School is almost out, and the weather is heating up. Yes, summer is the star of the moment.
It’s also the star of these 10 summer-set movies:
▪ “Almost Famous” (2000) — This summer vacation is probably better than most: going backstage with rock stars, hanging out with gorgeous groupies and writing a story for Rolling Stone. That’s exactly what William Miller (Patrick Fugit) did, as he chronicled up-and-coming rock band Stillwater while trying to not fall in love with Goldie Hawn, er, her daughter Kate Hudson, who looks exactly like her.
▪ “Dirty Dancing” (1987) — Rich girl Baby (Jennifer Grey) falls for charismatic dance teacher/poor guy Johnny Castle (Patrick Swayze) while at summer camp with her family. Apparently you can have the time of your life there.
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▪ “The Endless Summer” (1966) — The quintessential surfer movie, as documentary filmmaker Bruce Brown follows two young surfers around the world in search of the perfect wave. And suntan lotion.
▪ “Jaws” (1975) — The quintessential shark attack movie, as a great white one wreaks havoc on a small island community, causing its police chief (Roy Scheider), a marine scientist (Richard Dreyfuss) and a grizzled fisherman (Robert Shaw) to hunt it down. This has one of the most famous music scores of all time.
▪ “Meatballs” (1979) — As summer camp movies go, this is one of the funnest and most nostalgic, following the exploits of a bunch of wacky camp counselors (led by Bill Murray), who help a shy boy come out of his shell.
▪ “National Lampoon’s Vacation” (1983) — Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) takes his family on a mishap-laden cross-country road trip to go to an amusement park. This is model Christie Brinkley’s esteemed big-screen debut, as “Girl in the Ferrari.”
▪ “The Sandlot” (1993) — There’s more nostalgia here than you can shake a baseball bat at, as we follow the adventures of a new kid in a small town who is taken in by a young baseball prodigy and his teammates.
▪ “Stand By Me” (1986) — A group of four boys (a young Jerry O’Connell, Wil Wheaton, Corey Feldman and River Phoenix) go on a trek into the woods to find the body of a missing boy. Funny, engaging and ultimately, profoundly touching.
▪ “Super 8” (2011) — It feels like “The Goonies” meets “E.T.” meets “Jurassic Park,” as J.J. Abrams’ love letter to sci-fi films he grew up with is just as fun and memorable, taking place in the summer of 1979, where a group of kids make a zombie movie while their town experiences mysterious occurrences.
▪ “Wet Hot American Summer” (2001) — This satire of summer camp movies is set on the last day of camp in 1981, where counselors (including Janeane Garofalo, Paul Rudd and David Hyde Pierce) try to complete their unfinished business before the day ends. Hold on through the credits; there is a “10 years later” epilogue. (Interesting note: This is the inspiration for a new TV series debuting in July, “Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp.” Honestly.)