This summer's hot flicks

Summer School Zone writer Daniel Gonzalez selected two of his favorite films of the summer.

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  • | 11:55 a.m. August 10, 2023
  • West Orange Times & Observer
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This summer has been packed with some of the greatest movies to come out in years. Films like “Barbie,” “The Little Mermaid,” “Elemental” and more have been released, proving why you should hit the theaters this month.

Some of my personal favorites this year are Wes Anderson's “Asteroid City” and the long-awaited “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse.”


In June, Wes Anderson debuted his Western-style film titled “Asteroid City,” about visitors who went to the Junior Stargazer convention to watch and compete in but suddenly get placed under quarantine due to a mysterious alien disrupting the event.

The film follows Augie Steenbeck, a war photojournalist, with his son and three daughters; son Woodrow competes in the Junior Stargazer event. Compared to Anderson’s previous works, he uses a broader cast this time around with actors such as Tom Hanks, Maya Hawke, Scarlett Johansson and Bryan Cranston. He also uses his constant returning actors, such as the main lead, Jason Schwartzman, Adrien Brody and Willem Dafoe, who all have appeared in Anderson's earlier works.

One of the special highlights from Anderson is how he set up the scenes perfectly and captured the feeling of a 1950s desert town. All of the sets he used were made from scratch, with no CGI use whatsoever. His props included vintage-designed shops and pastel-colored interiors to immerse the viewer into the small sci-fi town.

The lively feeling of the town is crucial, as “Asteroid City” is a play within a play, which could be confusing but engages the audience as it allows for breaks within the movie.

If you are looking for a more thought-provoking movie that leaves the audience open for answers, this movie is a must-watch. The quirkiness and slow pace served the movie as one of the top hits for this hot summer.

The movie will be available for streaming on Peacock starting Aug. 11.


After a long five years from the previous Spider-Man movie, “Across the Spider-Verse” was released June 2 and was all the talk at the beginning of summer. This movie, above all animated films, has the best visuals and style that attracts anyone from a Spider-Man fanatic to a casual movie watcher.

The movie begins with the story of Spider-Gwen and keeping her “Spider-Woman” identity from her father. The intro progressed into Gwen interacting with Miles and meeting other Spider-Men from different universes.

My favorite part of the movie as a whole is the different art styles being used in every scene. The attention of detail is magnificent, and there are so many Easter eggs that are placed in plain sight.

The best example of this switch is Hobie Brown, who is constantly switching color palettes and is animated in a punk-rock style. Every scene Brown appears in adds so much variety to the action-packed scenes and appears differently from any other Spider-Man, which is exactly the character he is.

A final personal favorite part of mine is the diversity of Spider-Man throughout every universe. Everyone will be able to enjoy the different ethnicities and races from the movie, such as Miles being Puerto Rican and black, which I appreciate, as I am Latino. Other characters such as Miguel, who is Mexican, and Pavitr Prabhakar, an Indian Spider-Man, also play a main part of the story. Their tradition and heritage can be seen especially as they enter Mumbai, a city in India. Miles’ tradition is also found through their parents and a roof-top party with Puerto Rican dishes.


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