Sunday, June 5, 2016

Sunday Best: Top 10 Summer Vacation Movies

Now that school year has officially ended, it's time to kick back and enjoy the sweet bliss of cinema.

And what better way to kick off summer than by watching movies about this wonderful season.

So here are the top 10 movies about summer vacation.

10.  Camp Nowhere
This is a silly little kid's movie about preteens who spend the summer on their own in a fictional camp.  But somehow the innocent Little Rascals-type hijinks works.  It probably does not age well, but it works for younger kids.

9.  What About Bob?
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Bill Murray does a great job at being both annoying and charming at the same time while spinning his particular brand of magic on a fun family summer vacation.  I especially love the youngest son who finds himself locked up in his own existentially bleak thoughts because summer is a time of endless hours to think.  But then he learns to break free a little and just enjoy life.  That is what summer can afford.

8.  Space Camp
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A movie that has an insane premise, it still works as a bit of imaginative fantasy for kids thinking about the adventure of moving from child's play to being an astronaut.  I wanted to go to Space Camp so badly after seeing this movie.  And it reminds us that summer is a time when we can explore our passions in an intense way without the distraction of school.

7.  Jaws
Movie poster shows a woman in the ocean swimming to the right. Below her is a large shark, and only its head and open mouth with teeth can be seen. Within the image is the film's title and above it in a surrounding black background is the phrase "The most terrifying motion picture from the terrifying No. 1 best seller." The bottom of the image details the starring actors and lists credits and the MPAA rating.
This movie is objectively better than any other movie on this list.  But as movie "about" summer, the season is more tangential to the story.  Still, Spielberg does a superb job of capturing the controlled chaos of traveling to vacation hotspots.

6.  National Lampoon's Vacation
A little too vulgar, but anyone who has gone on a family road trip can immediately tap into the universally wonderful and horrible experience of family vacations.  In fact, somehow the movie captures the truth that the more horrible the events, the better the vacation is in retrospect.  To this day, the things we talk about most in my family regarding our vacations are the horror stories and we love them.

5.  The Way, Way Back
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This tale of alienation and discovery is quiet but touching, even in its silly moments and it really uses the summer atmosphere to explore the themes of freedom and growth.

4.  The Great Outdoors
The Great Outdoors (film) Poster.jpg
One of the biggest things that happen in summer is spending time with relatives we hardly get to see.  This movie shows all the wonderful awkwardness of families under the stress of trying to have fun.  And who could forget the Old 96'er?

3.  Stand By Me
Stand By Me 1986 American Theatrical Release Poster.jpg
This shows the darker side of summer, but also embodies that time when we explore more of the world around us and reflect on the changes that are coming while spending more and more time outside in freedom.

2.  American Graffiti
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The sad truth about summer is that it ends.  And this movie shows us what happens to us when that window closes and new chapters of life begin.  Unless you enter the education profession, you only have a limited amount of summer vacations in your life and this movie is about what happens as one of your last summers ticks away from you.  Do you move forward or backwards?  And is either choice right or wrong?

1.  One Crazy Summer
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The movie is pure silliness, but it embodies the nature of summer vacation better than any movie out there: adventure, romance, family, competition, travel, and of course, cute and fuzzy bunnies.  The movie feels so incredibly true because it is so incredibly silly.  And summer is the silliest of times.  And you can't not love a movie where someone almost dies of fart inhalation.  Twice.

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