May 2, 2013 in Features

Summer’s best films are often blasts from the past

Frank Lovece McClatchy-Tribune
 
Associated Press photo

The theme of summer comes in many flavors with these 10 classics.
(Full-size photo)

As studios and audiences prepare for those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer movies, let’s look back on some don’t-miss summer movies – films set around such summer staples as beaches, bungalows, vacations, camps and, of course, summer flings.

Summer at the beach

“Gidget” (1959) – Before the Frankie-Annette “Beach Party” movies, the original little surfer girl was Sandra Dee’s Gidget, who won over Moondoggie (James Darren) and even got The Big Kahuna (Cliff Robertson) to mend his beach-bum ways.

“Jaws” (1975) – It’s a cruel, cruel summer on Amity Island, where the beach is filled with folks afraid to go into the water, what with that giant killer shark out there.

Summer camp

“Meatballs” (1979) – Every lonely Rudy (Chris Makepeace) needs a camp counselor like Tripper Harrison (Bill Murray) to help get him through the summer and show up those snotty rich kids at the rival camp.

“Friday the 13th” (1980) – Sean S. Cunningham’s influential horror hit made Camp Crystal Lake the most famous summer camp in moviedom.

Summer vacation

“National Lampoon’s Vacation” (1983) – Nothing outside the works of author Jean Shepherd ever satirized the rituals of a car vacation with family as well as this Chevy Chase comedy.

Summer nostalgia

“American Graffiti” (1973) – On the last night of summer in 1962, four small-town California teens face the future and seek a mythic blonde in a T-Bird.

“Dirty Dancing” (1987) – At a Catskills resort in the summer of ’63, nobody puts Baby in a corner.

“Dazed and Confused” (1993) – The final day of school in Austin, Texas, 1976: Like “American Graffiti,” but with pot and Aerosmith.

Summer romance

“Grease” (1978) – Summer lovin’, had me a blast – as did audiences at the John Travolta-Olivia Newton-John greaser-and-good-girl Broadway-musical adaptation.

“Adventureland” (2009) – At a rinky-dink Pittsburgh amusement park, virginal James (Jesse Eisenberg) falls for more-worldly Em (Kristen Stewart). Let the adventure begin.


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