Arthur is an avid television and movie fan with horror being his favored genre. If you can name it, he has probably seen it. Twice.
Summer is a wonderful time of year that usually calls for a lot of outdoor activities. At the end of a long day of play or on one of those inevitable rainy days, it is always nice to have a good movie to unwind to. There is nothing better for family time than to watch a summer-themed movie that everyone can enjoy. As a family man myself, I have compiled a list of movies that I hope my family can get to this season.
There may not be a more perfect coming of age film than The Sandlot. It has so many quotable scenes, but the most iconic line, which is still widely used today is, "You're killin' me, Smalls." This film single-handedly made Chuck Taylor high tops one of the most sought after shoes of a generation. Apart from its pop culture influence, The Sandlot just happens to be an especially great movie.
The movie is about a group of kids who bond and grow over baseball during a special summer in their formative years. They face many challenges, the biggest being retrieving a one of a kind baseball from the yard of a massive and bloodthirsty dog. The movie is funny and poignant with a few questionable scenes for younger viewers. Overall, this is a great family movie and a perfect film for a summer night on the couch.
Kings of Summer
Kings of Summer was a surprise to me. What I thought was going to be an ok movie at best, ended up being one of those that is so good I revisit every so often. This film is not for the younger ones in the family as it has plenty of adult situations and salty language. If you can get past those things, this movie is both hilarious and heartwarming. It may take you back to a time when you were trying to find your place in the world.
Kings of Summer is about three boys who are fed up with their day to day lives being beholden to their parents who are a little off the deep end. The boys devise a plan to build their own house in the middle of nowhere and live off the land. They soon find out that life without mom and dad, especially in the center of the forest, is not all it is cracked up to be. Their biggest challenge comes when they are faced with a life or death situation that forces them all to grow up in a flash. I can't recommend this movie enough for an entertaining night at home.
The Parent Trap (1998)
The Parent Trap is the movie that sparked the trainwreck that is Lindsay Lohan. At that time though, she was just a cute, innocent girl with some impressive acting chops. The cool thing about this movie is that it is really for all ages and will get laughs out of everyone in the family.
If you have yet to watch this American mainstay, then you don't know that it is about a set of twins separated at a young age who don't know the other exists. That is until they have a chance meeting at a summer camp. From there, the two take numerous measures to get their parents back together and start a family against all odds. There are only the issues of a giant ocean and their Dad's fiancé that are keeping them from reaching their goal.
Field of Dreams
Field of Dreams is a criterion movie, one of those classics that is so important to cinema that you have to see it. It is also the perfect summer movie with a serene Midwest summer setting complete with corn fields. This film is an excellent choice for a family night too with a PG rating and a relatively wholesome story.
This 1989 film gave the pop culture lexicon the line, "If you build it, they will come." The film sees a farmer driven to build a baseball diamond because a voice in his head tells him to. The "they" that come are a miracle in themselves, but even that surprise is not what makes this movie so spectacular.
Goonies is a rare movie that is endearing to every generation that comes across it. It is a fantastic family movie because it has a little something for everyone from humor to romance and a healthy amount of adventure. Though there are some subjects touched upon that could be seen as slightly above that PG mark, I think that this movie hovers right around there.
If you have yet to see Goonies, this is the right movie to kick off your summer movie nights with. It follows a group of young people on the hunt for a treasure. On the way, they learn a lot about themselves and each other while facing some serious danger. A perfectly happy ending gives adults the warm and fuzzies and reassures younger audiences that some of the more intense scenes were nothing to worry about.
Stand By Me
Like many of Steven King's works, Stand By Me is a classic. I recently rewatched this, and I was surprised to note that this movie fares better with an audience of PG-13 or higher, I didn't remember it being so expletive-filled the first time I watched it. None the less, this is an excellent coming of age summer movie and one that everyone should watch at least once in their lifetime.
The film revolves around a group of preteen boys who set off on an overnight trip to find the body of a missing young man. On their two-day excursion, the kids are forced to face many of their demons which both drives them apart and binds them together. Stand by Me doesn't exactly have a happy ending, but it has a satisfying one.
Phineas and Ferb The Movie: Across the Second Dimension
There is nothing more summer themed than Phineas and Ferb. The entire series is based on what the pair do during their summer vacation. I would highly suggest watching the whole series as it is one of those special cartoons that kids and adults can enjoy at the same time, but since this is a list of movies we'll stick with the made for TV film Across the Second Dimension.
The film departs slightly from the theme of the show as Phineas and Ferb go to another dimension where there are carbon copies of everyone in their lives, but everything is very different. The two have to help set things right in the other reality while trying to get back to their own. It is filled with that perfect P & F humor that is fun for adults and kids alike.
There is no better time than now to introduce your younger kids to the wonder of Jumanji since there is a new Jumanji right around the corner. It is hard to say what was Robin Williams' best work but this movie is definitely up there. Apart from a few "scarier" scenes, this is a great family adventure movie that is great for the whole family.
Jumanji is a board game which the main characters find in their new home. They start playing only to find out that it is much more than just your standard board game. As their world changes around them it is up to the kids to finish the game before the jungle takes over forever.
There are a few summer camp movies floating around, but I'm not sure if there is one better than Heavyweights. The film stars some faces that 90s kids will recognize including half of Mighty Ducks 2 as well as a relatively unknown face at the time, Ben Stiller. This is a family safe movie, but kids under 10 may become bored with the story.
Gerry reluctantly goes to a camp for overweight boys when his parents sell him on how much fun it is going to be. Unfortunately for him, the camp is under new ownership, and fun is out the window. Now the boys must reclaim their summer from the hands of the camp's maniacal owner.
Lilo And Stitch
Lilo and Stitch is one of my favorite Disney movies, and although it never reached Frozen or Moana status, it has enjoyed continued popularity in the Disney universe. It is a great movie for all ages with just enough adult content to keep mom and dad engaged. The setting makes it the perfect movie for a summer family movie night.
When an alien experiment designed to destroy gets loose, he crash-lands on a Hawaiin island and is taken in by a young girl. Through her, he learns that family and love are more important than his programming. Now his new found family has to protect him from the FBI and alien bounty hunters determined to return him to his extraterrestrial prison.