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The Must-See Movies & TV Shows of Summer 2011

There’s more to look forward to this summer than just the warm weather, beach bumming, and boys in their baseball uniforms (not that we’re complaining about those!). The hottest season of the year also means girls’ nights in front of the TV watching The Bachelorette, and date nights cuddling in the movie theater next to your new summer beau. We all need something to distract us from our long days interning, or just to escape from the steamy, summer heat. While last year’s releases of Sex and the City 2 and Eclipse will be hard to beat, there’s a very good lineup to anticipate this summer. Whether your preference is living vicariously through the newest reality TV show, or wishing you were at Hogwarts, this summer has it all. Seriously, get excited collegiettes™, as we officially present to you this summer’s must-see movies and TV shows.

Summer 2011 Movies


Pirates of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

In theaters: May 20, 2011

Starring: Johnny Depp, Penelope Cruz, Geoffrey Rush

Start searching for your old Pirates of the Caribbean DVDs now; it was 2007 when we last saw dreamy Depp wearing his triangular-shaped hat over his long, braided hair. This movie will be different from the others, though, because former characters played by Keira Knightley and Orlando Bloom are not returning. In this “fourquel,” Depp’s character, Captain Jack Sparrow, will engage in a romance with a former flame, wondering if she’s actually in it for love, or if she’s just using him to find the Fountain of Youth.

The Hangover Part II

In theaters: May 26, 2011

Starring: Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis, Ed Helms and Justin Bartha

Two summers ago we watched Doug nearly miss his wedding after his bachelor party went awry. The comical group went to Las Vegas for his bachelor party and ended up getting kidnapped by the Asian mafia, knocked out by Mike Tyson, and hitched to a stripper. In this sequel they travel to Thailand for Stu’s (who married the stripper, but was engaged to the woman nobody liked) wedding. What can possibly go wrong on this trip? You’ll just have to wait to find out this summer. 


X-Men: First Class

Starring: James McAvoy, Nicholas Hoult, Lucas Till, Kevin Bacon

In theaters: June 3, 2011

Have you ever been curious to know how the first team of X-Men became friends? This movie takes a trip back in time to when the action-packed amigos first met at the Xavier Institute for Higher Learning. We meet the characters as they first begin to explore their mystical powers. This movie also provides an explanation for the everlasting war between Magneto’s Brotherhood and the X-men. 

Tree of Life

Starring: Brad Pitt, Sean Penn and Jessica Chastain

In theaters: June 2011, official date TBD

Any movie starring Brad Pitt is a given must-see for the summer. It doesn’t really matter what the plot is; his charming smile and blue eyes will be catching your eye this summer. The movie about three brothers in the Midwest in the 1950s showcases their family and life struggles. The main brother Jack, played by Sean Penn, is known as a “lost soul,” wandering in a modern world as an adult. But after he sees all that went into creating the world, he gains a new appreciation for life, allowing him to make amends with those from his past. It’s a movie that I’m predicting will leave you pondering your own life and acquiring a change-the-world kind of attitude.


Transformers: Dark of the Moon

In theaters: July 1, 2011

Starring: Shia LaBeouf, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Josh Duhamel

Even if you’re not an action-movie type of collegiette™, how could you ever say no to watching Shia LaBeouf on the big screen for a couple of hours? This threequel introduces a new character, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley playing Carly, instead of Megan Fox, who has previously appeared in the movie as Mikaela.  LaBeouf and Huntington-Whiteley will race to the moon and fight off new villains as the Decepticons seek revenge from last movie’s defeat. This will definitely be a good flick for a date night.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2

In theaters: July 15, 2011

Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson

This will definitely be a big summer for all of you Harry Potter fans, as the story of our favorite adolescent wizard will finally come to an end. This movie concludes the Harry Potter novel series written by J.K. Rowling. Harry is now left to deal with life after Dobby’s death and continues to battle with Voldemort. We hope you’ve dusted off your wizard hats and wands for this premiere. Get your tickets in advance, since this final installment of the mega-popular series is sure to bring hordes of fans eager for their final Potter fix.


Rise of the Planet of the Apes

In theaters: August 5, 2011

Starring: James Franco, Freida Pinto, John Lithgow, Andy Serkis

This movie puts a modern-day twist on the story about human-like apes taking over the world. A man’s scientific experiment with genetic engineering results in the creation of highly intelligent apes. These mammals go to war with humans as they fight for supremacy.

