The Best Kind of Summer

true_romance-1 In my mind, summer is one of the best times to watch a movie. Sure, when it’s snowing or raining it’s the best thing to do to keep you entertained, but I think there’s something particularly special about watching a movie on a breezy summer night. When I was younger, my family and I used to project movies onto the side of our house in our front yard. The nights were hot and the movies were classic, from Raiders of the Lost Ark to The Italian Job. Those were and still are my favorite parts of the summer, just sitting back and watching your favorite movies. Summer is also a time for major blockbusters to be released. This year seems especially packed with them, whether they are endless sequels or creative action flicks. And while I do enjoy going to see the big summer movies and actually end up liking some of them, sometimes it’s more fun to watch the classics. So, I decided I would come up with a good list of summer classics …enjoy and watch!

Summer Movies of 2015

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9. Casino Royale/Goldfinger

James Bond is not the same as it was 20 years ago, and some think that’s a good thing, some think it’s bad. I particularly like it because I think the newer films starring Daniel Craig are a darker take that we’ve never seen in the extremely long series before. I’m not exactly sure why James Bond films make me think of summer they just …do. I mean, yes I did kind of grow up watching them when it was summer time, specifically the original Sean Connery flicks. I chose these two JB mostly because of how opposite in genre they are, and really how times and action movies changed.

Goldfinger definitely takes the fun and sillier route that most of the JB movies took for a while. That was part of the fun of these movies though, I don’t think you were supposed to be thinking a whole lot about the situations and the happenings. Being the third official James Bond film, Goldfinger was 100% that type of movie, and it works! Sean Connery is still one of the best Bonds to this day. I think there are debates on who is the best Bond, but I think it clearly goes to the original. For me, Daniel Craig is close second, but the rest of the actors that have played the infamous spy never really stood out to me. Connery had the swagger and the suaveness, Craig had the hardcore and deep.

Casino Royale, like I said, is very different in terms of what type of movie it is. It is still pure action, but it takes a darker look at the James Bond that we’ve known for so long. The other interesting thing about Casino Royale is that it’s really James’s first mission, so in a way it’s a new beginning for the franchise. The other thing that I really like about Casino Royale is the female lead. Vesper Lynd is played by Eva Green with perfection. You can feel her pain in this movie and you can see how much she really takes an interest in James. It’s a beautiful and actually heartbreaking character to watch and it’s done perfectly. So, of all the 25 or so Bond flicks, I think these are the two that fit summer and really just every season best.

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8. Drinking Buddies

Drinking Buddies is not an action movie and it definitely was not released in the summer. But, Drinking Buddies is a heartfelt, funny, and real comedy. The fact that this movie is almost 100% improvisation still blows my mind whenever I watch it. Olivia Wilde plays on half of our lead duo. She shares the spotlight with Jake Johnson (the actor, not the musician, calm down) and they play coworkers and friends who work at a brewery together. The plot consists mostly of the fact that the two are really good friends and maybe a little too close when both of them have significant others. And let me tell you, the name of this movie does not fail, there is beer in almost every scene of this movie. Each character has a glass in their hand in almost the whole movie, and it’s so subtle and weirdly/scarily realistic. But what really sells this movie to me is how much of a character study it is. Each character has such a different personality and they’re so real. Drinking Buddies is a small little indie flick, and it’s so perfect for summer, I recommend you watch it while it’s still on Netflix because it’s definitely worth it …but that’s just my opinion.

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7. (500) Days of Summer

In the first 5 minutes of (500) Days of Summer we are told “this is not a love story” by a mysterious narrator, and it sets the tone for the movie perfectly. (500) Days of Summer is still and probably always will be one of my favorite movies ever. I think the main reason for that is because of how creative it is. The fact that you know these two people are not going to end up together in the end is daring and ends up being kind of sad and relatable for anyone who is a hopeless romantic like our main character Tom. Tom is played perfectly by Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Like I said, Tom is a hopeless romantic and 100% believes in the theory of love, whereas the new girl in the office, Summer (played equally perfectly by Zooey Deschanel), believes that love isn’t all that it’s chalked up to be.

Not only is the music in this movie great, but the style and raw emotions bring out a fantastic look at relationships in ways we may have seen before, but not in a long time. I loved this movie when I saw it in theaters and I still love it when I watch it today.

