The summer box office may be on hold, but summer movies can still be enjoyed in the comfort of our own homes. What makes a good summer movie? For starters, the plot has to take place during the summer months. The summer should be its own theme and play an integral part in the plot. Camp and the last day of school are two popular settings for summer movies.
This is not a list of movies that are typically released during the summer. So blockbusters and sequels that are released during the summer months are disqualified unless the story revolves around the summer. Avengers: Endgame is a great summer blockbuster, but the film doesn’t specify it takes place during the summer so it’s off the list.
With that being said, here are my top five summer movies of all time.
Oh, look! A deli meat! Sleepaway camp is a good setting for a summer movie. Good luck finding a funnier kids movie than Heavyweights. I will go to bat for Heavyweights. Critics hate it, but fans including myself love it. It features an all-time, over-the-top performance from Ben Stiller as Tony Perkis, the fitness guru who takes over the weight loss camp. Everything Stiller does is laugh out loud hilarious. From his one-liners (“Tonight’s lecture: liposuction, option or obsession?”) to his obsessive mannerisms (“Come on you devil log!”), Tony Perkis walked so Tugg Speedman could run. If you don’t agree, then lunch is canceled due to a lack of hustle.
4. Wet Hot American Summer
Wet Hot American Summer is a cult classic that’s frankly not for everyone. For example, there’s a storyline that revolves around a chef, who’s a Vietnam vet, that gets advice from a talking-can of mixed vegetables. Once again, it’s not for everyone, but it successfully spoofs the teen sex comedy genre. More importantly, the cast is stacked and includes a lot of little-known actors at the time who went on to become huge stars. Paul Rudd, Amy Poehler, and Bradley Cooper are the standouts, but the cast also includes Christopher Meloni, Janeane Garofalo, Molly Shannon, Michael Showalter, Marguerite Moreau, Ken Marino, Michael Ian Black, David Hyde Pierce, Joe Lo Truglio, and H. Jon Benjamin. Wet Hot American Summer is the 2011-2012 Oklahoma City Thunder. The cast just needed some more time before reaching their max potential.
3. The Sandlot
Play ball! Where do I even begin? The Sandlot is one of the rare movies where you don’t have to love the sport in order to enjoy the movie. The Sandlot is a film about friendship and childhood just as much as it is a love letter to baseball. The Sandlot’s characters all represent a specific stereotype in each person’s friend group. Every group, both male and female, has some version of the following people: the new kid, the loudmouth, the annoying one, the sibling, the trash talker, the little guy, and the hotshot. Finally, every group has the alpha aka their Benny “The Jet” Rodriguez. The best part of The Sandlot is nostalgia. The film takes you back to when you were 12 and only cared about playing with your friends every summer. The film also has Wendy Peffercorn so there’s that, too.
I recently called Jaws the “most important summer blockbuster ever.” 45 years since its release, the film still holds up. It’s a masterpiece from start to finish. Not much more to say about a film that changed the film industry forever.
1.Dazed and Confused
That’s the thing about these high school girls. As I get… Nope, we’re not going to finish that line even though we ALL know someone from our hometown who lives in the past and still thinks he’s in high school. Regardless of how you feel about Dave Wooderson’s taste in women, the fact is the Dazed and Confused remains the greatest summer movie of all time. It also happens to be the greatest hangout movie of all time. Every single person who went to school can relate to the last day of school and the first day of summer. It’s what kids live for and continue to live for even as we age. Cruising around with your friends, looking for parties, and pondering the future are all tasks that every teenager undertakes as they grow up. As soon as “Sweet Emotion” hits, it takes me back to a time where all I cared about was hanging out with my friends and finding dumb shit to do. In the words of Wooderson, “Just keep livin’ man.”
What are your top summer movies? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or tweet us, @unafraidshow.