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15 Perfect Movies for Summer

While summer has already made its way into August, I find myself watching some of my favorite summertime movies. Some are about family vacations, some about killer sharks, and others are about baseball. The thing they have in common? That three month period of time where sunshine is desired but not required (because fireworks are better after the sun goes to bed).

Here are some of my favorites.

  1. A League of Their Own – This is by far and away my favorite baseball movie. It tells the story of the short lived All American Girls Baseball League which operated during WWII when the men were going off to war. Starring Geena Davis, Tom Hanks, Rosie O’donnell, Madonna, and a supporting cast that serves up drama and humor perfection. But know this – there is no crying in baseball (wink wink).
  2. Harry and the Hendersons – When John Lithgow and his family hit a sasquatch on the way home from camping in the Washington state wilderness, they decide to bring the carcass home to deal with later. Turns out that bigfoot isn’t dead, and the family warm up to the creature as the movie progresses. Your kids will love this one.
  3. Jaws – The Steven Spielberg classic about three men chasing down a great white shark on the open ocean is terrifying and is still the best shark movie ever made (even if the shark they made for the film almost never worked which is why you see the yellow barrels more than the actual shark).
  4. Stand by Me – The film based on one of Stephen King’s short stories stars Corey Feldman, Will Wheaton, River Phoenix, and a chubby Jerry O’Connell. The four friends set off to find a dead body and end up dealing with their own demons along the way. True to King’s buddy coming of age stories, there are also some older bullies who serve as a test to the main characters and allow them to learn to stand up for themselves.
  5. Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead – This was my favorite film for the whole of my eighth grade year. When Christina Applegate’s mother goes on her own summer vacation and leaves the kids with an elderly babysitter who promptly dies, the kids band together and live out their summer with the two eldest siblings serving as the parental units. A comedy with some attitude and a lot of heart.
  6. The Great Outdoors – This list wouldn’t be the same without a John Candy movie. This one takes place in the Minnesota wilderness where John Candy and Dan Aykroyd have decided to vacation with their families. The love to hate each other, hilarity ensues, and they come in contact with a bald headed bear. Good times.
  7. Field Of Dreams – When Kevin Costner starts hearing voices telling him to plow over his corn field and build a baseball diamond, it takes him to surprising places, including Fenway Park. A summer classic, for sure.
  8. The Way Way Back – This on stars Toni Collette, Steve Carrell, and Sam Rockwell. It tells the story of an introverted teenage boy whose mother is dating a guy with a house in the Hamptons. The boy hates being around the boyfriend, so he spends his time at a nearby water park where he befriends the owner and is offered a job. A coming of age movie that is worthy of multiple viewings.
  9. The Parent Trap (1998 remake) – A set of twins (Lindsay Lohan and Lindsay Lohan) find each other at summer camp after having been separated by their parents when they were babies. They hatch a plan to get their parents back together by switching places so the parents have to meet up again after all those years. Cute, heartwarming movie with funny moments scattered throughout.
  10. What About Bob – Bill Murray plays a hypochondraic whose therapist (Richard Dreyfuss) leaves on vacation. So anxious about being on his own, Bill Murray follows the therapist to his vacation house and befriends the family. If you haven’t seen this, you are missing out on a genuinely funny film.
  11. Friday the 13th – This list wouldn’t be complete without at least one real horror movie. This one involves unsuspecting camp counselors getting hacked up by a deranged killer. I won’t spoil who the killer is – just in case you have been living in a cave and haven’t seen it.
  12. My Girl – Anna Chlumsky and Macauley Culkin play young preteens during that awkward summer where she gets her first period and he is suffering from unrequited love. She is obsessed with death, which isn’t surprising since her dad runs a mortuary out of their basement. It’s set in the 70’s making for a nostalgic, funny, and sometimes sad take on becoming a teenager.
  13. The Sandlot – The third baseball movie on this list is about a group of rambunctious friends who want nothing more than to spend their summer playing baseball. They meet a new kid, who knows nothing of the game or of Babe Ruth. When the new kid steals his dads Babe Ruth signed baseball and promptly loses it to a fenced in backyard, the kids have to go about trying to get the ball back while avoiding an angry dog. This is what summer is all about, kids.
  14. Indian Summer – A group of thirty-somethings return to the summer camp they loved as kids only to find  that the owner of the camp no longer wants to keep it open. This summer movie stars Bill Paxton, Diane Lane, Sam Raimi, and Kimberly Willaims-Paisley (Post Father of the Bride).
  15. National Lampoon’s Vacation – Did you think I would forget about this one? It’s the ultimate summer vacation movie told from the perspective of the Griswald family – whose vacations never go according to plan. This comes into play when they drive across the country to go to an amusement park only to find it closed upon their arrival.
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