Below is this summer's fool-proof guide to sounding smarter than you actually are.
May 10: The Great Gatsby
The Great Gatsby can go really one of two ways:
1. It'll be the movie of the year. Leo DiCaprio will be the perfect actor to take on the enigmatic Gatsby. Director Baz Luhrmann will bring the appropriately glitzy look needed to tell a tale of 1920s excess. And the plot will balance the love story convention in the book with its broader message.
2. It'll be an amazing failure. On the surface, the film is insane. It's a 3D adaptation of the best book of the 20th century—featuring a score by Jay-Z.
Regardless, this should be one of the most exciting movies of the year.
April 26: Mud
Matthew McConaughey plays a fugitive who becomes friends with two teenage boys. Mr. Alright Alright Alright has turned his career around after that awful spurt of romantic comedies, so this could be an interesting flick to see. Especially if McConaughey turns in another Killer Joe-good role. (Note: Do not ever watch Killer Joe with a female. It's unspeakably violent.)
May 24: Before Midnight
The third in a trilogy of films that are, simply, about a guy and a girl spending two days talking to each other, Before Midnight is not exactly going to be a movie that you talk about at the frat house. But, odds are, the Richard Linklater flick will be one of the best written all year.
July 5: The Way Way Back
This coming-of-age film starring Steve Carell and relatively unknowns AnnaSophia Robb and Liam James received quality Sundance reviews. Many favorably compared the plot to 2009’s underrated Adventureland—although that may be due mostly to the shared amusement park settings. We'll see. I'm intrigued by Carrell's incredible dickishness in the trailer.