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 6. Kill Bill Vol. 1 & Vol. 2  Whenever I watch Kill Bill I try to watch both of the films as if they’re one movie because essentially they are, they were just split up and released at different times. Quentin Tarantino knows how to make a bloody good movie, and this is no exception. The Kill Bill movies are filled with action, blood and wit. I would say that Vol. 1 is maybe the bloodier and more action packed one and Vol. 2 has more of a western type of thing going on. Uma Thurman plays The Bride in all her yellow jumpsuit glory and is set on getting revenge on Bill, who was her boss when she worked as an assassin. I won’t tell you what Bill does to The Bride because that would spoil the fun of these movies, but I’ll tell you ..it isn’t nice. If I really just wanted to go for it, I would make #6 every Tarantino movie out there. But, this is an organized list of different genres for a specific season, and who knows, maybe I’ll just talk about all his movies in another post.

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5. The Lost Boys

The Lost Boys is a great example of a fun, campy 80’s horror movie that received the unfortunate consequence of getting a handful of straight to dvd sequels. But luckily the original is good enough to stand on it’s own and you can act as if the other films never existed. To me, there is always that scary movie that you watched when you were a kid with your friends and it scared the shit out of you. In my childhood that movie was Beetlejuice. But this was up there too. I think the reason why it was so scary was when some of the characters turned into vampires their faces were just weird and creepy looking. I would explain the plot to you, but it’s so much fun to just watch the movie and let the story just unravel in front of you that I feel there’s no need to. What more can I say? You have Kiefer Sutherland as a bloodthirsty vampire, a fantastic 80’s soundtrack, and a fun, breezy atmosphere. I would say those are some pretty damn good reasons.

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4. The Indiana Jones Trilogy

I emphasize the word trilogy in this title as much as possible because I really think that the Indiana Jones series ended on a great note with The Last Crusade. While I don’t hate The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull as much as some do, it definitely has it’s flaws and is not as rewatchable as the other three films. Of the three, I think Raiders of the Lost Ark is still my favorite and an instant classic. I think a good portion of the people who watch these movies agree with that statement, and for a good reason! It’s not only the movie that got the trilogy started, but it has so much to it that watching it in 2015 still makes me happy and act like a 5 year old in a candy store. Temple of Doom is the one that I have seen the least and I think the reason why is similar to why I don’t watch Kingdom of the Crystal Skull as much. Temple of Doom is no doubt still an Indiana Jones movie, but it’s darker and crueler to me than the other two films are. When you have a scene with a man pulling out another man’s heart right out of his chest than you know the tables have been turned. I still find it enjoyable, but there is just a little bit of the heart and excitement missing. Maybe it’s the monkey brains scene, or the child labor, it could also be that there is no Marion this time around. Which is something else on it’s own, Marion Ravenwood from Raiders is replaced in Temple by Willie Scott, who just isn’t as fierce or entertaining to watch.

The Last Crusade is what I consider to be the true sequel in the series. It comes very close to being just as good as the original. With Sean Connery playing his father and a search for a holy grail, it feels like a true Indiana Jones movie. I lived on these movies throughout my childhood, and I am truly grateful that I did because they brought out the adventure in me and the excitement that I could have for a movie that I never had before. The Indiana Jones movies are perfect for the summer, whether you’re just looking to have a good time or you want to watch with the whole family (there are a few scenes in each movie that might scar your child, just warning you in advance), they’re worth the admission.

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3. True Romance

I’m gonna be honest here, I did not see this movie until about a year ago. It’s a very sad thing for me to admit, I’m not going to go as far to say I’m shameful, but it’s sad because this really is such a great movie. With a screenplay by Quentin Tarantino himself (I know, he’s in my list again ..get used to it), True Romance follows the theme of a fun adventurous movie, but definitely not as PG as Indiana Jones was. In this story we meet Clarence who falls in love with Alabama. Alabama is a prostitute and decides that she is done with that kind of life once she falls for Clarence. Clarence ends up killing Alabama’s pimp (played insanely and wonderfully by Gary Oldman), and ends up grabbing a suitcase he thought had clothes in it, but was really filled with cocaine, and the adventure ensues from there. Not only does this movie have a fantastic cast, boasting from Patricia Arquette to Christopher Walken to an early Brad Pitt. But the story and the romance works. We believe that Clarence and Alabama truly love each other and would do anything for one another. In typical Tarantino style, there is blood and there is violence, but it fits in with the gritty tone of the movie and works with the storyline we are given. True Romance has quickly become one of my favorite movies around, and if you haven’t seen it, I’m pretty sure you will think the same.

