Thank goodness it's summer time. Hot weather, cool drinks and the perfect time to send your kids away. Of course, you can save the dough and get your fill of the summer camp experience by watching a few films about it. Although there’s plenty out on the subject, these movies are all the same. There’s the cool counselors, the geeky kids, weird nick-names and the creepy thing that lives in the woods, looks like a low-rent Chewbacca and only comes around to steal gym socks. However, the common thread with these movies, besides how generic, sloppy and disappointing they all are, is how much fun being a teenager away from your parents can be. So grab some popcorn, a cold frosty one and check out some or all of these films this summer.
Meatballsopens a new window (1979)
The gold standard. I think I’ve watched this hundreds of times thanks to cable television. The main reason it’s remembered so fondly is because Bill Murrayopens a new window is in it. And that’s a good enough reason for most anybody. Directed by Ivan Reitmanopens a new window (Ghostbusters, Legal Eagles) the film centers around Rudy, a kid who doesn’t quite fit in who gets some great life advice from head counselor/father figure Tripper (played by Murray) and everything seems to turn out okay in the end. There’s also the requisite bullies, parties, food fights, and competition from the rival camps across town.
Way back in the last decade this movie came out and was quickly forgotten. Remarkably, due to most of the cast going on to have great careers, this film developed something of a cult following and has hung around even spawning an eight episode series reboot. Featuring talented actors such as David Hyde Pierceopens a new window, Bradley Cooperopens a new window, Paul Ruddopens a new window, Amy Poehleropens a new window, Elizabeth Banksopens a new window and many more the film is basically a spoof on the summer camp genre of films that was prevalent throughout the 1980s. The movie centers on Camp Firewood with camp counselor (played by Janeane Garofaloopens a new window) struggling to keep order on the last day. All of the usual teen movie subject matter is here – the danger, young romance and talking cans of mixed vegetables.
The kids are home from school all summer and there’s nothing better than some wholesome entertainment from Charlie Brown and Snoopy. This long-form animated movie features the gang heading out for adventure at Camp Remote. At first the kids struggle to make it without the comforts from home and squander the chance to build their camaraderie in the athletic competition. Fortunately, Charlie Brown gets the chance to finally develop some much-needed leadership skills as the crew takes on the older camp bullies in the ultimate camp completion – river raft race. Plenty of action and comedy from Linus, Peppermint Patty and a rockin’ soundtrack from Ed Bogas make this one of the Peanuts’ best.
Without a doubt, there’s many more movies in the summer camp genre worth checking out. Great films such as Moonrise Kingdomopens a new window, Friday the 13th opens a new window and Ernest Goes To Camp will keep your summer break lazy and entertaining.