Summer movies denote so many wonderful memories for many of us. It was a carefree time when we had little responsibility and less need for practicalities of everyday life. The movies that many of us remember with fondness are movies we saw when we were young and our hearts were full…. Or not. The types of movies that I long to see when summer strikes are not always the best quality pictures. Sometimes, we may want to see a picture that doesn’t necessarily want to make us “think too much”. That’s the key to the Summer Movies list. Best not to “overthink” it.! My picks for top summer movies: **Grease-when I was young, Grease was a hit and we saw it over and over again. The music still holds up after all these years. Perhaps because the fifties were long gone by the time “Grease” made it to the big screen! *Jaws: At the beach, or in the surf, the boat, the water. We remember the drama, the music, the good plot-the good stuff…still one of Spielberg’s best. * Bad B’s: Beach Blanket Bingo, Where the Boys are, Gidget Goes Hawaiian….if the main character is called, “Moon-doggie”-that is enough to lure you in. There was the fake painted backgrounds while they surf, and the memorable lyrics from the title song, “Cause when the Gidget goes Hawaiian, she goes Hawaiian all the way!” The denouement in “Gidget Goes Hawaiian” occurs when Moondoggie gives the mean girl her come-uppance. She starts making fun of the hick back home that Gidget dates….who is called Moon-doggie. She gets her just rewards when Moon-doggie really lets her have it. He smoothly and suavely pronounces, “By the way, all the guys back home call me, “Moondoggie”. Now, in any other film, the fact that you were called “Moondoggie” would not be something you boast about…but it turns the tide for Gidget in this great classic summer fare. Disney movies are always favorites: The original Parent Trap is wonderful summer fun. Ghostbusters I & II plus Meatballs and Stripes, in other words, ALL the movies Bill Murray made before he went avant garde Then there is Caddyshack-a classic for summer viewing. You don’t have to play golf to appreciate the humor when Bill Murray runs from the golf course after the man of God he’s caddying for is struck by lightning after playing the perfect round in the middle of a torrent of lightning and rain. Classically quotable Bill Murray moment, “I don’t think the heavy stuff’s comin’ down yet…” *Lawrence of Arabia- There is the music, the desert, the unspoken irony, the nuance and subtlety, the drama, the beauty, and the romance of the Far East, There’s a mystery never to be solved, namely, who was this man, Lawrence? *Cary Grant-Doris Day-any fifties summer movie…those of us “of a certain age” can remember starring either Cary Grant or Doris Day. That Touch of Mink combined all the rare elements of canned comedy with two genuinely talented comics. Although the material is dated, Day and Grant are still funny after all these years. I confess to a fondness for some quirky summer movies. I really like, “The Russians are Coming, The Russians are Coming!” – Carl Reiner and Jonathon Winters are hilarious. There are newer movies for younger generations. There is: Dirty Dancing, Endless Summer, Sixteen Candles, Ferris Buehller’s Day Off, Fast Times at Ridgmont High, and Bill & Ted’s, Excellent Adventure. You can’t leave out “Star Wars” or any subsequent release from the Star Wars movie factory that is Lucasfilms! Some people remember musicals, some remember action adventure fare. The newest rage is comic book films. The movies of summer are the ones we remember from high school, from college, a first date, or just a Big Night out on the town. That’s the allure of summer movies. We remember them fondly, especially when summer rolls around again.
In a nutshell, the story of “War of the Worlds” set at sea. The small details of why a tiny, inflatable boat could withstand tsunami force waves from a catastrophic event are minor inconsistencies in the story line. Liam Neeson is onscreen less than ten minutes. The star, actor Taylor Kitsch, is the hotshot, upstart, younger, ne’er do well brother of a Naval Captain. He somehow manages to rise through the ranks and wins the heart of the Admiral’s daughter within the first half hour. The rest is War of the Worlds revised. There is comic relief, a brave soldier, a team of scrappy misfits who are the only ones left in a position to battle the monsters [aliens] and save the planet. Oh, there is an Achilles Heel that is found to work to kill and disable the enemy. In the 1957 sci-fi movie, “The Monolith Monsters” the town is saved when they blow the dam and the secret ingredient that will destroy the murderous rocks is… water. Superman is vulnerable to Kryptonite. Movie writing rule of thumb: There is always something out there, sometimes found in your kitchen cabinet or glancing out the window, that will work to destroy the enemy invaders from another world. All it takes is some gumption, some good ol’ American know-how, and millions upon millions of dollars spent on hi-tech special effects to keep the audience in their seats for two hours. The strange brew to make a Blockbuster these days always hinges on the mammoth special effects. The ships are getting bigger, the monsters more deadly, and the heroes are much more ”buff” with a prerequisite of washboard abs.