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2. The Way, Way Back

This movie has to be one of the best of 2013 for me. I can’t get enough of it, and I think it’s because it has so much joy, and so much character to it. The Way, Way Back is written beautifully and has some of the most lovable, and hateable characters that I’ve seen in a movie in a long time. Our main character is Duncan (played by Liam James), who is forced to go with his mom (Toni Collette) and her boyfriend (Steve Carrell, playing evil this time around) to a beach house for the summer. Originally, Duncan is bored out of his mind and drowning in awkwardness as he has to constantly be around a group full of boozed up adults because he has nothing else to do. Eventually he befriends Owen (played hilariously and amazingly by Sam Rockwell), who works at the nearby water park. Owen gets Duncan a job at the water park and the story goes on from there. Another character in this film who is hilarious and so entertaining is Allison Janney’s Betty. Along with Sam Rockwell, she is the comedic center of this movie. Another honorable mention of a character should go to Susanna who is played by AnnaSophia Robb. I think this is the second movie on this list to actually take place in summer, and it’s the ideal summer film. If the #1 that I chose didn’t exist than The Way, Way Back would have been raised up one more number without any question. It’s just that good.

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1. Jaws

Let’s be honest with ourselves, there needs to be a little bit of suspense in your summer movie collection. What better to choose than Jaws? How could I not put this as my #1? It’s a classic and it will never be forgotten. Whether it be the creepy score, or the POV of the killer shark. When Jaws was released, movies like it were not being released during the summer. But when Jaws did come to theaters in the summer of 1975, the success of it really started the summer blockbuster fiasco that is so common today. I have watched this movie a few times this summer already and it is still just as good as the first time I watched it. A good portion of what makes this movie so suspenseful and chilling is the POV we get from the shark itself. Luckily there were malfunctions with the mechanical sharks that were to be used in the film, or else we might have not gotten those classic unforgettable scenes. To this day, Jaws scares the piss out of people, and for a good reason! It’s horror done at it’s best.

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Thank you so much for reading my post and putting up with my weird sense of humor! I hope you enjoyed my list and hope that you will watch some of the films I suggested!

So, here’s until next time!

As you would write in some random person’s yearbook in high school, have a great summer! And remember to stay golden (was that just me that wrote that last part? Or was it a thing to quote The Outsiders?).

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A New Generation of Screams

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On December 20th, 1996 a little film called Scream was released. It was headlined with names like Drew Barrymore (even though she’s only in the movie for a good 10 minutes) and David Arquette. The film was directed by a man named Wes Craven who directed a few other little scary movies like A Nightmare On Elm Street (you know that movie right?). Eventually this little movie would become a huge movie not only for that time but also for the genre of horror. Flash forward to June 30th, 2015 and after a few sequels you have Scream: The TV Series. 

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Now, I’ve never really watched any of what I like to call “modern MTV“, because let’s be honest here, I think it’s safe to say MTV has changed a lot since the 80’s. I’ve never seen an episode of Teen Wolf or Faking It or Awkward. It’s not because I don’t want to, it’s because I kind of forget about them. The shows themselves get praised, from what I hear, and look good enough, I just have a ton of other shows I’m already watching I don’t focus on those ones as much. But when it was announced that a Scream series was happening I was somewhat interested. At first glance I wasn’t really sure what to think. The promo that was released (hence the picture above) was promising but not something that really drew me in or made me want to completely commit to the idea of this show yet. Don’t get me wrong, I was still going to watch the Pilot, but the rest of the show was up in the air.

In 7th grade, a friend at the time told me about a famous scene from this famous horror movie where Drew Barrymore gets dragged across her lawn and hung from the tree in her front lawn. I was a little freaked out because my friend had explained this scene like it was nothing, when in reality she was talking about a grisly death that is hard to get out of your head. In my two miserable years of middle school, I was starting to delve into the genre of horror, starting with the classics like Halloween and building up to the more current ones (remakes, sequels, etc.) which might I add, were NOT always as good as the classics. I’ll stick with John Carpenter’s Halloween because that was one that really got me hooked and interested in this weird and twisted genre.

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It was the Friday after a long week of school and I had been thinking about watching movies all week, like I always did. I threw my backpack onto the couch and ran out the door so I could go to the movie store and find a good horror movie to watch (yes, video stores were still a thing). I remember there being a specific spot for all the horror movies. There was a piece of paper taped to the wall in giant letters that said “HORROR” with an arrow below it pointing to the back of the store. I would walk in and sprint to the horror section. You wouldn’t believe how long I could stay back there for. My dad to this day likes to tease me about how long I would take in the movie store when we would go to rent something. I guess it comes to show how much I love film. I would crouch down and look through all the titles, some I would recognize, others I wouldn’t. Some would be ridiculous and some would just be another sequel in the Elm Street franchise or the Friday the 13th extravaganza of movies. My eye caught onto the Halloween section. There must’ve been at least 10 cases that said Halloween on them and only one that was the actual original, the rest being countless sequels and remakes. So I looked through all of them and luckily the one that caught my eye was the original 1978 film.

