Every year around February and after our long dreary winter’s on the coast. Winters that can bring up to 60 days of consecutive rain. There’s a week of sunshine. A week where I step outside in the morning and see purple crocuses sprouting and the earth smells warm and sweet and it hits me: It’s officially Spring. Even if it might cloud over again and the rain comes for another 2 months, nothing can get me off the high of the prospect of Spring and Summer. The movies I’m about to share may not be the best movies but I feel drawn to watching them every year for the feelings they convey; Adventure, hope, laughter, wanderlust and I think that it’s healthy to go to those places in our minds. It’s comfortable, it’s known and it puts you in a positive mindset.
So without any more rambling. Here they are. Movies that get me in the mood for Summer.
- In no special order, I’ll start with 50 First Dates. As soon as the sun peeks out from behind the clouds in February or March, I want to go to Hawaii. This movie, shot entirely on Oahu features beautiful ocean/beach scenes, the mountains, tropical jungles and the quirkiest love story I can think of. Drew Barrimore’s character has no short term memory after an accident so her slate is wiped clean every night while she sleeps. Adam Sandler’s character has to remind her each morning that they’re dating and how they fell in love.
2. I’ll admit I have a total girl crush of Kirsten Stewart and will watch any movie she’s in; awkward and nervous, I can totally relate to her. Crushes aside, this movie, set to the best 80’s soundtrack is about a guy (played by Jesse Eisenberg) who after finding out his parents won’t be funding his summer trip to Europe, finds a job at Adventureland (the town’s amusement park). With a cast of very interesting characters, music by Lou Reed and Falco, this story will remind you of those jobs we took when we were young just to make a buck mixed in with summer romance, giant ass panda’s and lot’s of laughs.
3. In my mind, I’m an amazing surfer. It doesn’t matter that the last time I dove into a lake I nearly drowned ’cause I’d forgotten I’m the weakest swimmer in the world. Filmed on the North Shore of Oahu, Ann Marie is a young aspiring surfer who has a lot of responsibilities after her mother walks out. Raising her younger sister and training for the pipe masters, she meets a hot football player vacationing on the island. This is a story (at times with really bad acting) about determination and following your dreams. It’s Hawaii, it’s summer, Lenny Kravitz and N.E.R.D on the soundtrack. Plus the fact that these girls are totally ripped inspire me to work out!
4. Breakfast at Tiffany’s is more of a Spring than Summer movie for me. I don’t know if it’s the gentle sunlight through the trees in Holly Golightly’s New York neighbourhood or the last scene in the rain with Audrey Hepburn in the iconic trench coat but I watch this movie early in the season, around March more for the fashion than the story. You can’t help but love Holly despite her aloofness. And George Peppard was so young and handsome. Moon River…sigh.
5. The first time I watched Dirty Dancing was when I was 12. My friends threw a slumber party for me as a going away when I moved to Colombia. The minute Baby bursts through the doors at the party holding a watermelon and sees Johnny dancing, I was mesmerized. This is an end of Summer movie for me and the song In The Still Of The Night is my favourite off the soundtrack.
6. This one’s another Spring movie for me. New Jersey’s just so green and the thunder storm that falls during the “infinite abyss” scene reminds me of home. Largeman, a failed actor trying to make it in L.A. returns home to New Jersey for his mother’s funeral. His life is forever changed when he meets Sam, a sweet girl with a lying habit that connects him with his feelings and some great tunes along the way. The soundtrack to this movie is phenomenal and the story touches home to many of us who have gone back to places that were once important to us only to find the vision of them but a memory. “Maybe that’s all family really is. A group of people that miss the same imaginary place”.
7. I was 3 when Grease came out so I imagine I was about 4 when it premiered on T.V. Looking back I was way too young to understand a lot of the topics in this film but all I cared about was the Rama lama lama ka dinga da dinga dong. Chang chang changitty chang sha-bop That’s the way it should be!!!!…and of course Olivia Newtown John’s makeover. I still want a pair of those amazing red wooden heels she wears at the end. This one plays every year at the outdoor movie in the park here in the city. I’ll have to make it a point to go this year given I know the lyrics to every single song.
8. I did warn you that some of these weren’t going to be good movies right? Still, when I want a flash back to the 90’s and a fun Summer thriller, then I Know What You Did Last Summer is the perfect movie to watch. Scary enough to keep me on edge but not so scary I won’t sleep, everyone is gorgeous and everyone gets slaughtered. Isn’t that the point of a good slasher movie?
9. I’m grouping these two as one because you can’t have Legally Blonde without Legally Blonde 2. One of the few movies that the first and second are just as good. Elle Woods is the most cheerful, positive, empowered girl out there and if she doesn’t make you feel warm and fuzzy then you’re the problem not the movie. These movies always make me feel extra summery as well as make me want to dress head to toe in pink.
10. I am a HUGE Woody Allen fan and although some of his films (for me at least) are a hit and others a miss. This one is a hit all the way. When it first came out I took myself out on a date and lost myself in the streets of 20’s Paris. You do need to know your literature history to understand who the people Owen Wilson meets along the way are but aside from that it’ss the way Woody captures a city and the jazzy music that always brings me back to his films. I walked home in a daze after leaving the theatre that afternoon. A gentle rain began to fall just like in the closing scene. I stopped in at a local bakery for a chocolate croissant and smiled all the way home.
11. This movie came out when I was 10 and I rented it on VHS from the local video store to watch at my birthday party. Not that I’d ever wanted to find a dead body but the idea of an adventure like this; camping with friends, the train track scene, the coming of age has made this film, to this day one of my all time favourites. An end of Summer film shot in Oregon and the most sentimental song by Ben E King to end the adventure. I think I might have to watch it tonight..again.
12. I’ve always been fascinated with the idea of living in a giant mansion or castle. Perhaps this is why I loved the Chronicle of Narnia stories, the Mists of Avalon or Watcher in the Woods. Mary Lenox is orphaned after an earthquake kill her parents in India where she was raised by maids and nanny’s. She’s shipped off to the mysterious Misselthwaite Manor where she meets her cousin, a boy who hasn’t seen the light of day or walked for most of his life and Dickon a shy boy who talks to the animals and practices magic. Together they bring the garden that was their mothers back to life and in turn help uncle Craven connect in love with his son again.
13. I’ve wanted to visit Tuscany ever since I watched this movie for the first time. Frances is a divorced woman who ends up buying a house in Cortona Tuscany after her friends send her off on a tour to cheer her up. Little by little and layer by layer, she begins to see that everything she wished for; a family, a wedding, love show up for her, just in different ways than she expected. This film always awakens the wanderlust in me and the way travelling allows us to reinvent ourselves. We’re headed to Tuscany next month. I can’t even contain my excitement.
14. This one concludes my Summer movie list. Spending the summer in a cabin by a lake has been my idea of a vacation for as long as I can remember. I didn’t grow up in a home of adventurers so as a child it was more of a dream to head out into the wilderness to canoe, fish and cook anything over an open fire. Now as an adult and because luckily I’m engaged to someone who shares my affinity for getting lost on purpose, we love camping up in Northern Vancouver island or renting a cabin on a lake and talking around the campfire late into the night. I love this film, it’s funny, it’s cozy and I mean, this is the film that taught us how hot dogs are made. And somehow we still eat them.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my Summer movie list and if you haven’t watched some of these and feel compelled to, let me know what you think!