The days are longer, the sun is hotter, and the vacations have started; summer has arrived at long last. The favored season amongst students and teachers alike, summer is for many synonymous with freedom, adventure, and fond memories of childhood fun. To celebrate summer I’ll be turning the spotlight on three films that personify summer at its finest.
|School's out for summer|
Stand By Me: One of the best coming of age dramas in modern cinema, Stand By Me is a nostalgic journey into the summers of the past. The film follows four middle school friends in 1950’s Oregon as they embark upon a quest to find the body of a missing local boy. During their two day trek the boys partake in such classic summer pass-times as campfire stories, hiking, and swimming as they enjoy the freedom of the great outdoors in a way that today’s children too rarely do. Even in the midst of all the fun, however, the boys are confronted with disappointments and traumas as they struggle to come to terms with the adult world and find their place within in. When they return home, each of the boys is profoundly changed as they begin to question who they are and who they want to become. At once a coming of age story and an homage to a simpler age, Stand By Me remains a classic for all seasons.
|Fun in the sun|
Now and Then: This 1995 film proves that summer’s not just for the boys as its heroines experience their own summer of love, loss, and growing up. The film follows four drastically different women as they reunite in keeping with a promise made during their momentous summer in 1970. The film then flashes back and follows the women as they reflect upon the events that propelled them from childhood to adolescence and all that lay beyond. Like Stand By Me, the film chronicles its characters’ growing pains as they cope with loss, broken homes, and find the bonds of their friendship tested. Despite these similarities, however, the film contains many of its own twists and turns as it follows its heroines though personal changes within the greater context of the drastic social change that had begun to sweep across America. Even in the midst of their many conflicts, the girls still enjoy summer to the fullest as they play red rover and softball, engage in water balloon fights, build their own treehouse and even hold the occasional graveyard séance. A tribute to the friendships that shape us and the memories that sustain us, Now and Then is a must-see for every girl struggling to become a woman and every woman who remembers all too well the journey that made her who she is.
|Summertime and the livin's easy|
The Sandlot: Few films celebrate summer with the abandon and fervor of The Sandlot. The film follows new kid in town Scotty Smalls as he struggles to adjust to a new town in 1962 California. In an effort to make new friends, Scotty does his best to earn a place on the town’s local baseball team. Unfortunately for Scotty, his enthusiasm fails to compensate for his complete lack of athletic skill and he is initially rejected. Eventually, with the help of the team’s charismatic and talented captain, Benny, Scotty joins the team and begins what will prove to be a series of summer adventures to remember. As the summer goes on the boys tangle with a sultry lifeguard, rival teams, and a menacing neighborhood dog known as ‘the beast’. Through it all the boys learn about the importance of friendship and the redemptive and unifying power of sports. For a summer favorite that remains a home-run with audiences look no further than The Sandlot.