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The cover was so simple but at the same time creepy and made me want to witness it’s horror. I threw the other movies back onto the shelf and ran over to the counter so I could get there before anyone else, even if I was the only person in the store. I was so ready to run home and watch this. Then all of a sudden the man at the cash register asked me how old I was, I thought “oh shit”, because OF COURSE this movie was rated R, and OF COURSE I was only 14 at the time. But surprisingly after some convincing and overall sass (“you can call my parents right now, they really won’t care at all … c’mon you REALLY think I’m not old enough to watch this? … didn’t you want to watch these kind of things at my age too? … I know you can relate”) the man let me rent it! I was ecstatic as I ran home and all of my middle school/going through puberty awkwardness was jiggling all over the place (I am truly sorry for that graphic image I just put you through).

Today, I am not as awkward and have washed out my puberty blues. I’m happier-ish, let’s just go with that. But that doesn’t mean I don’t still have the same fascination with those kind of movies as I did then, I would just say the appreciation is bigger and set for all kinds of genres, not just horror. I’d like to say that I have better taste these days, but I really don’t know! The next person I meet could think I have horrible taste. It all comes down to that certain person’s taste and what they like.

If you look at the genre of horror today compared to say the 70’s, it really has changed quite a bit, for better and for worse. In the 70’s, there were a lot of devils, stalkers/crazy killers, and creatures. The Exorcist seemed to represent the devil category, Halloween or The Texas Chainsaw Massacre the crazy killers, and something like Jaws would represent the creature features.

There is a book that comes to my mind when I think of categories of horror and it’s called Horror Movie Freak by Don Sumner. It explores the different types of horror and the generations of it.

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Much like I am doing in this review, the book delves into what types of horror movies are being made today and why they are so different now. I think one thing that has changed with moviegoers these days is patience. If anything, certain movies are being made to seem like people have no patience when they see a movie. There are so many “jump scares” and plenty of gore in horror movies that are made today. Jump scares are tricky for most movies to pull off and it seems that most current films can’t seem to pull them off. There are so many jump scares made to just be jump scares, a good one will lead to something even scarier, if that makes sense. I guess what I’m trying to say is that in 2015 we have seen lots of different types of scary movies and we want something more than just a creature or a stalker.

Another sub category this book discusses is the art of the remake/reboot/sequel. Remakes also tend to be a very popular thing to do in 2015. Most of the time remakes feel unnecessary, and I think a lot of people feel that way. But at the same time there are a lot of people that will go see these endless remakes. And because they make so much money the studios think “the last one made a lot of money, why not just do it again?”. My main problem with remakes is when people decide to remake a classic. Two of many good examples would be 1998’s Psycho and 2015’s Poltergeist. I never saw the Poltergeist remake because I knew better, but unfortunately I saw the horrendous remake of Psycho.

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I have two reasons for why these kind of remakes bother me.

1. They are pointless. I know they make a lot of money and that’s usually the reason they are released. But I honestly think sometimes when people make these remakes they think it’s because people want to revisit this classic. If that is someone’s reasoning I call bullshit because that is the stupidest reason ever. That also leads to my 2nd reason …

2. Distracts people from the original. The reason I used the two remakes that I did was because the original films they were based on were excellent horror films. And it really bothers me to think that there is a younger generation out there that will learn about the shitty remake first, and not the classic original. It saddens me to think of all those kids who won’t experience the sheer horror of that clown scene from the original Poltergeist before the bloated remake. Psycho might be a little different just because the original Hitchcock version is so well known everywhere. But you see what I’m trying to say right?

This leads me back to current day with Scream: The TV Series. What did I think of it? It was entertaining and had an interesting modern twist. Was it as good as the original films? Of course not, but I don’t know if a series version of any horror movie you love would be as good as the original. It’s hard when a film you love is taken and morphed into something new, whether it be a series or a sequel or god forbid a remake. It’s hard to bring back the nostalgia you had for the original or that feeling you felt when you first saw that one scene. Hell, it might even be impossible.

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Here are some pics with a modern twist on some classic modern horror flicks!

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Till next time!

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