UTG LIST: 10 Essential Summer films

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Summer is here and while many of you will spend it outdoors, some of us will choose to remain indoors and enjoy the techonological advancements of mankind (shoutout to Willis Carrier, inventor of the modern air conditioner). To help keep you entertained while staying cool, we compiled a list of 10 essential Summer films that you need to see (if not own). So grab some friends, cranks the A/C, pop the popcorn, and get ready to let other people enjoy the great outdoors with UTG’s latest countdown!

10. Now & Then (1995)

Kicking off our Summer list is a coming-of-age tale that is as relevant today as it was in the mid-90s. Directed by Lesli Linka Glatter and starring Christina Ricci, Rosie O’Donnell, Thora Birch, Melanie Griffith, Gaby Hoffmann, Demi Moore, Ashleigh Aston Moore and Rita Wilson, Now & Then captures the carefree feel Summer with your best friend, while also managing to offer a substantially rewarding plot. Furthermore, I dare anyone to resist dancing to nearly every song on the soundtrack.

9. Piranha (2010)

Okay, so Piranha is not exactly an award-winning film, but it is damn entertaining. From the over-the-top acting of Jerry O’connell, to the unforgettable madness that ensues when the piranhas arrive at Spring Break HQ, anyone that loves horror (or at least blood) will likely be smiling throughout this sun-drenched epic. A sequel is due out as early as this Fall, so hopefully next year’s list will have another addition!

8. The Great Outdoors (1988)

Given the average age of our readership, I am willing to bet many of you have not seen this film. Do not let the age scare you. Though it was a product of the 80s (like most of our staff), The Great Outdoors is still insanely relatable for anyone whose family has at least tried to enjoy, well, the great outdoors. If you have ever attempted enjoying outdoors with extended family members, even better.

7. Caddyshack (1980)

What can we possibly say about this gem that hasn’t already been written in both countless blogs and books? All you need to know is this quote:

“Looper, you know, a caddy, a looper, a jock. So, I tell them I’m a pro jock, and who do you think they give me? The Dalai Lama, himself. Twelfth son of the Lama. The flowing robes, the grace, bald… striking. So, I’m on the first tee with him. I give him the driver. He hauls off and whacks one – big hitter, the Lama – long, into a ten-thousand foot crevasse, right at the base of this glacier. Do you know what the Lama says? Gunga galunga… gunga, gunga-lagunga. So we finish the eighteenth and he’s gonna stiff me. And I say, “Hey, Lama, hey, how about a little something, you know, for the effort, you know.” And he says, “Oh, uh, there won’t be any money, but when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness.” So I got that goin’ for me, which is nice.”

6. What About Bob (1991)

Maybe the best film about the worst Summer vacation ever, What About Bob should be comedy 101 for anyone interested in film. Bill Murray delivers one of his most memorable performances of all time and the chemistry between Richard Dreyfuss and Julie Hagerty couldn’t be more believable. This is the kind of film they simply don’t make anymore. One of a kind.

5. The Sandlot (1993)

Nothing has ever made me wish I lived in the early sixties as much as The Sandlot (no, not even Mad Men). I don’t even like baseball, hell, i never did, but this film makes me wish I spent a lot more time with my friends on a diamond (instead of, you know, messing around on the internet) and that says a lot. Regardless of who you are or where you come from and what your interests are, there’s something about this story of friendship that transcends it all. Resisting this film is like fighting ice cream on a ninety degree day (unless your lactose intolerant).

4. Wet Hot American Summer (2001)

I cannot tell you where I was the first time I saw Wet Hot American Summer, but it changed me. Though I had seen off-the-wall comedies before, never had such a great ensemble film been bestowed upon my eyes. Even now, a decade later, i can quote lines, if not entire scenes, verbatim. WHAS is the kind of film you tell your friends about days before they then tell someone else about it. If you anyone you care about has be unfortunate enough to sleep on this film until now, wake up!

3. Dazed And Confused (1993)

This movie is so perfectly Summer that the moment we thought to add it to the list, everyone in the meeting instantly shouted, “of course!” Released in 1993, but set in 1976, Richard Linklater’s ode to the last day of school still feels new with each viewing, thanks mainly to timeless performances from then soon-to-be stars like Matthew McConaughey, Jason London, Ben Affleck, Milla Jovovich, Cole Hauser, Parker Posey, Anthony Rapp, Adam Goldberg, and Joey Lauren Adams. We dare you to find a fan of movies that has anything negative to say about this film.

2. Jaws (1975)

Can you even read the name of this film without hearing the music in your head? Growing ever closer to the forty-year-old mark, Jaws remains an essential Summer film, as well as one of the greatest movies ever. Great acting, beach hotties, outstanding score, and of course, a giant freaking shark! What more could you ask for?

1. Independence Day (1996)

Without a doubt, Independence Day is the essential Summer film. From the massive budget and ample supply of explosives, to the presence of Will Smith, to badass one-liners directed at beings that could destroy in a heartbeat, no one can watch this film and find themselves bored. Seriously, forget Transformers and whatever else is hitting theaters this holiday weekend and find Independence Day on TV. Even edited for all audiences this film will be the best use of your time indoors this season and better than every major film released this summer so far (and the rest of the season does not look that promising).

Do you agree with our list? Comment below and let us know what you would add!

Written by: James Shotwell

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the founder of Under The Gun Review. He loves writing about music and movies almost as much as he loves his two fat cats. He's also the co-founder of Antique Records and the Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. You should probably follow him on Twitter.

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  • Grace

    Excellent list. :) Loving the Now & Then shout out, it’s one of my long time favourites!

  • Nice variety on this list. Dazed and Confused would probably be my #1, but I’m glad to see it listed in the top three at least.