DVD Verdict - Entertainment News
Top Ten Summer Movies +2
TEN BEST SUMMER MOVIES, PLUS TWO (in chronological order)
State Fair (1945) - No, this isn't the cheesy Pat Boone, Bobby Darin, Ann-Margret version. Nor is it Henry King's original 1933 film starring Wil Rogers, Lew Ayres, and Janet Gaynor. This is first remake -- Walter Lang's Academy Award winning adaptation starring Dana Andrews, Dick Haymes, and Jeanne Crain. The Frake family's many adventures at the week-long Iowa State Fair preserve a simpler way of life that's all but extinct these days. Read Judge Bryan Pope's review
Summer Stock (1950) - This often overlooked MGM musical has talent and energy to spare. Gene Kelly and his merry band of traveling musical thespians pull a Mickey Rooney, co-opting the barn of a down-on-her-luck farm girl (Judy Garland) for their latest play, in exchange for helping with the chores. Co-starring Phil Silvers, Hans Conried, Marjorie Main, and Eddie Bracken. Directed by Charles Walters (Gigi). Read Judge Bryan Pope's toe tapping review
Beach Blanket Bingo (1965) - The fourth and wackiest of the Frankie and Annette beach films. Evil gang leader Eric Von Zipper kidnaps pop star Sugar Kane and Bonehead falls for a mermaid. What, you expected actual plot from these movies? Written and directed by William Asher (ex-husband of Elizabeth Montgomery and co-creator of Bewitched), who did five of the seven Beach pictures for Roger Corman's American International Pictures. Guess what? On July 10, MGM is releasing a box set of these great films, which means we'll have a review for you shortly.
Jaws (1975) - Steven Spielberg's sophomore effort finds terror on Long Island as a wayward overgrown tuna decides New Yorkers are much tastier than the chum he's used to. Based on Peter Benchley's best selling novel, this one kept most of us out of the water (and the bathtub) for quite some time. Starring Roy Scheider, Richard Dreyfuss, Robert Shaw, and Bruce the mechanical shark who couldn't stay operational to complete a shot. Read Appellate Judge Dave Ryan's depth defying review
Meatballs (1979) - Summer camp with Bill Murray as the head counselor? Sign me up! As touching as it is funny, this screwball comedy became dated far too quickly. Written by Harold Ramis and directed by Ivan Reitman. Even if you never went away to camp, this is required Summer viewing. A review of this film is long overdue and Sony is releasing a special edition on June 5. How fortuitous for us!
Stand By Me (1986) - Arguably the classic coming of age story. Four friends set out on the adventure of their lives to seek out the dead body of a missing local boy. Based on a Stephen King novella. Starring Wil Wheaton, Corey Feldman, Jerry O'Connell, and River Phoenix. This was Rob Reiner's second feature film, the first being the John Cusack summertime, coming of age tale The Sure Thing. Read Retired Judge Harold Gervais' review
Back to the Beach (1987) - Also known as Malibu Beach Girls, Frankie and Annette return to their old stomping grounds, this time as parents trying to prevent their daughter (Lori Laughlin) from making the same mistakes they made at her age. Draws on every cliche of the original series and is chock full of '60s guest stars including Don Adams, Bob Denver, Barbara Billingsley, Tony Dow, Jerry Mathers, and rocker Dick Dale, to name just a few. Directed by Lyndall Hobbs, who also never made another feature film. Read Retired Judge Patrick Naugle's gnarly review, dude.
Summer School (1987) - Mark Harmon stars as Mr. Shoop, the fun-loving PE teacher roped into teaching a summer school course on remedial English to the most unmotivated kids in school. Of course, his laid back demeanor and approach to life inspires his students to surpass even their own expectations. Co-starring a svelte Kirsite Alley, Shawnee Smith, and yes... Courtney Thorne-Smith. Directed by comedy legend Carl Reiner. Read Judge Dave Johnson's review
The Great Outdoors (1988) - John Hughes wrote this under-appreciated comedy classic about a suburban Chicago family rediscovering the magic and mayhem of a Wisconsin summer vacation. Starring John Candy and Dan Aykroyd. Directed by Howard Deutch (Pretty in Pink). What? We didn't review this one?! Where's my copy... I've rectify the situation.
Side Out (1990) - A sheltered East Coast law student is supposed to spend the Summer in California interning at his uncle's law firm, but is lured into the world of competitive beach volleyball. Tempers flare and romance ensues in this glorious guilty pleasure cheese-fest. Starring C. Thomas Howell, Peter Horton, and Courtney Thorne-Smith. Directed by Peter Israelson, who never made another feature film. Go figure. Oh, and take Retired Judge Lacey Worrell's review with a grain of sand... she didn't like it... at all.
The Sandlot (1993) - Not to be confused with the two direct to video sequels that followed, this classic gem captures the quintessential experience of summer life in suburban America -- baseball, swimming pools, scary neighbors, high adventure, and friendships that would last a lifetime. Written and directed by David Evans (Radio Flyer). Read Retired Judge Patrick Naugle's review
Wet Hot American Summer (2001) - Retro summer camp zaniness from the boys behind MTV's The State satirizes every summer camp movie ever made. Skylab is crashing to Earth, counselors need to get laid, and personal issues must be resolved. It's just another end of summer at good old Camp Firewood. Written by Michael Showalter and directed David Wain. Starring Janeane Garafalo, David Hyde Pierce, Michael Ian Black, Paul Rudd, Chris Meloni, Molly Shannon, Amy Poehler... what are you waiting for? Go buy or rent this thing for chrissakes! While you do that, I'm going to get busy writing a review. Why we overlooked this one, I'll never know.
• Thomas Jane talks about dialogue--and its absence
Copyright © 2013 Verdict Partners LLC. All rights reserved.