Summer: a small word with such large repercussions, it’s evocative of sandy beaches, shimmering chlorine-green pools, and limitless freedom. With those silky smooth two syllables comes a sense of overall joviality. As this is often a wonderful opportunity to catch up on movies, why not slip into the mood with a sun-saturated, summer-soaked flick. Comment below with your favorite seasonal romp:
Truthfully “Jaws” isn’t a great movie. Really, it isn’t even technically good, but nevertheless the monster shark filck is an undeniable classic. “Jaws” chomped into theaters in the summer of ‘75 and really deserves credit as the film that started the killer animal phenomenon. While Steven Spielberg’s movie may not have been the first of its kind, it popularized the genre, ushering in not only a string of sequels but also a slew of imitators. “Sharknado” anyone?
All you really need to know about “Meatballs” is that Bill Murray stars and Ivan Reitman directs. There, now that you’ve all scurried over to the video store or your Netflix queues, “Meatballs” is your prototypical summer camp movie. The goofy tale features Murray in his first theatrical headliner, and he and Reitman would proceed to collaborate on several other projects including the legendary “Ghostbusters.” Add in a root for the underdog story line, and this is a winner.
“Dazed and Confused” (1993)
The year is 1993, but Richard Linklater’s “Dazed and Confused” time warps back to 1976. Set on the last day of school, it evokes the wandering and often confused high school years of which we’re all too familiar. It’s just too perfect a film to kick off the summer shenanigans with a stellar soundtrack and ensemble cast including Matthew McConaughey, Adam Goldberg, Renee Zellweger, Ben Affleck, Milla Jovovich, and Cole Hauser. “Dazed and Confused” will assuredly get your summer going in style.
“The Parent Trap” (1961)
A Walt Disney classic, “The Parent Trap” opens at summer camp. The entire film isn’t set entirely at camp, but the premise is that two twins, Sharon and Suasn (both played by Hayley Mills) meet one another and realize they’re long lost twin sisters. That seems like a hefty coincidence, but hey, it’s a wonderful movie so who cares. Their antics, especially at the beginning, serve as inspiration or reminders for us all.
“The Sandlot” (1993)
“The Sandlot” is one of those movies that everyone loves. It’s essentially impossible to not love this adorable movie of a ragtag team of kids play baseball, hang out in a treehouse, and tell exaggerated tales about the old dude who lives down the street. Plus, there’s a great pool scene to give you hormonally-charged adolescents a really, really bad idea. Seriously, don’t try this at the local YMCA.
“Friday the 13th” (1980)
Although “Friday the 13th” usually gets lumped in with Halloween flicks and of course Fridays that fall on the 13th, everyone’s favorite hockey-mask-wearing, machete-swinging super villain actually got his start at summer camp. Basically, this is “Halloween” meets “Ernest Goes to Camp.” Poor little Jason drowned at Camp Crystal Lake while two counselors were having sex instead of paying attention to the campers. Naturally a vengeful killing spree ensues, and there’s plenty of blood and sex. A faithful slasher flick, “Friday the 13th” is light on the plot, but serves up a hearty dose of laughs.
“Wet Hot American Summer” (2001)
“Wet Hot American Summer” is a hilarious parody of the stereotypical camp experience. The side-splitting comedy is rivaled only by the star-studded cast who function as a sleek entity. A truly unconventional piece, it shatters expectations until the final scene. Paul Rudd, Molly Shannon, Amy Poehler, Christopher Meloni and Bradley Cooper are among the multi-talented thespians.
“Dirty Dancing” (1987)
“Dirty Dancing” is one of those movies that everyone knows, regardless of whether or not they’ve seen the film. This is largely owning to prevalent pop-culture throwbacks referencing the seminal dance scene between Frances “Baby” Houseman (Jennifer Grey) and Johnny Castle (Patrick Swayze). Baby, the young sheltered pre-college girl falls for the hunky dance instructor, Castle. Try as you might, you just can’t put “Dirty Dancing” in the corner. Bonus points for being filmed in North Carolina.
Ah, “Grease,” the mandatory summer love flick. As sunny days grow shorter, the passion between Sandy (Olivia Newton-John) and Danny (John Travolta) becomes stronger. “Grease” is an insanely catchy musical, and the warm-weather scenery will undoubtedly have you dancing on top of your car with slicked back hair and a leather jacket. Goofy and feel good, it ranked only number two at box-offices thanks to “Jaws 2.” 2014 has a solid blockbuster lineup, but “Jaws 2” and “Grease” both out at the same time? Now that’s a hot summer.
“Stand By Me” (1986)
Rob Reiner and Stephen King team up for an inspiring tale of misfit kids who go hiking in Castle Rock, Oregon in search of a body. Additionally, Corey Feldman, Kiefer Sutherland, and Wil Wheaton headline. The protagonists are unique, and almost unlikely friends, which is what makes this such a heartwarming flick. They’re each different but nonetheless devout comrades. Notably, Feldman and Sutherland also starred in the oddball “Lost Boys,” which isn’t a summer flick but is well worth watching. Sutherland terrorized Feldman as a vampire in “Lost Boys,” and as a bully in “Stand By Me.” Then, by an ironic twist of fate he became hero Jack Bauer.