Though most of us as adults don't get the luxury of the feverish excitement leading up to summer vacation, summertime still brings many of us a distinct sense of relaxation and fun. Even while we're cooped up working all day, it's a bit heartening to see the sunshine poking through the window of our cell--er, cubicle. It may not be a summer at the rec center pool or sleep-away camp, but we've got to take it where we can get it.
At the very least, the season gives us the chance to re-watch some of our old childhood summertime favorites. Or, failing that, you can at least read about it here while sneaking a break at work. It's minor consolation for those of us stuck pencil pushing, though hey, it's something. You won't get a savage tan or learn to swim a mean backstroke, but hopefully you'll crack a smile or two. At this point, that may be the best we can ask for as we count down to the glorious work-free Memorial Day weekend.
So kick back, relax, and take a journey into summertimes past. Well, don't kick back too much; I don't want to be blamed when your boss gets on your case about sipping frozen margaritas on the job. Use your discretion here.
Here's a fun little-known 90s fact: did you know Heavyweights was produced by Judd Apatow? Oh, and that Ben Stiller plays a variation of that guy he played in Dodgeball and his father plays his father, just like in all those other movies? I admit this trivia is vague, but summertime research is for nerds. Anyway, who knew a movie about fat camp participants trying to take down a malicious fitness infomercial star could be so funny? The premise might not sound like much, but I promise, it's worth your while.
Salute Your Shorts
How many 90s kids out there hear the opening bars of reveille and immediately break into the Camp Anawanna song? It's almost a reflex. Now it's "I hope we never part" not "You make me wanna fart," so get it right or pay the price. Geez.
The Parent Trap
To this day, the main reason I want to learn how to play poker is with the secret hope that "Bad to the Bone" will spontaneously start blaring in the background. Well, secret's out. It's probably not worth it, anyway; I'm not so sure I'd have the guts to jump in the lake naked if I lost.
Now and Then
To girls growing up in the 90s, Now and Then is a legitimate classic. It's just the right blend of humor, coming-of-age drama, and just a dash of shmaltz thrown in for good measure. With its four distinct "types," we all had a character to whom to relate. Personally, I always fancied myself something of a Teeny.
There's something about a good sports-themed coming of age film that has the power to take you back to a simpler time. To the kids of the Sandlot, the most important priorities for the summer are to play ball, kiss teenage lifeguards, and rescue their bat from the jaws of the dreaded Beast. Throw in some stomach-turning amusement park forays into chewing tobacco use and you've got yourself a hilarious--albeit nausea inducing--summertime adventure.
The Babysitter's Club
Oh, how my friends and I longed to boost an academically challenged peer's self confidence by staging an elaborate biology review complete with "The brain, the brain, the center of the chain" chant. Some abnormally responsible middle school girls have all the luck. I never even got to lie about my age to a 17-year old boy while simultaneously concealing the truth about my diabetes. Sigh.
You have to love a movie built on the premise of a harebrained scheme dreamed up by a bunch of preteens. Even though our rational adult minds know nothing like this would ever unfold in real life, it's infinitely fun to imagine a world where a bunch of kids and Doc Brown could join forces to start a fake camp.
Saved by the Bell: Malibu Sands
Only Saved by the Bell has the power to condense a summer's worth of zany situation comedy and inevitable romantic drama into a neatly packaged six episodes. The show set the bar on introducing and subsequently disregarding all signs of existence of temporary characters, so it's no surprise Zack's romance with Stacey Carosi was short-lived. It was fun to see the whole gang living it up at the Malibu Sands club, but there's only so many beach storylines to go around. Once the girls battled it out in the Miss Liberty pageant, we knew it was time to go home.
If you're interested in having the time of your life and feeling a way you've never felt before, I advise you pack up your things and head to a resort in the Catskills for summer break. There's a chance you might defy your affluent family by falling in love with a working-class guy from the wrong side of the country club kitchen, but that's a chance you've to be willing to take.
Dazed and Confused
Only a skillfully directed movie can stretch the meandering events of a single day into an interesting slice of everyday high school anthropology. Dazed and Confused takes us through the last day of school from the hazing to loitering to partying to eventually getting busted by the cops. It may sound as if I just gave away the whole movie in a short sentence, but don't worry. I didn't even get to the part where he listens to "Slow Ride" on his headphones. Oops. Sorry about that. Anyway, you should absolutely invest in this soundtrack; it's brilliant.
Runner Up: Wet Hot American Summer. Sure, it came out in 2001, but it's 80s themed and one of my favorite movies of all time. If you haven't seen it, it's imperative that you go out and rent it immediately. That's an order.