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The Best Summer Movies (Non-Blockbuster Division)



Last weekend marked the official unofficial start of summer, and you know what that means — crappy overcooked summer blockbusters. If you were already wary of explosions and aliens even before the season started, we've got a list of finely crafted, high-quality films, all certified robot and pirate free.


Submarine
This story of a 15-year-old with two missions—to lose his virginity to a pyromaniac girl and to prevent his mother from having an affair with a van-driving weirdo—combines Rushmore-style quirk with arty French New Wave filmmaking technique. Opens this Friday.


The Trip
Adapted from a BBC series, The Trip follows the squabbles of comedians Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon as they tour the restaurants of northern England on a newspaper assignment. Their dueling Michael Caine impressions have already become a YouTube classic. Opens June 10.


A Better Life
A Mexican day laborer struggles to keep his son from falling into East L.A. gang culture. Yes, it sounds like a recipe for preachy melodrama, but director Chris Weitz (About a Boy) delivers a film about the plight of illegal immigrants that's smart, gritty, and nuanced. Opens June 24.


Terri
This antidote to Glee's slick vision of teenage angst (where even the gawkiest kids are attractive) revolves around an obese, bullied loner who forges an unlikely friendship with his vice principal (John C. Reilly)—and, instead of achieving high-school popularity, finds solace among the oddballs. Opens July 1.


Project Nim
Oscar winners James Marsh and Simon Chinn (Man on Wire) recount a controversial 1970s experiment in which scientists taught a chimp sign language, sadly producing a subject neither fully human nor animal. Opens July

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