1. An iconic summer adventure — ‘Stand by Me’ (1986)
This timeless coming-of-age adventure film directed by Rob Reiner, who also directed “When Harry Met Sally,” stars Wil Wheaton, River Phoenix, Corey Feldman and Jerry O’Connell. The film is based on a Stephen King novel titled “The Body,” and follows four small-town Oregon boys as they hike through the wilderness in search of a dead body. While the premise may seem a little grim, the film is full of comedic elements and features a fantastic soundtrack including Buddy Holly, Jerry Lee Lewis and Ben E. King. Moreover, there are numerous moments throughout the adventure that are not only relatable, but also serve to bring one back to the best moments of childhood summers.
2. A simple, yet thought-provoking documentary — ‘Parking Lot Movie’ (2010)
Both for those loathing the repetitious minutiae of their summer jobs and those looking to explore the documentary genre, “The Parking Lot Movie” is worth a watch. Filmed between 2007 and 2010, this film follows a group of parking lot attendants at the Corner Parking Lot in Charlottesville, Va. The film highlights the highly educated University of Virginia students and graduates who man the tollbooth as they find existential meaning through a mundane job. The film uses the interactions between the eccentric attendants and the drunk, rude and cheap patrons as metaphors for life. While the subject matter is straightforward, this film is sure to keep your attention for the entire run time of just over an hour.
3. A feel-good rebellion — ‘Footloose’ (1984)
Starring Kevin Bacon as Ren McCormack, a Chicago teen who finds his expressive nature smothered upon moving to a small town, “Footloose” is a musical drama sure to inspire rebellion. Loosely based on the true story of a rural religious community in Oklahoma, the film follows McCormack’s efforts to undermine a local minister’s (John Lithgow) ban on dancing and rock music. Although McCormack finds himself in more trouble than he bargained for after falling for the minister’s daughter Ariel (Lori Singer), there is no predicament that cannot be resolved by a song and expertly choreographed dance. This feel-good tale of love and the power of dance is a summer classic.
4. An inspiration to do something incredible — ‘Maidentrip’ (2013)
This adventure documentary tracks the solo journey of Dutch sailor Laura Dekker as she attempts a circumnavigation of the world. Although the 14-year-old Dekker has been an avid sailor since birth, the incredibly arduous 22,000-nautical-mile journey is a test for even the most experienced sailors. Confronting a public outcry directed toward her parents for letting her go, negotiating permission from Dutch courts to embark, navigating dangerous waterways and managing to stay afloat through violent storms are just a few of the obstacles that impede Dekker’s path. This film will have viewers on the edge of their seats while witnessing a potentially mind-blowing accomplishment.
5. A noncliche love story — ‘Paris Je T’Aime’ (2006)
Summer is the season of love and the season of travel. What better way to celebrate this than by taking a trip to Paris in “Paris Je T’Aime,” a film composed of 18 distinct short films. Each is set in a different arrondissement, or neighborhood, of Paris and is directed by one or two of the 22 directors who contributed to the film, including Gurinder Chadha, Sylvain Chomet and Joel and Ethan Coen. While each snippet is thematically centered on a momentary Parisian romance based on a chance encounter or twist of fortune, they are stylistically unique and offer an array of styles sure to appeal to a wide audience. Far from a cliche love story, the film is incredibly diverse and thought-provoking.
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