolution backed by faith, science and friendship to discover if there really is something else beyond the walls of their biosphere.

Joy Ride (July 7)

Crazy Rich Asians and Raya and the Last Dragon writer Adele Kim steps into the director’s chair for the crowd-pleasing comedy Joy Ride. Ashley Park, Sherry Cola, Sabrina Wu and recent Oscar-nominee Stephanie Hsu (Everything Everywhere All at Once) join forces to star as a group of friends who road trip around China in hopes of reuniting one of them with their birth mother. Warning: It will be a dangerously funny ride.

Bottoms (August 25)

Rachel Sennott stars as PJ and Ayo Edebiri as Josie in BOTTOMS
Rachel Sennott and Ayo Edebiri in 'Bottoms' (Photo courtesy of ORION Pictures Inc.)

Director Emma Seligman reunites with Shiva Baby star, Rachel Sennott, for her second feature. Bottoms follows PJ and Josie, unpopular high school girls portrayed by Sennott and Ayo Edebiri, who set up a "fight club" in a play to hook up with cheerleaders before graduation. The film debuted to rave reviews at SXSW, with many calling it a daring and hilarious high-school comedy unlike any other.

Bad Things (August 25)

Gayle Rankin in Bad Things
Gayle Rankin in 'Bad Things' (Photo courtesy of Tribeca Film Festival)

Often, the breakout horror films of the year come as complete surprises. Stewart Thorndike's Bad Things could fulfill that statement this summer. While little is known about Thorndike's film, Bad Things centers on a group of friends who stay at a hotel for a weekend getaway. Only the hotel isn't entirely what it seems, and the friends soon discover that the women there do bad things. What those things are? Well, we'll have to see it to find out.

Start your day with the biggest stories and exclusive reporting from The Messenger Morning, our weekday newsletter.
By signing up, you agree to our privacy policy and terms of use.
Sign Up.