Fourth of July! Cookouts! Fireworks! AMERICA!
While June 20th is technically the summer solstice, there is no date more summery than July 4th. Normally we’d be talking about summer blockbusters, but because of a lab leak, or someone nibbling on a bat, or however the heck the virus began to spread, tentpole movie releases are still a thing of pre-2020 and won’t return until post-2021.
Accordingly, streaming has been a way of life for most cinephiles for the past 16 months. That’s not likely to change in the immediate future. So in celebration of America’s birthday and the summer season, let’s grill up some hot takes with the five best summer movies in the history of history.
There’s nothing more synonymous with summer than heading to the beach. Most folks wait all year for that summer vacation, packing up the family and going on their traditional week-long getaway.
However, thanks to Steven Spielberg’s beloved 1975 classic “Jaws,” the ocean isn’t quite as harmless as it once seemed. Police chief Brody (Roy Scheider) teams up with marine biologist Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss) and a shark hunter Quint (Robert Shaw) to save the town of Amity from the man-eating machine preying its waters. Yet even after the shark’s destruction, swimming in the oceans has never quite been the same.
Dazed and Confused
Schooool’s … Out … For … Summer! Before the Fourth of July, there’s another milestone in the summer season: the last day of school.
There is NOTHING more exciting or packed with anticipation for a kid than when that final day of school commences. The sun is shining, homework is history, and it’s nothing but fun in the sun for the next three months.
Richard Linklater’s “Dazed and Confused” is the prototypical last day of school/beginning of summer offering. This mellow ’70s coming-of-age comedy follows a sprawling ensemble of Texas teenagers. It’s vibes are so relatable that their story also becomes our own story, making the film endlessly watchable and full of nostalgia no matter your generation.
Do the Right Thing
This summer’s forecast? Hot … hot … hot! And that’s the truth, Ruth!
Is human-induced climate change roasting planet Earth like a rotisserie chicken at Costco? Yup! Now the west coast is drier than that burger ol’ Uncle Fred tried to grill at the cookout and Canada is the land of fire and ice (hockey) … because yeah, America’s hat is literally on fire.
Spike Lee’s “Do the Right Thing” is a seminal example of powerhouse filmmaking. The film has an incredible voice, an exhilarating plot, mesmerizing cinematography, and exceptional acting. Want to sweat it out on the streets of New York City without ever leaving your couch? Watch “Do the Right Thing” ASAP.
While watching the “Dazed and Confused” clip above gave me a warm, tingly feeling in my stomach, watching this “Sandlot” clip literally made my heart ache with sentimental yearning.
For me at least, “The Sandlot” exists as my formative years on film. Pools. Biking around town. Baseball. Tree houses. Shenanigans. Bliss.
Those summers felt like they lasted years, not months, and they were a blessing that only now in adulthood we can truly appreciate them for what they were.
You didn’t possibly think I’d make a summer movie list on the Fourth of July and not include “Independence Day,” did you?
Big budget action flicks and summer go together like peanut butter and jelly. “Independence Day” is EXACTLY the kind of summer blockbuster we were treated to before the world got flipped, turned upside down.
Luckily, we can still stream action classics such as this anytime we want (“Independence Day” is currently streaming on HBO Max) and cheer on the likes of Will Smith saving summer, America, and the world.
The title of this post has tongue firmly planted in cheek. There are hundreds of truly awesome summer movies, so hopefully the above list simply stirs up some warm fuzzy feelings in you. Other films that were deliberated as making the list included E.T., Stand By Me, American Graffiti, Wet Hot American Summer, and Grease, to name a handful. But no matter your reaction to the aforementioned selection, be sure to do one thing this summer: WATCH MORE MOVIES!