The Movie Guru: Kick off summer with these sunshine-friendly streamers
It’s been awhile since we’ve really gotten to celebrate summer.
Maybe you feel a little out of practice, or nervous about jumping back into your usual activities. Or maybe you’re still in the kind of health situation that makes it a bad idea to venture out. Either way, here’s a list of streaming movies that will help you slide back into a summery mood.
Mama Mia! (Peacock)
Most of us can’t summer in Greece or suddenly break out into perfectly coordinated musical numbers, but we can watch “Mamma Mia!” The plot is paper thin, but that’s completely irrelevant when you’re watching Meryl Streep and company dance around in a sun-soaked paradise where all problems can be solved with the right Abba song. If your ideal cinematic summer vacation requires more Cher and less Streep, the sequel is available for rent from various streaming platforms.
Stand By Me (Netflix)
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Yes, this is based on a novella by Stephen King. And yes, a dead body is technically involved. But this Oscar-nominated classic is really about remembering childhood summers, the adventures you’d go on with your friends that felt like they were life or death, and how they can affect you years later. This is the movie to watch if you’re having trouble letting go of those lost summers you can’t get back anymore, or if there’s just a little sadness mingled in with your excitement.
Meet the glorious grandfather of today’s most ridiculous comedies. “Caddyshack” follows one teen’s summer job at the local golf course, but you don’t need to care a thing about the sport to enjoy it. Rodney Dangerfield and Chevy Chase are at the top of their game, the dialogue is deeply quotable, and Bill Murray is a slapstick delight. No matter how much yardwork you’re dealing with this summer, watching his version of pest control is sure to make you smile.
Wet Hot American Summer (Peacock)
Even if you’ve never gone to summer camp, enjoying movies about it is an experience in its own right. “Wet Hot American Summer” offers a silly, sexy take on the genre, following a group of camp counselors as they try to fulfill some final ambitions during the last day of camp. Meant as a parody of the teen sex comedies popular in the early 2000s, it’s a summery romp with a whole host of actors you already know and love. And if you decide you can’t get enough, head on over to Netflix for sequel series “Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later” and prequel series “Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp.”
Independence Day (HBO Max)
Technically, the characters are too busy fighting off an alien invasion to really enjoy many of the usual summer activities, but that’s easier to sympathize with than ever. More importantly, it’s big, bombastic fun that brings to mind the days when summer blockbusters were legitimate events instead of just relentless ad campaigns. The movie plays particularly well around the titular holiday, but it’s an action-soaked thrill ride no matter when you watch it this summer.
Other summery movies: The Sandlot (Hulu), Dirty Dancing (HBO Max), Into the Blue (Starz), Lilo & Stitch (Disney+), Little Miss Sunshine (YouTube), Weekend at Bernie’s (rent from Amazon), Adventureland (HBO Max)
Jenniffer Wardell is an award-winning movie critic and member of the Denver Film Critics Society. Find her on Twitter at @wardellwriter or drop her a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.