Somehow, when I wasn’t looking, it turned into August, AKA The Month When It’s Officially Summer, But All Those Back To School Ads Will Remind You That Summer Is But A Finite Thing. Before you get too melancholy about the nights that are already drawing in, take a moment to appreciate the wonder that is summer — or, better yet, take enough time to watch these ten movies, created to celebrate the endless possibilities of the season.
THE ENDLESS SUMMER (1966)
Relive the classic summers of yore — almost half a century ago, in fact — in this classic documentary from filmmaker Bruce Brown about two surfers as they make their way riding waves across the world, making sure that they never have to deal with fall, never mind winter. It’ll give you ideas about your own life, but remember: you have to make a living somehow.
STAND BY ME (1986)
Nostalgia rarely came with a better soundtrack than on this movie version of a Stephen King short story “The Body,” in which four childhood friends have the most exciting summer of their lives — we know this to be true, thanks to the framing sequence of the movie — thanks to the discovery of a dead body. How many corpses have you found this year?
AN AMERICAN SUMMER (1991)
The problem with Mark Twain’s adventures of Huck Finn was, of course, that they weren’t set in 1990s California. This classic of summertime moviemaking, starring Brian Austin Green, finally rights that epic wrong… even as it gets almost everything else wrong in the process.
A SUMMER’S TALE (1996)
Abandon the all-American nature of the summers to date for this entry in the canon from France, part of director Éric Rohmer’s meditation on the seasons of the year. As you might expect, there is love lost and found on offer, as well as a male lead who seems an entirely unlikely object of romance for such beautiful women. But that’s French cinema for you…
ALMOST FAMOUS (2000)
Talking of entirely unlikely romantic leads, Patrick Fugit’s faux Cameron Crowe in this quasi-autobiography might also seem a little unusual in terms of getting the girls, but apparently that’s the power of writing for Rolling Stone in the 1970s. That, or Crowe was exaggerating for the purposes of dramatic effect and/or his ego. Either way, think of it as the best extended vacation ever.
WET HOT AMERICAN SUMMER (2001)
Just in time for the new Netlfix prequel, revisit the original, all-too-funny take on the summer camp with appearances by… well, just about anyone who’s anyone in the world of comedy these days, as well as David Hyde Pierce. (Why did I select him for the diss? Blame it on years of Frasier…)
Of course, for some people, summer means working — and not those fun summer camp, or writing for Rolling Stone-type jobs, either; look at poor Jesse Eisenberg here, who misses out on his dream vacation and ends up working at an amusement park for the entire break. Admittedly, he finds true love there, but that was just a freak occurrence that doesn’t normally happen, take it from me…!
THE LAST SUMMER OF LA BOYITA (2009)
Ah, adolescence — that awkward time when our bodies, outlook on life and hair patterns are changing, and summers feel endless for all the wrong reasons, as well as the right ones. The discomfort of that time of life is brought to life in this Argentine drama from director Julia Solomonoff, who’ll make you think back to your own youth and then be glad you got through it in one piece.
RED HOOK SUMMER (2012)
Spike Lee tells the story of a boy sent to spend the summer with his preacher grandfather in this messy, enjoyable slice of life drama that sees a surprise cameo from Lee himself, reprising his character from Do The Right Thing. Yeah, that’s right; there’s a Spike Lee cinematic universe. Just wait until he gets to his Avengers.
STATEN ISLAND SUMMER (2015) Saturday Night Live’s Colin Jost steps out from behind the Weekend Update desk to write this brand-new coming of age drama that stars a number of SNL favorites, including Fred Armisen and Bobby Monaghan. The wildest party of the summer? Oh, yeah, that’s right here — as long as everything goes to plan. (Spoilers: It probably won’t.)