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Six Films to Watch Before Summer Break is Over

There are only 51 days left until summer’s official end on September 21. (But who’s counting?) For most students, however, summer comes to a screeching halt much sooner with many colleges and universities starting up before August’s end.

Jul 13, 2017
  • Student Tips
Six Films to Watch Before Summer Break is Over

There are only 51 days left until summer’s official end on September 21. (But who’s counting?) For most students, however, summer comes to a screeching halt much sooner with many colleges and universities starting up before August’s end.

But just because the days are dwindling doesn’t mean you can’t make the most of them. We like nothing more than celebrating the lazy, hazy days of summer than with a good marathon of summer-centric flicks, including the following:

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1. Dazed and Confused (1993)

There are a million appealing reasons to watch Richard Linklater’s stoner smash about the last day (and night) of school. At the top of our list? Matthew McConaughey’s brilliant portrayal of mustachioed player David Wooderson and his beloved -- if not creepy -- rumination on the nature of high school girls: "I keep getting older, but they stay the same age," he leers (in the most charming of ways, natch.)

A second Linklater film (well, three of them) deserving equal space on this list? The “Before Trilogy” (1995’s Before Sunrise, 2004’s Before Sunset, and 2013’s Before Midnight). Featuring Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy as American tourist Jesse and French student Celine who connect (and reconnect), the film set a high bar for millions of idealistic young people dreaming of real romance.

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2. I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997)

Okay, so no one would call this slasher film high art, but isn’t that what mindless summer movie watching is about? Loosely based on the book by Lois Duncan and inspired by the fodder of urban legends, the movie consists of four extremely good looking co-eds, played by Jennifer Love Hewitt, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Ryan Phillippe and Freddie Prinze, Jr., trying to avoid getting revenge offed by killer stalker after running someone over and covering it up the previous year.

Not having a great summer? Take solace in the fact that yours is better than theirs.

Meanwhile, Big Bang Theory fans will enjoy brief appearances by early-career Johnny Galecki, whose role is described by iHorror.com as “a weird ‘friend-zoned and bitter about it’ character.”

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3. Dirty Dancing (1987)

Can you carry a watermelon without thinking of Baby’s cringe-worthy “I carried a watermelon” response to the question of how she ended up at a secret rager at the Catskills resort where she and her family were vacationing? If not, you’re probably already well-acquainted with this gem -- a reminder that simpler times may not have been so simple after all -- starring Jennifer Grey and a young and virile Patrick Swayze. But when was the last time you revisited it -- not counting the pales-by-comparison 2017 remake?

“Nobody puts baby in a corner.” Need we say more?

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4. Stand By Me (1986)

Nearly a year ago, this timeless tale of friendship celebrated its 30th birthday. Declared Rolling Stone of the flick on that anniversary, “Long before 'Stranger Things,' Rob Reiner's 1986 film of author's novella combined youth, nostalgia and corpses for a landmark coming-of-age story.” Set during Labor Day weekend in 1959, this film performed just so-so at the box office, but has emerged over the past three decades “into a staple of youthful nostalgia for its deft straddling of the line between childhood and adulthood.”

Concludes Rolling Stone of the movie’s remarkable staying power, “That dull ache of remembrance of things past is always a two-part process, conjured first from affection for days gone by, and then from the pain that those golden years are lost forever. By this tack, Stand by Me will be an even sweeter and more melancholy film another decade from now; it's the rare movie that necessarily gets better with time.”

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5. 500 Days of Summer (2009)

We challenge you to find two more adorkable people than Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel in this not-so-classic story of two people not meant to be. Said Roger Ebert of the film’s creative non-chronological format, “How long can the characters pretend they don’t know how the story will end? Here is a rare movie that begins by telling us how it will end and is about how the hero has no idea why.” You’ll love getting to the reason with Gordon-Levitt -- especially during his post-coital, song-and-dance daydream sequence.

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6. Into The Wild (2007)

This Academy Award winning survival film offers something most others don’t: It’s based on the real story of American Christopher McCandless on his (SPOILER ALERT!) ill-fated journey into the Alaskan wilderness.

Says The New York Times of this sorrowful yet compelling film, “Though the film’s structure may be tragic, its spirit is anything but. It is infused with an expansive, almost giddy sense of possibility, and it communicates a pure, unaffected delight in open spaces, fresh air and bright sunshine.”

It may sound like a strange way to describe a movie about the senseless death of a college student, but watch it for yourself and see.

Make it through these six films with summer to spare? Get ready for school with these pre-College films. So what are your waiting for? Grab some popcorn, text some pals, and prepare to get your movie marathon on.

Joanna Hughes


Joanna worked in higher education administration for many years at a leading research institution before becoming a full-time freelance writer. She lives in the beautiful White Mountains region of New Hampshire with her family.