All American Summer
The summer will soon be coming to an end, and I thought I’d close it out by listing a few of my favorite ‘summer’ movies of all time. You have probably seen or at least heard of several of these film recommendations, but that won’t take anything away from the experience of enjoying these highly entertaining films one more time before the summer months have passed you by.
If you’re talking about the best summer movies of all time, you almost have to start off the list with the film that became the pioneer of a genre now known as the summer blockbuster, changing the way the entertainment industry conducts business in these peak months of business forever. It also launched the career of Steven Spielberg, one of the most recognized and successful directors in history, who would go on to create many other of the most beloved summer blockbusters of all time (ET, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Jurassic Park, etc…). Based upon Peter Benchley’s novel of the same name, the film follows the efforts of a small town sheriff, a marine biologist, and a rough around the edges fishing captain to kill a giant Great White Shark which has been terrorizing the tourists of a coastal town’s beaches in New England. Jaws not only revolutionized Hollywood but also put the fear of sharks into the collective psyche of an entire nation, inadvertently leading to the slaughter of millions of sharks over the following decades. Benchley and Spielberg have both since donated their efforts to aid in the current rejuvenation of shark populations around the globe through conservation. Any fan of the Discovery Channel’s annual ‘Shark Week’, another summer television staple, can also probably extend their gratitude to this film as well. Still a film favorite, Jaws continues to capture the imaginations and fears of anyone who has ever nervously pondered what creatures may share the water with them.
Dazed and Confused (1993)
Set in the suburbs of Austin, Texas in 1976, Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused follows a group of high schooler’s through their last day of school and the ensuing after party to kick off their summer vacation. The plot doesn’t get much more complicated than that. Filled with hilarious quotable one-liners and many memorable characters, the film is stacked with a cast of several actors who went on to become stars such as Jason London, Milla Jovovich, Ben Affleck, and Matthew McConaughey. I still consider Dazed and Confused to be one of the best and realistic representations of what the high school experience is like for a Texas teen ever put on film and one of my favorite comedies of all time.
The Sandlot (1993)
I still recall thinking this was one of the best movies I’d ever seen after watching this hilariously entertaining film about growing up, the hijinks of summer with your buddies, and the game of baseball with a group of friends for my birthday in the 3rd grade, and it is still one of my all time favorite films from my childhood. The Sandlot takes place over the course of a summer in sunny California, following Scottie Smalls, the geeky new kid in town who’s had trouble making friends. One day he follows a group of neighborhood kids to the local sandlot where they play their daily game of baseball together and try to avoid ‘The Beast’, an oversized junkyard dog with an appetite for home run balls. An outsider at first, Smalls is eventually accepted into the group with the help of the team leader and best player, Benny. Over the summer, he learns to play the game, gets into trouble with his newfound friends, and has to get himself out of the biggest ‘pickle’ he’s ever been in. This movie is full of summertime nostalgia and will take you back to what it’s like to be a carefree kid.
Almost Famous (2000)
I am a classic rock junkie and still believe that I was miscast in this world by being born in this generation and was originally intended to have grown up a carefree child of the 60’s and 70’s during the greatest era, with some of the greatest bands, in rock and roll history. That said, this fictionalized biographical account of director Cameron Crowe’s actual teenage years spent as a writer for Rolling Stone magazine plays out like my very own rock and roll fantasy. The film follows William, an eager yet naïve 15 year old kid, as he travels around the country with the rock band Stillwater, after conning his way into a job with the legendary music magazine, for his first article covering their 1973 summer concert tour; despite the concerns of his scholarly mother who worries about the negative influence rock music is having on her children. Along the way, WIlliam learns how to party like a rock star, learn to love more than just the music he’s covering, and to honestly critique his idols, and the band he has befriended. Almost Famous also boasts one of the most impressive soundtracks ever put together on film, filled with classic rock and roll gems.
Other Summer Flicks: Independence Day, Point Break, Stand By Me, and Endless Summer