Friday, June 13, 2008

The Essential Summer Flicks

Summertime should be spent outdoors. Period. But once our energy and the day are spent and biting bugs force us indoors, balmy summer nights are best spent with a great film, some friends and/or family, and wine. Here are my picks for summer flicks:

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
This movie is spectacular, a character-based drama that all takes place on a sultery southern plantation. Elizabeth Taylor sizzles and, I'm convinced, is the only woman whose looks could compete with the delicious Paul Newman. This film makes me want a mint julep, a drawl, and a brass-frame bed. (movie based on play by Tennessee Williams who won the pulitzer for it in 1955)

Summer Magic
Speaking of Burl Ives, he stars alongside Hayley Mills in this adorable Disney picture. I grew up on this movie with it's cheesy musical numbers, but it's overall a very sweet movie and it's my favorite starring Hayley Mills who's just on the cusp of becoming a woman when this was made. If you've ever heard the Disney song "Ugly Bug Ball," this is where it originated. The story goes that Disney didn't like the song at all when songwriter Bob Sherman presented it. Sherman explained to Disney that to bugs, other bugs weren't ugly, even if they are to us. Disney was sold and it because one of the most popular Disney songs of that time (1960s).

Benny and Joon A brand new favorite, I saw this for the first time just last night. Depp is splendid, Quinn's eyes are fathomlessly blue (Benny), and Masterson's (Joon) inquisitivness about Depp's character is what makes their little love story sing. Now all I want is a dozen perfect pink roses and to play "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)" by The Proclaimers on repeat.

Mystic Pizza My all-time favorite Julia Roberts film, it's original tagline was "A romantic comedy with the works," and it is. You really do have to see it to understand, but it's sort of a coming-of-age, clash of socieites, East coast, essential '80s movie. Guys, not gonna like it so much. Girls, rent it. I know you'll love it.

Stand By Me LOVE this movie, warning, language from young bothers many mothers. But I borrowed this movie from a coworker (thanks Blake!)this Spring and loved it. Of course, you stick Richard Dreyfus on anything and I'll eat it up, non-Dreyfus fans don't be deterred, he's just the narrator. River Phoenix, rest in peace my friend, you rocked this film. (Bonus: The movie is based on the novella, The Body by Stephen King)

Jaws Based on Peter Benchley's novel and set off by John William's unforgettable cello score, little needs to be said about this fantastic summer suspense that's enough to make you afraid of the kiddy pool in your own backyard.

A Streetcar Named Desire If you thought Vivien Leigh left us with only her stunning performance in Gone with the Wind, you're dead wrong; and if you thought that she was maltreated in that film, Scarlett's got nothing on Blanche. Not a happy film, but worth it just to watch the fabulous Marlon Brando storm and brood. Great performances, great scene settings, and oh so sultry. So once again, one of Tennessee William's screenplays makes the list.

Runners up:
Swiss Family Robinson (another cheesy but great Disney flick--and it has pirates!!)
Pirates of the Carribean, we all know it's best enjoyed with a huge pina colada (extra rum). And for Pete's sake, only watch the first one, the other two are a waste of rump time.
Finding Nemo, I shouldn't have to even list it
American Graffiti
The Sandlot
The Blue Lagoon

I think there will have to be a part II to this post, but for now, these should help you beat the heat. Enjoy!


Anonymous said...

... and Hoosiers

Benjamin said...

I'm off to Blockbuster immediately :)Can't wait to bust out the new CD!

Benjamin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Heather Lea said...

i'm not going to lie....i despise movies from the 80's and early 90's. Many of these suggestions I will never touch. Just letting you know. But I DO love YOU, MEG!!!!!!!!

Davenport Dame said...

Benny and Joon. I used to rent it every time I was home alone.

Also--just for the record--Swiss Family Robinson should have made the list.

And I love that you love the same movies as I do. Wait! You forgot Viva Las Vegas!!!