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10 Classic Summer Movies You Should Revisit

May 13, 2017

The summer movie season has officially start with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 kicking things off with a whopping +140 million dollar open weekend in the first May weekend. These days the summer movie season is filled with superhero movies, big budget extravaganzas and remakes of movies you grew up watching. So if you feel there’s nothing for you at the cinema’s these days, now is the perfect time to revisit some of the best summer blockbusters you remember fondly. The kind of movies you grew up with, bring you back to those hot summer days where you escaped to an air-conditioned theatre.

1. Airplane!

The summer season is usually known for big budget action spectacles, but there’s also been a good deal of comedy classics to come out of cinema’s biggest season, including this film which is considered one of the funniest films of all time. A parody of airport disaster films of the 60s and 70s, the subject matter might be a bit dated, but the laughs are as strong as ever. There’s so many wonderful gags that have done in legend, and the dire situation is filled with so many hilarious characters like the former pilot with an unusual drinking problem, the deadpan doctor, the airport tower supervisor who picked the wrong day to give up his many addictions, and a pilot who may or may not be Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

2. Aliens

1979’s Alien was seen as a sci-fi horror masterpiece upon its release and is just as effective today. So it was no easy task to make a follow-up to it, but James Cameron decided to approach making a sequel like no one has ever attempted. While the first film was a small, claustrophobic thriller, Cameron took the concept to a whole other genre by making it a bombastic, thrilling action film. The effects hold up remarkably well, the scares will still make you jump, and the movie is endlessly entertaining popcorn fun.

3. The Empire Strikes Back

Star Wars was an absolute game-changer for the world of cinema, opening the world to a different kind of spectacle filmmaking. However, when it came time for the sequel, George Lucas upped his game in a big way. As fun and exciting as A New Hope was, The Empire Strikes Back was something entirely different. It was dark, it was surprising, and it had depth. It made the franchise and the mythology so much richer than it had been in and remains the shining moment of the still-running series.

4. Escape from New York

While most of the memorable summer films have millions of dollars behind them, Escape from New York had a very modest budget but stretched it remarkably well. John Carpenter, the king of doing so much with very little money, created a dark and gritty tale of the distant future of… 1997. While the timeline doesn’t match up well, the world it creates and the anti-hero at its center, make it a classic. The story follows a disgraced war hero named Snake Plissken is forced to go into Manhattan, which is now an island prison, to rescue the stranded President. It’s a fun, stylish romp and Kurt Russel makes a great hero.

5. Ghostbusters

Genre mixing is not an easy thing to pull off it films. In most cases, the genres fail to mesh together and end up doing a disservice to both. In those rare occasions when it does work, the genres help to heighten each other. Such is the case with Ghostbusters which looks like the big effect-driven sci-fi/horror film you might see in the summer season, but infused with the Saturday Night Live-style goofy humour. The material of these ill-prepare fighters of the paranormal is bolstered by the great comedic minds of Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd and Rick Moranis.

6. Jaws

This is the film that launched the summer blockbuster, which is even more amazing consider how close the film came to being a disaster. What was supposed to be a B-movie about a killer shark terrorizing a small beach community was elevated by the considerable talent of a young unproven director named Steven Spielberg. Instead of having to rely on the rubber, malfunctioning mechanical shark to scare audiences, Spielberg realized he could get a better reaction from just showing glimpses of the shark and letting imagination do most of the work. The result was an incredibly tense, entertaining film that kept audiences out of the water for years.

7. National Lampoon’s Animal House

If you grew up in the 70s, National Lampoon was likely a well-known entity to itself. It was a comedy enterprise that has since died away due to diminishing returns, but once upon a time they made the definitive college comedy. While there’s little plot to speak of, following a frat house as they bounce from house party to house party, always under the threat of expulsion, the film is oddly captivating. Obviously, one of the biggest highlights that makes this film work is the amazing and hilarious performance by John Belushi as the frat house’s resident madman. It’s the kind of the movie that will make you thankful you’ve left those college days behind while simultaneously making you miss it.

8. Raiders of the Lost Ark

Spielberg’s second appearance on the list comes after he established the summer movies season, but the film is now less impressive. Taking inspiration from the classic adventure serials of their youth, Spielberg and George Lucas created their own franchise of a globe-trotting adventurer. Indiana Jones became a cinematic icon, thanks largely to Harrison Ford’s supremely charismatic performance. It is a non-stop thrill ride that spawned many imitators but none came close to the magic of the original.

9. The Road Warrior

Road Warrior was a long-shot to become a summer movie classic. It was a sequel to the well-regarded Australian action picture, Mad Max, but that film was so unknown to American audiences, the studio decided calling this film Mad Max 2 would be too confusing. So this was largely the first time Americans were introduced to the silent-but-deadly wandering hero in this post-apocalyptic film. It was also the introduction of the film’s leading man, Mel Gibson, who went on to become one of Hollywood’s biggest stars. The film is a chaotic and wild adventure, filled with some of cinema’s most amazing car stunts that will leave you mystified with how they accomplished it.

10. Stand by Me

Of course, sometimes a summer movie can leave a big impression for doing something much different than all the other big-budget, high-concept film. Stand by Me is a small, simple film that will make you remember what it was like to be a young kid in the summer spending all your days getting into trouble with your best friends. It’s a film filled with nostalgia, lots of heart and humor. It make you laugh, cry and leave you with a big smile on your face.

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