30 Minutes or Less

In theaters: August 12, 2011

Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Danny McBride and Aziz Ansari

Jesse Eisenberg plays Nick, a small town pizza guy with a boring, mundane life. His daily routine quickly turns exciting when he crosses paths with aspiring mastermind criminals. A little different from Eisenberg’s last film, in which he played social networking mogul, Mark Zuckerberg.

Other movies to look out for: Final Destination 5, Super 8, Thor 


Summer 2011 TV Shows


The Bachelorette

Starring: Ashley Hebert, One of Brad Womack’s final three women in the last Bachelor

On your TV screen: May 23, 2011

Last summer we followed Ali Fedotowsky fall in love with the irresistible Roberto. Will Ashley have the same luck at having a second chance at love? I hope so!

Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition

Starring: Reality TV stars

On your TV screen: May 30, 2011

A different twist to your usual cosmetic surgery-infused Extreme Makover, this season follows eight “super-obese” people as they embark on a journey, led by expert trainer Chris Powell, to shed half their weight. If you’re addicted to the Biggest Loser, this will be your perfect summer fix!


Switched at Birth

Starring: Katie Leclerc, Vanessa Marano, Marlee Matlin, Lea Thompson and Constance Marie

On your TV screen: June 6, 2011

Have you ever wanted to switch lives with someone? Well, two teenage girls, Bay (Vanessa Marano) and Daphne (Katie Leclerc), from this new scripted ABC Family show didn’t have a choice. These two girls were accidentally switched at birth as newborns in the hospital. The show starts as both families meet and struggle to figure out what is best for their daughters.

Pretty Little Liars

Starring: Troian Bellisario, Ashley Benson, Holly Marie Combs, Lucy Hale and more

On your TV screen: June 14, 2011

The hit TV show on ABC family will return for a second season this summer. Many have called it the next Gossip Girl, and these tween fasionistas-cum-super sleuths have truly taken teenage television by storm. This season we can expect to have some major breakthroughs as Ezra and Aria are rumored to finally take their relationship public.

True Blood

Starring: Anna Paquin, Stephen Moyer, Sam Trammell and Ryan Kwanten

On your TV screen: June 26, 2011

Another HBO favorite, the fourth season of these blood-sucking vampires is said to be the most intense one yet. We can expect witches to take over this one, and for a main character to lose his memory.


Rescue Me

Starring: Denis Leary, Steven Pasquale, Mike Lombardi and more

On your TV screen: July 12, 2011

This will be the final season for these New York City firefighters. The show, which follows the lives of fictional firefighters after September 11th, will come to an end this summer. The series finale will be in memory of the 10-year anniversary of the attacks.


Starring: Adrian Grenier, Kevin Connolly, Jeremy Piven, Kevin Dillon and Jerry Ferrara

On your TV screen: July 24, 2011

Returning for its final season, these on and off screen A-list stars will (hopefully) put our lingering questions to rest this summer. Are E and Sloan going to finally tie the knot? Will Vince end up as a drowning, struggling celeb? Even though this will be the final season on HBO, there are rumors that a movie will quickly follow!


America’s Karaoke Challenge

Starring: Reality TV stars

On your TV screen: August 8, 2011

Have you ever wished you could grab an entire room’s attention with just your voice and a mic? And I’m not talking about American Idol here. Live vicariously through these reality TV singing starlets as they compete to be crowned the king and queen of karaoke at the Karaoke World Championships (yes, that actually does exist).

The Lying Game

Starring: Alexandra Chando, Andy Buckley, Helen Slater, Blair Redord and Sharon Pierre-Louis

On your TV screen: August 15, 2011

Based on the novel written by Pretty Little Liars author Sara Shepard, a foster child, Emma, learns she has an identical twin, Sutton, who was adopted by wealthy parents. The two switch places for a few days, but when Emma returns to their meeting place, Sutton doesn’t arrive. Emma, concerned about her twin’s whereabouts, has to decide if she should continue living the life of her sister, or confess her real identity and search for her.

So collegiettes™, what are you most excited to watch this summer? Sound off below!












Nicole is a senior at the University of Iowa majoring in journalism and Spanish. A native of the Chicago suburbs, she is an editor for the metro section at the Daily Iowan and writes Monday night recaps of her favorite TV show (and guilty pleasure) 'Gossip Girl' on Hollywoodlife.com. She spent this last summer in New York City interning at Hollywoodlife.com and a New York-based lifestyle and travel magazine, the Resident. She's exclusively interviewed several celebrities such as Bethenny Frankel, Margaret Cho, Joel Madden & Cheryl Burke. After graduation Nicole plans on returning to NYC and pursuing her career in journalism. In her free time she enjoys doing yoga, reading, and spending time with family and friends. 
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