After one of the most longest and mentally straining years of our lives, we could all release a collective sigh now that summer has finally arrived and we can use some time to destress and relax. For me, personally, movies have always been a welcome form of escape and I feel like that's something all of us can use after suffering this tiring school semester's wrath. The movies on this list have that summer feel to it and hopefully help you think of the better times ahead in the sunshine surrounded by family, friends, and loved ones.
Before Sunrise (1995)
Before Sunrise is one of my favorite movies of all time. The film follows Jesse, who meets Celine on a train while going to Vienna. Jesse and Celine instantly click amidst conversation, and he convinces her to get off the train in Vienna with her. They walk around Vienna together, taking in the city and each other. It's a beautiful movie that I highly recommend.
Little Miss Sunshine (2006)
This feel-good movie follows a dysfunctional family who go on a road trip to California for their young daughter, Olive to compete in the Little Miss Sunshine beauty pageant. The family has tensions and personal issues but each member grows and learns after this life changing road trip. This is one of my comfort movies and has that perfect summer aura embedded in it.
Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar (2021)
This is the perfect summer comedy! I trust Kristen Wiig with my life! This hilarious movie revolves around two best friends, Barb and Star, who leave their midwestern town for a vacation in Vista Del Mar, Florida where they end up tangled in a evil plot and go on a crazy adventure neither of them expected. This movie makes me want to take a vacation.
Mamma Mia! (2008)
You should have expected this on the list, this is the definition of a summer movie. A fun musical complete with songs by ABBA, it's perfect. This movie follows Donna, a single mother running a hotel on a Greek island, whose daughter is about to get married. Her daughter, Sophie, invites three of her mother's ex lovers to the wedding in the hopes she can find her father. Right after you watch this, start the sequel immediately. Double the fun.
The Florida Project (2017)
This movie was shot 10 minutes away from my house and it causes me physical pain knowing the great Willem Dafoe was in my hometown, breathing the same air as me, and I did not meet him or know he was there! Insane! This is a wonderful movie, full of childhood magic and adventure from the eyes of our young protagonist Moonee. The story follows Moonee and her friends on their summer break while their families and the adults around them struggle with financial and social hardships. It really shined a light on the issues my town, Kissimmee, faces and I recommend giving it a watch.
The Way Way Back (2013)
A heartfelt story from Nat Faxon and Jim Rash, this coming of age movie follows awkward teen Duncan, who spends his summer in Massachusetts with his mom and her douchebag boyfriend. Duncan gets a job at a water park where he becomes close to the hilarious park manager Owen, and starts to have an impactful summer. This movie feels like a rollercoaster but you'll love the ride!
Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure (1989)
Keanu Reeves is one of the only men who deserve rights. Bill and Ted are two high school slackers who focus more on their band, Wyld Stallyns, than school. As they are both about to flunk history, a time traveler from the future, Rufus, arrives to help the boys pass their final history presentation to preserve the space-time continuum because in the future, Bill and Ted's music is the foundation for a utopian society. Bill and Ted use Rufus's time machine to collect important figures from history for their presentation and of course, hijinks ensue. This movie is SUCH a good time, I recommend watching this with your friends!
Honorable mentions include: basically any Disney or Pixar movie (especially the High School Musical or Camp Rock series), any Marvel movie (they have that summer blockbuster feel), and a lot of Wes Anderson movies (the best for summer are probably Moonrise Kingdom, The Darjeeling Limited, and the Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou).
I hope these movies put you in that welcoming summer mindset, happy watching! I love movie recommendations so if you have any, send some my way!