When I was a kid, the Summer holidays always included at least one trip to the cinema … Flash Gordon and The Rescuers …. It’s a tradition that I’ve continued with The Boy Child; top of his must-see list this summer is Incredibles 2.
Which films are your Summer favourites? Here’s five I return to time and time again:
That Thing You Do! (1996) – Set in the summer of 1964, the film tells the story of the rise and fall of a one-hit wonder pop band. And that’s pretty much it. Tom Hanks both stars in and directs this gem of a film.
Dead Poets Society (1989) – Set in 1959, the film tells the story of an English teacher who inspires his students through his teaching of poetry. The film stars Robin Williams as John Keating, a teacher who encourages his students to “make your lives extraordinary“, a sentiment he summarises with the Latin expression carpe diem. Subsequent lessons include having them take turns standing on his desk to teach the boys how they must look at life in a different way, telling them to rip out the introduction of their poetry books which explains a mathematical formula used for rating poetry, and inviting them to make up their own style of walking in a courtyard to encourage them to be individuals. And who can forget that final scene? “Oh Captain! My Captain!”
Grease (1977) – Does this classic musical need any introduction? Sandy, Danny, football bleachers, school dances, drive-in movies, “Summer Nights”? This is as “classic summer flick” as classic summer films can get. You’ll sing along. You’ll dance along.
Dirty Dancing (1987) – Two star-crossed lovers meet at family summer camp … “Nobody puts Baby in the corner.” Here’s the thing … I didn’t see this film when it came out at the cinema in the UK (probably because I was in the Falklands Islands); I first saw it in the summer of 1988. I’d been posted to Germany and one evening found myself babysitting the kids of a married work colleague. My fee was supper and Dirty Dancing on video once the kids were in bed. The film’s soundtrack was the sound of that first summer in Germany; it seemed to be on constant repeat across the WRAF living accommodation. “I had the time of my life …”
Mamma Mia! (2008) – Love musicals or hate them, this epic film adaptation of the Abba-inspired musical is the ultimate summer film. The beachy/effortless beauty and fashion inspiration, close female friendships, the kind of songs you can’t help but sing along to, mother/daughter sob-worthy moments, and young, carefree love — all with the backdrop of a spectacular Greek island. And Meryl Streep.
And yep, we’re old school; we still have a DVD collection.