It had been a long time since we had really been able to celebrate summer.
Perhaps you are feeling a little out of practice or nervous about resuming your usual activities. Or maybe you are 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 relapse into a summer vibe.
Mama Mia! (Peacock)
Most of us can’t spend the summer in Greece or suddenly jump into perfectly coordinated musical numbers, but we can watch “Mamma Mia!” The plot is thin as paper, but that doesn’t matter when you watch Meryl Streep and her company dance in a sunny paradise where any issues can be solved with the right song from Abba. If your ideal cinematic summer vacation calls for more Cher and less Streep, the sequel is available to rent on a variety of streaming platforms.
Support me (Netflix)
Yes, it’s based on a short story by Stephen King. And yes, a corpse is technically involved. But this Oscar nominated classic is really about remembering the summers of your childhood, the adventures you had with your friends that seemed like life or death, and how they can affect you years later. This is the movie to watch if you are struggling to shake off those lost summers that you can no longer get back, or if there is just a little sadness mixed with your excitement.
Meet the glorious grandfather of today’s most ridiculous comedies. “Caddyshack” follows a teen’s summer job at the local golf course, but you don’t have to worry 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 burlesque delight. No matter what gardening job you face this summer, watching his version of pest control is sure to put a smile on your face.
Hot and humid American summer (peacock)
Even if you’ve never been to summer camp, watching movies about it is an experience in its own right. “Wet Hot American Summer” offers a silly and sexy take on the genre, following a group of camp counselors as they attempt to achieve some final ambitions on the last day of camp. Designed as a parody of the popular teen sex comedies of the early 2000s, it’s a summer adventure with a host of actors you already know and love. And if you decide you can’t get enough, head over to Netflix for the next series “Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later” and the prequel series “Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp”.
Independence Day (HBO Max)
Technically, the characters are too busy battling an alien invasion to really enjoy many of the usual summer activities, but it’s easier to empathize with than ever before. More importantly, it’s awe-inspiring entertainment reminiscent of the days when summer blockbusters were legitimate events instead of just relentless advertising campaigns. The movie plays particularly well around the titular vacations, but it’s a thrill ride no matter when you watch it this summer.
Other summer movies: The Sandlot (Hulu), Dirty Dancing (HBO Max), Into the Blue (Starz), Lilo & Stitch (Disney +), Little Miss Sunshine (YouTube), Weekend at Bernie’s (rental on Amazon), Adventureland (HBO ) maximum)
Jenniffer Wardell is an award-winning film critic and member of the Denver Film Critics Society. Find her on Twitter at @wardellwriter or message her at [email protected].