Friday, July 17, 2009

The Sassy Curmudgeon's Top Ten Summer Movies of All Time

Since 2009 is shaping up to be The Year Without Summer, or, alternately, the Year the Rains Came, I've been hankering to settle in during what's become the standard Saturday thunderstorm with some classic summer flicks. Won't you join me in watching....

The Sassy Curmudgeon's Top Ten Summer Movies of All Time!

(...and by all time I mean all the time I've been alive, which is relative, but true for me.)

10. Summer School

First of all, DO NOT HATE on Mark Harmon, because he is dreamy. If I ran Hollywood he would be another Harrison Ford (just imagine him playing the lead in Regarding Henry!) This is an underrated gem of ’80s cheeseball romance, with bonus points for making good use of Courtney Thorne-Smith, my favorite Melrose Place actress. And seriously, Harmon = hawt.

9. Caddyshack

I love me some Chevy Chase (see #1). Always have, always will. And the only SNL player-turned movie star I love equally to Chevy (although do not want to sleep with) is Bill Murray. This classic has both, plus a wily gopher and Rodney Dangerfield!

8. One Crazy Summer

John Cusack at his geek idol prime in a zany summer romp by Savage Steve Holland (who also collaborated with Cute-sack ...that sounds wrong, but I’m sticking with it... on Better Off Dead, one of the all-time great ’80s movies). Also stars Demi Moore when she was actually in her early twenties instead of just looking that way, the cute roly poly dude that plays Rumsfeld on Mad Men, but who I remember from a short-lived early ’90s comedy set in a bar and starring Susan Dey (anyone?)... and, as if you needed another reason to Netflix this, Bobcat Goldthwait.

7. Wet Hot American Summer

Christopher Meloni as a sadistic cook in short shorts. The comedians behind The State. Janeane Garofolo and David Hyde Pierce as dorktastic lovers. This new American classic is best enjoyed with a big group of friends and a bucket of beer.

6. Dazed & Confused

The movie that launched Matthew McConaughey before anyone realized he was just playing himself, and the last film to star the cuter London twin, i.e. not the one from Seventh Heaven, Richard Linklater’s coming of age masterpiece is both a very good movie and a carefree summer fling. The supporting cast (including Parker Posey, Anthony Rapp, and Ben Affleck) rocks the fucking house.

5. Jaws*

I think of Jaws often, usually while I am in the ocean swimming, without a care in the world, and then I remember that AHHHH WHAT’S THAT ON MY LEG? Oh, just a piece of seaweed. Anyway, Jaws is the perfect movie to watch if you have to work all summer and can’t go to the beach. Who wants to get their legs chewed off anyway? Lame. Also Dreyfuss looks a lot better here than in Stand By Me, and Roy Schedier is the man.

*Jaws came out five years before my birth, so not technically "of my time". But this is my blog and I'll break my own rules if I want to.

4. Dirty Dancing

Of course. I mean, really. It’s a classic for a reason. However, there was no reason to make the sequel, Havana Nights, nor was there a reason for Baby to butcher her face to the point where she is unrecognizable. If you have forgotten how awesome this movie is, please see it now before Patrick Swayze dies and it becomes even more depressing.

Since I've brought up Johnny Castle's imminent demise, let's lighten the mood. You know the iconic lift scene?

Here's what happens when I am drunk and "(I've Had) The Time of My Life" gets played at a wedding:

(No, that's not my husband. And yes, he's kind of touching my boob. But I know him, so it's okay.)

3. Stand By Me

Gordie! All of my friends swooned over River Phoenix, but my undying love was always sworn to Gordie, which makes even more sense now that I am married to someone who is very Gordie-esque (see below). This funny, sad, sweet film gets me every time, especially because Gordie’s dead brother is none other than Cute-sack, who should never, ever die under any circumstances, but then right as I get all teary I remember that Gordie grows up to become Richard Dreyfuss and I get angry at the casting director. (Maybe Vern could become Dreyfuss. But Gordie? Please. Gordie would have been so much hotter).

(Note: Jeff is 29 now; I am not Mary Kay Letourneau)

2. Do The Right Thing

Coming from Brooklyn like I do, this seems more like a documentary than a work of fiction. Aside from being an important film for its time, Do The Right Thing is so an incredibly vibrant, smart, funny, and moving that it makes me want to be nine years old again, playing in the fire hydrant on a blazing hot day and listening in on neighbors’ conversations. I’ll take a slice of Sal’s Famous pizza, too, but I’ll leave the race wars... and the unibrow.

1. National Lampoon’s European Vacation

Purists believe that the best offering in the Vacation series is the 1983 original, but I have always preferred the second installment, made in 1985, which finds Clark Griswold and family hopping across Europe and offending many different cultures. I especially love the chubby, sex-starved, Afro’ed Audrey played by Dana Hill and the geeky, disaffected Rusty played by one-hit wonder Jason Lively (fun fact: he’s the brother of Blake Lively from Gossip Girl). Directed by Amy Heckerling from a script by John Hughes, I think this sequel is downright Godfather II-esque, and no, God did not just smite me, so you know it’s true.

Have a great weekend, kids! (And seriously, show up at my door with one of these and a six pack and it is so on.)


  1. Dazed and confused is a great pick, perfect for right after getting out of school.

  2. Geez, I've only seen Standy By Men and Do The Right Thing! ::Runs to stock my Netflix::

  3. Ashley, some of these are acquired tastes, so Netflix with caution. I am a cheeseball, hence my love for them.

  4. Most of them were also made before I was born which is why I haven't seem 'em!

  5. Wet Hot American Summer! Stand By Me! Love. A movie that maybe was your number 11? Or should be, is Shag with Bridget Fonda...

  6. I just realized I wrote Stand By MEN! Ha, I'd like to see that movie too!


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