Summer is a huge time for movies. Kids are out of school, people are on vacation, and the weather is hot, which means it’s the perfect time of year for The Big Summer Movie Blockbuster.
I consider myself a very seasonal-driven movie person – that is, I tend to watch certain movies at certain times of the year. And there are some movies out there that just scream “SUMMER!!!” that are hard to watch during the winter months. So what better way to celebrate summer than make a list of what I consider to be awesome summer movies?
Considered by some to be one of the scariest movies of all time (um, did ya’ll even see The Strangers??), Jaws is a perfect summer movie. It’s about sharks that attack summer vacationers on the fictional island of Amity. Sharks that EAT people. It doesn’t more summery than that! And it’s a proven fact (maybe) that sharks don’t eat people during the winter months. Except maybe in Australia. Because, you know, they’re all backwards down there. But still. Awesome summer movie.
Friday the 13th Part 1 (1980)
Okay, so I realize that this isn’t exactly the mega-blockbuster you have in mind. But this movie has summer written all over it. It takes place on the original Friday the 13th – June 13 – at a summer camp called Camp Crystal Lake. Freaky camp movies were made to be watched during the hot summer nights. Leave the creepy Halloween movies for fall. Because Jason only comes out in the summertime!*
*Of course that doesn’t mean he won’t come after you if Friday the 13th happens in December.
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1982)
Action, adventure, romance, Harrison Ford…it makes for a lovely combination for the perfect summer movie. And seriously, it looks like it’s 100 degrees during the entire movie. Indy is always sweaty (which is fine because he’s hot…literally and figuratively), and people’s faces melt off at the end of the movie. Summer has officially begun, people!
Field of Dreams (1989)
I guess it’s because it’s about a summer sport that makes this movie full of summer glow, but my memory of seeing it during summer vacation when I was ten years old is what makes this an awesome summer movie for me. It was hot outside and cold in the theater, I ordered a large Sprite the size of my head, sat in the front row, and accidentally spilled the entire drink on the floor in front of me. Yay, summer! But yeah, baseball. It’s not played in the winter. Therefore, summer movie.
Point Break (1991)
Well, let’s see. This movie has Keanu Reeves, Patrick Swayze, and surfing. It came out during a summer I consider to be one of the most pivotal summers of my life (twelve years old – right on the brink of teenagehood). The beach scenes ooze summer goodness (and badness, if you’ve seen the movie), and, oh yeah, it has Keanu Reeves in it, who was simultaneously starring in Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey and the video for Paula Abdul’s “Rush, Rush” at the time. So basically 1991 was The Summer of Keanu. It’s sum-sum-summertime!
Jurassic Park (1993)
There’s just something about Steven Spielberg and summer movies that go together like green eggs and ham. This movie about the worst dinosaur theme park of all time was the biggest movie during the summer of 1993, mostly due to the fact that we had never seen dinosaurs this realistic – or scary – before (the Land Before Time movies did nothing to prepare us for this). And since summer is the time for theme parks, Jurassic Park fits right in as the perfect movie to watch on a hot, July day when you don’t want to deal with the long lines.
Independence Day (1996)
You shouldn’t be surprised to see this movie on the list. It’s title is a summer holiday. To call this movie by anything else would be – for lack of a better word – stupid. It has everything needed to make a great summer movie – Will Smith, aliens, Will Smith, explosions, Will Smith, cities in peril, Will Smith, and a rousing speech about our celebrating our independence. Seriously, I’ve tried watching this movie during a different season and it just doesn’t have the same effect. July 4th does not fall in December. That would be our next movie on the list…
Pearl Harbor (2001)
So yeah, if you know your American history, you should know that the attack on Pearl Harbor happened on December 7, 1941. Definitely not summer. But you know what? It happened in Hawaii, which made it look like summer despite the fact that people were getting ready to celebrate Christmas. But you really don’t get that feel when you watch the movie. It came out in May of 2001 and provided the perfect beginning to the summer season. And maybe the movie wasn’t so good. Maybe it was cheesy. Maybe it made me giggle a little. But they don’t release movies in the summer and except them to become Oscar winners, peeps. Have some fun with it.
Pirates of the Caribbean 1/2/3 (2003/2006/2007)
These movies were the biggest movies of the summers in which they were released, and not just because people love Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, and Keira Knightley the way I do. Turns out people love pirates as well, and more so during the summer months because they can go on vacation to Disneyland and take their kids on the ride that inspired the movie. A pirate movie during the winter? Doesn’t found very exciting to me – I don’t even think pirates come out during the winter time. They save up all their energy for pillaging during those months.
And last but certainly not least…
ALL THE BATMANS!*
*Except for Batman Returns. Because it’s a Christmassy movie.
It just wouldn’t be summer without a Batman movie in the mix (except for the summers in which no Batman movie came out). The first movie Batman came out in 1989 and to me was the first big summer franchise of my lifetime. Suddenly Batman became synonymous with summer, and even continued when Christopher Nolan took over. His movies are good enough to be released in the winter months and be considered for an Oscar, but Nolan knows better…the Bat-Man only flies when it’s warm outside.**
**See above note
What are some of your summer favorites?