It’s summertime and we all know what that means. It’s time to hit the beach, watch women in bikinis play volleyball, go camping, drinking beer around bonfires and doing some grilling. Screw all that, it’s time to watch movies about those things.

Summertime movies are a lot of fun and don’t get mentioned enough, unlike Halloween movies or Christmas movies. I guess you could argue those are holidays, but here in America we have the 4th of July. I do love me some independence.

*Plays Proud to Be an American here*

I wanted to do a write up about summertime movies and I don’t mean summer blockbusters either. Those get enough attention as is. This isn’t a “top 10” list or anything like that. A few movies I love and want to give recognition to. Some movies to watch in the heat of summer… while sitting in the AC.

SummerWhat better place to start, than the first day of summer. That final bell rings at school and you burst out the double doors to 3 months of freedom. Is there a better feeling?

Dazed and Confused takes place all in one day, the last day of school in the summer of 1976. We follow a young boy named Mitch (Wiley Wiggins), who is going to be a Freshman that next year. That is if he can survive the summer with roving seniors looking to paddle his ass. Yes, it’s was thing, the 70s were great in their own right.

Senior Randall ‘Pink’ Floyd (Jason London) takes young Mitch under his wing and spends the day teaching him about drinking, smoking pot and having a good time. You know, helping the kid be cool. Dazed and Confused also follows a few other students through the day, including a young Ben Affleck and a youngish Matthew McConaughey. All cumulating in a big summer bash with some statues painted like KISS.

SummerThe Sandlot isn’t just one of the greatest summer movies, but one of the best movies in general. It nails what it’s like being a kid, making new friends, running wild out on the streets, the imagination kids have growing up and of course playing sports. In this case, baseball.

It was the summer of 1962 and Scotty Smalls (Tom Guiry) was new to the neighborhood. He stumbles onto a baseball diamond that’s seen better days, but was loved by a few other kids from the area. He befriends them, thanks mostly to the group’s ring leader Benjamin Rodriguez (Mike Vitar).

The whole ragtag group of kids are memorable, including Hamilton ‘Ham’ Porter (Patrick Renna) and of course Michael ‘Squints’ Palledorous (Chauncey Leopardi). The latter stealing a kiss from an older life guard at the pool, making him the hero of the day.

The Sandlot is centered on the group and their love of baseball, playing all day non-stop. The only time they couldn’t play is when the ball would go over the fence and into a back yard, guarded by “The Beat.” A cartoonishly large English Mastiff. The size of him puts the movie into perspective of the kids and their imagination. Something I can relate to, as I had quite the imagination growing up.

Once Smalls stupidly loses a baseball over said fence, signed by The Sultan of Swat, The King of Crash, The Colossus of Clout, The Great Bambino, Babe Ruth! From there we follow the kids over the summer on one adventure after another, trying to get the ball back, before Smalls is skinned alive by his step dad, Bill (Denis Leary).

I feel like anyone can feel like this movie represents part of their childhood. The Sandlot is a great movie to sit back with a beer and reminisce about life, growing up in the summer.

SummerSometimes during summer you go on vacations with your family and a lot of those times it’s probably camping, Out in the wilderness, cold, hungry and in fear of bears eating you alive. Well, The Great Outdoors isn’t exactly that… except the bears part.

Chet Riplrey (John Candy) takes his wife Connie (Stephanie Faracy) and two kids, Buck and Ben on a vacation to the same lake resort cabin they stayed at during their honeymoon. Not too long after they arrive to the cabin, they get an unexpected surprise pop-in from Connie’s sister Kate (Annette Bening) and her husband Roman (Dan Aykroyd) and their twin daughters Mara and Cara.

Once the in laws show up, friction starts between Chet and Roman and comedy ensues. Chet is just looking for a nice relaxing vacation with his family, hanging out on a pontoon boat. Meanwhile Roman is all about having fun, blasting around the lake in a jet boat. It gives a realism to summer vacations with the family and although there’s wackiness to it, it’s not too over the top with it.

This is arguably my favorite John Candy movie and it’s close to the top for Dan Aykroyd, obviously the first being Ghostbusters. Everyone nails it in this and the story hits close to home.

SummerSpeaking of camping during the summer, there’s always the movies to remind us of the fun and honestly scariness of going to a summer camp. Now, when I say scary, I’m not talking about movies like Friday the 13th. No, more like scary to be around a bunch of other kids you don’t know and the new and different feeling. Not to mention being away from your family, possibly for the first time.

Meatballs does a great job of encapsulating summer camp. The awkwardness, the shyness, the fun you learn to have once you let your guard down and of course swimming.

Tripper Harriosn (Bill Murray) is the head counselor for Camp NorthStar, a lowrent summer camp. He befriends a young kid that’s out of his element named Rudy (Chris Makepeace). He’s having trouble fitting in and so Tripper shows him the ropes, to get the most out of summer camp. That is when Tripper isn’t leading the way for everyone to play practical jokes on camp director Morty ‘Mickey’ Melnick (Harvey Atkin).

