Every summer, I set out a roadmap of movies that I watch during certain times. I have a soft spot for the summer movie, specifically the coming of age summer movie. These flicks are best watched during a warm evening with the windows open. There are movies that you love that aren’t on this list but that’s okay, these are just the movies I love. I want to hear from you all about what movies I should add and when I should watch them. And while I love “Independence Day”, “Armageddon”, and other blockbusters, this is not the list for those. I am not going to break down plot details or give big spoilers – the point of this list is for you the viewer to discover the journey these films take you on for yourself. Those have a time and a place and this isn’t it. That being said, let’s get to it!
Memorial Day Weekend: Dazed and Confused
I didn’t have a movie for this spot, and had been struggling to find one that would fit. Since Memorial Day is the beginning of summer it can be kind of hard to decide. So, after talking with a close friend I have settled on Richard Linklater’s 1993 classic “Dazed and Confused,” a movie, as most of us know, takes place on the last day of school at a school in Austin, Texas, 1976. What follows is a who’s who of up and coming actors playing fun characters as their day goes on. Since I am going to bookend this list with another Richard Linklater film it makes perfect sense. So, settle down on Friday night before the long weekend of beer and sunburn hits and time travel back to 1976.
First Rainy Weekend in June: Adventureland
You are going to find that on this list a lot of these movies take place in the past – that is also the case with the the 2009 film “Adventureland,” directed by Greg Mottola. This movie follows James Brennan, played by Jesse Eisenberg, as he is forced to get a job at the amusement park, Adventureland after finding out he can’t go on his dream European vacation. It follows his throughout the summer as he battles boredom, chasing a girl who herself is in a an impossible situation played by Kristen Stewart. If anything check this movie out for Ryan Reynolds playing against his normal type. Also, Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig play the owners of Adventureland. I mean, what more do you need at this point?
Any lazy Sunday afternoon: The Sandlot
What more is there to say about the Sandlot that hasn’t been said? It seems like the whole world has seen this movie. I assume if you are reading this you have all seen it and also need to watch it again. Get some peanuts and crackerjacks and watch a bunch of kids try to pickle the beast.
Fourth of July: The Way Way Back
We have made it to my favorite summer movie. If I can introduce one person to the movie who hasn’t seen it, then my work here is done. I have a rule where I shut my phone off to watch any movie, and you should definitely follow my lead with this one. Sometimes, you just need to unplug and watch something. This movie is about a 14 year old boy named Duncan who is dragged by his mom and the man she is dating, played by Steve Carell (in his most assholish performance to date) to Cape Cod for the summer. Along the way he is introduced to Owen, played by Sam Rockwell, who is at his peak. I don’t want to get into why this movie is great. Let’s just say it is one of the greatest coming into yourself movies that has been made recently and you owe it to yourself to watch it. Trust Uncle Ted and just do it.
The hottest night in August: Hot Summer Nights
We go from one of the greatest films in my opinion to a film that works best if you have a ice cold whiskey drink in your hand, or maybe a beer after a long day in the sun, when all you want to do is just get buzzed and watch a fun movie. Hot Summer Nights is set in the early 90s even though it feels like the 80’s. The film is is all about a boy, a girl, a drug dealer, drugs… I mean what could go wrong? Like I said before I am not about giving away the plot of these films, just giving you a list of films I love/enjoy and that I watch every summer.
Labor Day Weekend: EVERYBODY WANTS SOME!!
We finish where we started with another film by Richard Linklater in “EVERYBODY WANTS SOME!!”, which is set during move-in weekend of an unnamed Texas College in 1980. It takes place over 72 hours before the first day of school and follows a group of college baseball players. Why I love this movie is how it is constructed. It really feels like you are following a group of friends for a long weekend. It’s the perfect movie to watch as you are preparing for the fall, and leaving the hot days of summer behind you.
There you have it. These won’t be the only movies I will watch this summer – if you have any great suggestions, please tweet them at me at @TedFlintKansas on Twitter and I will try to watch. Have a good one fam.