The current Lasallian summer break is unlike anything the University’s students have ever seen before: roughly four months of unbridled freedom, at least for those who have opted not to take Special Term. This newfound sense of liberty, of course, will be spent in different strokes by different folks.
For some people, though, there is nothing sweeter than the sound of a film’s title sequence, the feeling of wonder and anticipation for the adventures that lie ahead. Here is a selection of movies we deem quintessential for the summer season.
King Kong (2005)
Whether you’ve just gotten your grades or conquered your overwhelming fear of rollercoasters, it is fitting to top all the hard work or adrenaline off with a treat, especially a visual masterpiece. The story is a classic, but this version, helmed by Peter Jackson, is a reward to the senses no matter the occasion. Whether Kong battles a Tyrannosaurus Rex in Skull Island or ravages through the streets of Manhattan, it’s a thrill to be a viewer because the edge of the seat is your refuge as the film paces through scene after scene like it chases down the monster across continents. The human crew, from director Denham (Jack Black) to actress Ann Darrow (Naomi Watts), adds a human soul to the film by having their characters go through so much upheaval, only for them to see the beauty of the chaos.
The Breakfast Club (1985)
If, one summer afternoon, you find yourself alone, contemplating the questions and philosophies of friendship, put this seminal teen movie on and enjoy the ride. Having recently celebrated its 30th anniversary, one of John Hughes’ most celebrated films goes down in history as an important teen classic. Why? Aside from the witty dialogue, compelling story, and unbelievably resonant tone, the primary cast of five teenagers, who enter the scene with distinct stereotypes, break down and bare their emotions and souls in detention one idyllic Saturday afternoon. Whether you cry afterwards or relish the film’s message, it’s a testament accepted by many that The Breakfast Club just gets what being a teenager is all about.
In the era of social media, it’s easy to get lost in the hubbub and forget to reconnect with old friends. Summer provides a key opportunity for this and more through reunions, road trips, and other activities. It would be a disservice to Bridesmaids, the Academy Award-nominated comedy, if it is tagged as only a “girls’ night out” film, because it is perfect for everybody who loves humour, and the raunchy kind at that. Starring a hilarious female ensemble led by Kristen Wiig, the film follows a bride-to-be and some of her closest friends as they gear up for her wedding. If you expect this to be your run-of-the-mill romantic comedy, you will be amazed by its hilarity, which will have you chuckling until the end. However, at the core of Bridesmaids are still the ideas of friendship, self-love, and the importance of knowing your worth.
Summer days can be really hot, but some nights offer a cool, chilly breeze. Horror films are perfect for times like these, and what better way to anticipate the chill than with a witty and very sharp thriller. With a tough but lovable protagonist in Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell), the film’s take on horror films and “the rules” to survive them are what made the film so appealing to any lover of horror. Inspiring a slew of somewhat successful sequels and a series on MTV, Scream made a decisive impact on slashers and empathetic characters on the big screen.
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)
Unfortunately, even the summer season can bring in the sniffles and the coughs; no one’s immune from the dangers of flu season! Join Ferris Bueller, played to excellence by Matthew Broderick, as he fakes a sick day and gears up for an adventure in Chicago with his best friend Cameron and his girlfriend Sloane. What makes Ferris so endearing and charming is the way he approaches everything in life: with fun and excitement. Of course, Ferris is also known for breaking the fourth wall, something that makes the film more relatable and humorous. Though the film explores friendship, responsibility, and family, it is ultimately about embracing everything that happens in one’s life with ease. If you’re sick in bed, it’s a must that you watch this gem of a teen movie and learn from the dashing Ferris that life could be a cool place if you take a day off (or two).
Martin Scorsese’s mob classic on the criminal life of Mafioso-turned-informant Henry Hill isn’t exactly the most innocent entry on this list; surely, its finely-dressed wise guys would echo the sentiment. What it lacks in angelic innocence, however, it makes up for in charisma, thrill, and impeccable, not to mention iconic, dialogue. Think The Godfather, with just a little grain of smart aleck and a nice touch of reality. Unlike other gangster films, though, Goodfellas differentiates itself with a blunt, non-romanticized portrayal of the Italian-American mafia. It makes for explicit, yet somehow surprisingly engaging cinema, something that wouldn’t feel out of place in a dingy man cave.
American Graffiti (1973)
Ever wondered how your grandparents might’ve looked like in their heyday? With time travel still a thing of science fiction, the only option is to resort to film — in this case, American Graffiti. The brainchild of a young George Lucas, this film goes back to 1962 to tell the story of a group of teenagers out to enjoy their last day of summer. It’s a thorough study of the then-burgeoning American culture of rock and roll and hot rods, preppies and greasers, diners and drive-in cinemas. It’s a refreshing change of scenery, listening to doo-wop groups and witnessing how the elders of today would’ve partied 50 years ago.
Cinema Paradiso (1988)
Perfect for: Nostalgic nights
Nostalgia is often a tricky thing. What may start out as a simple musing of the past sometimes graduates into serious emotional insomnia. In this sweeping Italian filmmaking masterclass, Guiseppe Tornatore tells the story of big shot film director Salvatore Di Vita (Jacques Perrin) and his trip to memory lane as he mentally relives his childhood and adolescence under the tutelage of Alfredo (Philippe Noiret), a projectionist in the local cinema. More than just a crafty pastiche of soap opera-worthy romance, youthful adventure, and majestic film scoring, this is a motion picture in defense of life’s what if’s.
All good things must come to an end eventually, may it be in the form of a happily-ever-after or a melancholic au revoir. In this instance, we’ll opt for the latter. Richard Ayoade’s comedy-drama film touches on a variety of issues that adolescents face, from awkward relationship jitters to obnoxious school bullies, all with a distinct sense of ‘Britishness’. It isn’t all dry and cheeky humor, however, as the reality of teenage living often imposes itself on the protagonist, Oliver (Craig Roberts). Arctic Monkeys frontman Alex Turner also wrote and performed all the songs in the soundtrack, thereby infusing the coming-of-age piece with a tender, fragile atmosphere.
Like every other season, summer ushers in new possibilities for fun and excitement. This must why Hollywood covers the season so extensively: it plays like a fever dream, too good to be true, and always a fun ride from beginning to end. Whether it’s discovering a new favorite hobby or conquering a deep-seated fear, the season of summer opens and closes like a movie, compelling and memorable to whoever experiences it, and the memories vivid even after the credits roll.