All the fun, pranks and antics come together at the end of the season when Camp NorthStar goes up against their biggest rivals, Camp Mohawk in the annual Olympiad competition.

Meatballs is easily one of the best summer movies and about summer camp to boot. It helps largely due to the comedic genius that is Murray. Which is also his first starring role in a movie. It also helped launch the directing career of the late great Ivan Reitman, who would later go on to direct Stripes and Ghostbusters, both starring Murray too.

SummerSummer vacation isn’t always great. If you’re like me and spent much of your time in school being a class clown, you might just end up spending some of your summer… still in school. At least movies like Summer School, they make it fun.

Mr. Shoop (Mark Harmon) is a typical gym teacher that doesn’t hold much regard for higher education. He loves the beach, the surfing and most of all, summer vacation. That’s until he gets roped into teacher a summer school English class for a bunch of goof-off students by Vice principal Phil Gills (Robin Thomas). Right next door, he meets Robin Bishop (Kirstie Alley) who is teaching American History (not X) and falls for her. However, she’s already dating Gills.

Shoop doesn’t take much stock in teaching the kids at the start. They’re slackers and don’t seem to care much for their own future. One kid even goes to the bathroom and the first day and doesn’t return. That said, Shoop’s unorthodox approach to teaching and fondness for field trips gets the students to connect with him and even bond.

I find Summer School to be pretty underrated. I never hear anyone ever talk about it and whenever I bring it up, no one else has ever heard of it. It seems like the movie has often been seen as middle of the road and not getting much love from the typical movie sites that everyone seems to look to. However, it’s a hilarious movie and it maybe hasn’t aged perfectly, it still hold up great.

SummerIt’s very fun having to go to summer school, but it’s also not great having a summer job. Sure you have money and you learn what real life is like once you’re done with school, but it still eats up your free time.

You could be spending that time hanging with friends or watching movies like The Way Way Back. Although, as the saying goes, if you love your job, you won’t work a day in your life and that goes double for the employees at Water Wizz.

14-year-old Duncan (Liam James) is reluctantly on vacation with his mother Pam (Toni Collette), her boyfriend Trent (Steve Carell) and his daughter… I don’t give a shit about her name or who plays her. Seriously she adds nothing to the movie. They’re spending the summer at a beach house in a small seaside town near Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

Trent is exactly what you’d expect from a movie like this, he’s constantly making condescending and rude comments to Duncan. At first chance, Duncan takes off to explore the town and runs into Owen (Sam Rockwell) at a pizza joint. Owen is one of the head staff of the aforementioned Water Wizz and takes Duncan under his wing, giving him a job at the water park.

Duncan starts out as a typical introvert teenager and starts to open up, feeling happy only while at the water park with Own and the rest of the staff. The Way Way Back is a great coming of age movie. It can be paint by numbers at times, but overall it’s funny and has a sense of realism to it not found in other movies like it.

SummerWhat better place to end, than with the end of summer? Those last couple weeks before school starts back up. Also, if you’re neurotic and suffer from multiple phobias, maybe it’s the best time to take vacation.

What About Bob? Well, Bob Wiley (Bill Murray, yes another movie starring him) is what you might call a high maintenance mental patient, who apparently also has issues with personal boundaries. I don’t know, I’m not a doctor. It seems he drives therapists away and possibly insane with his approach to learning to deal with his issues. As we see with his newest therapist, Dr. Leo Marvin (Richard Dreyfuss).

Dr. Marvin is going on vacation and gives his new book “Baby Steps” to Bob to read while he’s away. Unfortunately the separation becomes too much for Bob and he folds up on himself. To the point of tracking down Dr. Marvin to his summer home (which isn’t in Maine or Fire Island). Bob meets Dr. Marvin’s family. His wife Fay (Julie Hagerty), his daughter Anna (Kathryn Erbe) and son Siggy (Charlie Korsmo). Oh, and his sister Lily.

From there on out Bob learns to take a vacation from his problems, by request by Dr. Marvin, which doesn’t go as planned for the doctor. Bob stays in town with an old couple that hate Dr. Marvin for “stealing” their summer home. Bob during this time starts to breakout from his problems and become friends with the rest of the Marvin family. Thus pushing Dr. Marvin closer and closer to losing his mind.

As a kid I never understood any of the mental illness issues with Bob. I just found Murray hilarious and Dreyfuss equally as so. both play off each other masterfully and while Bob becomes more mentally stable, Dr. Marvin starts to lash out and losing control of everything. It doesn’t play on much of the summer aspect, but it’s clear of the setting and thus counts as a summer movie.

So there’s some of my favorite summer time movies that I love to watch during this time of year. What are your thoughts and what are some that you enjoy the most?

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