Oh hello there Summer. How y’doing? Whatcha been up to? Sure is nice to see you. So how long do you reckon you’ll – oh, you’ve gone. It came, it went and, in honour of the sun’s fleeting but glorious presence, we’ve compiled our Top 10 Summer Movies. So next time watching the Female Greco-Roman Wrestling or the preliminary rounds of the Women’s Lightweight Snatch (yep, totally real) doesn’t appeal to you, hunker down with one of these.
#10 – Grease
What’s not to love about a bunch of thirty year olds running about pretending to be 17, having casual sex, submitting to peer pressure and walking in a weird way to make John Travolta look taller? It’s the 50s and Danny and Sandy are in the throes of some beach-based Summer Lovin’, then there’s some school, and then some more summer! Hurrah! It’s not really a summer movie, but it’s generally sunny and it’s got perhaps the most famous summer song of all time, welcome to the gang, Grease.
*The combined age of the people in that photo is 157*
#9 – National Lampoon’s Vacation
Chevy Chase and his gang set off to drive from Chicago to Los Angeles for a family vacation to Wally World. But what’s this? The brand new sports wagon they’ve ordered isn’t available and they have to drive a Wagon Queen Family Truckster instead? Sounds like that’s just the first hilarious mishap in this slapstick rollercoaster ride of adventure the whole family can enjoy! Plus model Christie Brinkley’s in it; her performance in this 1983 classic being the second most interesting thing she’s ever done after being the only person to have appeared on the front cover of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue for three consecutive years.
#8 – Die Hard: With a Vengeance
Bruce Willis is back motherfucker! Samuel L. Jackson wears two monocles and is NHAT cool with being forced to work with white guy John McClane while they crash and bang and explode their way across the city! Jeremy Irons plays the psycho leading them on a wild goose chase across New York, except instead of geese, they’re chasing BOMBS! Yippee Ki-ay Motherf-BOOMBOOMEXPLOSIONBOOM
(also it’s the summer)
#7 – Y tu mamá también
‘And your mum too’ – sounds racy and it is. Starts off with some teenage sex and continues in much the same vein. With their girlfriends off to Europe for the summer, two beautiful teenage boys (Diego Luna and Gael García Bernal) set off across glorious Mexico on a road trip with an older woman. Those lovely boys learn about themselves, we learn about Mexican politics, and there’s some stunning cinematography and a healthy dose of sex (but you know, tasteful sex).
#6 – Stand By Me
Oh hey there Jack Baeur, whatchadoin? You’re playing a teenage bully who picks on a young River Phoenix when a group of boys set out on a bittersweet coming of age adventure to find the body of a missing teenager? Sounds cool, bet they play that Stand By Me song and show some lovely hazy shots of a 1960s summer in Oregon. Bet you wear really tight jeans in it and have funny hair and we find it really hard to take you seriously because you don’t rough up any terrorists, but love you, and your first(ish) film, nonetheless.
#5 – The Seven Year Itch
The film that created the most iconic Hollywood image of the 20th century – Mailyn Monroe and that ill-positioned subway grate. As his wife and son head off to Maine for the summer, Richard Sherman (Tom Ewell) discovers that a beautiful model (Monroe), known only as The Girl, is renting the apartment upstairs. A classic, and surprisingly dark comedy about the sexual tensions of one summer in New York and the dazzlingly sexiness of Marilyn Monroe.
#4 – Addams Family Values
‘Is that your swimming costume?’ ‘Is that your overbite?’
Sure that’s a slightly obscure quote, but one you will quickly come to love once you’ve experienced this joyous second installment in the story of everyone’s favourite family. Uncle Fester’s murderous new lover (Joan Cusack) packs Wednesday and Pugsley off to summer camp and they get up to all manner of black clad japes while displaying an understanding of deadpan one-liners beyond their years. Wednesday Addams (Christina Ricci) was my personal childhood role model and, now that I’ve built a four foot tower of Ferrero Rocher, the sole ambition of my adult life is to one day attend a fancy dress party with my husband and children dressed as the Addams Family. That’s how good this film is.
#3 – Jaws
The actress playing Chrissie Watkins, the skinny-dipping first victim of Spielberg’s great white shark, was attached to 300 pounds worth of rope and weights that were pulled back and forth by divers to give the appearance of a shark attack. The force of the weights accidentally broke one of her ribs and when the film was released the deaf community complained about the amount of swearing they could lip read (the screams you can hear are dubbed over). But I digress. It’s summertime on Amity Island and a police chief, a marine biologist and an angry fisherman set out to rid the townsfolk of the man-eating shark Spielberg named ‘Bruce’, after one of his lawyers. Utterly terrifying and genre redefining; even just humming that iconic two note tune makes us want to stick to the safety of the paddling pool.
#2 – Dirty Dancing
‘I carried a watermelon’. Yes you did Baby, yes you did. Jennifer Grey (Baby) played the sister in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, rocketed to stardom with Dirty Dancing the following year, got a nose job the year after that AND NEVER WORKED AGAIN. Well, she did, but not in anything you’ve ever heard of, just a couple of made for TV movies and a role as herself in a short lived 1999 sitcom called It’s Like, You Know… which satirised her nose job. Don’t get rhinoplasty people. Watch Dirty Dancing instead, sing along, dance along and wish Patrick Swayzee would come and get you out of a corner.
#1 – Summer Holiday
Here’s Cliff Richard, the oldest man in the world, rousing our spirits in this fabulous British musical, how we could let anything else win? It was made in 1963, so Cliff is probably about 80 here and looking great as one of four London bus mechanics who set off across Europe in a double-decker bus. They pick up a runaway singer (convenient) and trio of performing girls (lucky) and burst into song to their heart’s content. One of the girls is Una Stubbs, who spends her time these days as Mrs Hudson, housekeeping for Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sherlock. Here’s a little snippet of Cliff having a boogie in a hay field with a terrified French peasant; she thinks there’s going to be a gang bang, but then there’s a song instead! Tell me it doesn’t fill your cold and broken heart with joy? Vive La Summer!