August 8, 2003
Good summer movies - and more
By TOM WILLIAMS
Here we are in August, the final month of a summer with more rainy days than
sunny days and lots of indoor time looking us in the eye. It is a great time to
catch up on movies.
You can hit the theaters, checking out the latest films - Seabiscuit, Pirates of
the Caribbean, Lara Croft, The Terminator, Finding Nemo, JLo and Ben or even
revisit 3-D with the Spy Kids.
But there are a lot of other great summer movies that you could rent or buy for
viewing at home. We've taken the liberty to list some of the best for your
THE 20 BEST MOVIES SET IN SUMMER
1-Jaws (1975)- This Steven Speilberg classic thriller set in a beach
resort made swimming on the beach a challenge for a number of years. It stars
Roy Scheider, Richard Dreyfuss and Robert Shaw plus a shark that didn't
always work. If you get the DVD, there is a great "behind the scenes" feature.
2-On Golden Pond (1981)- One of the greatest casts in movie history -
Henry Fonda, Katherine Hepburn and Jane Fonda - spark this great generation
3-American Graffiti (1973)- George Lucas' story of the last night of
summer includes Ron Howard, Richard Dreyfuss, Cindy Williams and even
Harrison Ford facing changes in their lives, all set to a Wolfman Jack
4-Chariots of Fire (1981)- Academy Award winning film with strong
performances by the entire cast. It's about English runners in the 1924
5-Rear Window (1954)- Hitchcock's classic about wheelchair-bound
photographer James Stewart figuring out a murder with help from girlfriend
Grace Kelly and nurse Thelma Ritter. The killer is played by TV's Perry Mason,
6-Seven Year Itch (1955)- Marilyn Monroe in tight slacks and the
famous scene where her skirt blows up while standing over a subway grate in
a hot New York City summer. She is great but Tom Ewell, as her neighbor, is
7-Dirty Dancing (1987)- Jennifer Grey and her family spend summer in
the Catskills and she discovers dancer Patrick Swayze. The song, "I've had the
time of my life", won the Oscar and was the hottest song of the year.
8-Dog Day Afternoon (1975)- Al Pacino steals this one as a frustrated
bank robber trapped in the sweltering heat of summer. Based on a true story.
9-Summer of '42 (1971)- The summer fantasies of three teenage boys
at the beach center around beautiful Jennifer O'Neill.
10-O! Brother Where Art Thou? (2000)- George Clooney shows off his
comedy skills as one of three escaped convicts in Depression-era Mississippi.
Bluegrass soundtrack was a giant hit.
11-Marjorie Morningstar (1958)- Young Natalie Wood works in a
summer theatre and falls for older Gene Kelly, the director.
12-Picnic (1955)- Drifter William Holden passes through town and
steals the affections of beautiful Kim Novak. Great supporting cast.
13-Beach Blanket Bingo (1965)- You get Frankie and Annette, Linda
Evans, Don Rickles and an all-to-brief vocal performance by the magnificent
Donna Loren. Not to mention Buster Keaton spending most of the movie
chasing after shapely Bobbi Shaw, a summer resident of Ocean City.
14-Eddie & The Cruisers (1983)- Not really set entirely during
summers, this tells the story of the fictional band, including performances
filmed at Tony Mart's in Somers Point. The stars are Tom Berenger, Michael
Pare and Ellen Barkin.
15-Race For Your Life, Charlie Brown (1977)- Charlie, Snoopy and the
gang spend the summer in the great outdoors.
16-Niagara (1952)- More Marilyn Monroe, this time in the movie that
made her the biggest star in the land. Check it out and you'll see why. Also
features Joseph Cotton and Jean Peters.
17-Shag: The Movie (1989)- Not to be confused with Shag The Dance.
Phoebe Cates, Annabeth Gish, Bridget Fonda and Page Hannah spend part of
their summer doing the dance in Myrtle Beach.
18-Endless Summer (1966)- If you like surfing, you'll like Bruce
Brown's classic documentary. The narrative is a bit corny and dated, but still
entertaining. Fabulous photography helps the film still hold up as the greatest
surfing movie ever made.
19-A Summer Place (1959)- Teen idols Troy Donahue and Sandra Dee
are in love and it complicates both of their families. The theme song was a No.
20-Summer Rental (1985)- If you like John Candy, you'll like this light
comedy about a man on vacation with his family in Florida and the characters
they run across. The late Richard Crenna plays his arrogant landlord.
If you are wondering why we didn't include a few baseball movies on the list,
THE 15 BEST MOVIES ABOUT BASEBALL
1-Bull Durham (1988)- The adventures of minor league players Kevin
Costner and Tim Robbins, particularly concerning their relationships with
2-The Natural (1984)- Robert Redford is an aging rookie who leads his
team to the World Series. Also features Glenn Close, Robert Duvall and Kim
3-Field of Dreams (1989)- Costner, a year after Bull Durham, follows
the instructions of a voice that tells him, "If you build it, they will come". So, he
builds a baseball field in the middle of nowhere. Sure enough, they came.
4-61* (2001)- OK, its an HBO movie, not a theatrical release. But Billy
Crystal's story about the 1961 home run race between Roger Maris and
Mickey Mantle is terrific.
5-A League Of Their Own (1992)- Tom Hanks is called in to manage
the Rockford Peaches in the All-American Girls League. Among his players
are Geena Davis, Madonna and Rosie O'Donnell.
6-When It Was A Game (1991)- Fabulous documentary (another HBO
effort) with never-before-seen home movies of the immortals from the sport's early
years. Two sequels are also worth a watch.
7-Bang The Drum Slowly (1973)- Robert DeNiro and Michael Moriarty
in the story of a catcher with Hodgkin's disease who wants to play one more
season, and the teammate who helps him.
8-The Rookie (2002)- Dennis Quaid in the true-life story of a high
school baseball coach who gives pro baseball one more try and makes it to the
Tampa Bay Devil Rays.
9-Eight Men Out (1988)- The story of the 1919 Black Sox scandal,
when Chicago players were accused of throwing the World Series. Stars John
Cusack and D.B. Sweeney.
10-Fear Strikes Out (1957)- Anthony Perkins as Jim Piersall, a real
major leaguer who suffered a nervous breakdown. Perkins is a bit awkward in
the baseball scenes but he acts up a storm.
11-The Sandlot (1993)- It's about childhood friends, their sandlot
games and the ferocious dog that lives over the leftfield fence.
12-The Bingo Long Traveling All Stars & Motor Kings (1976)- Billy Dee
Williams, James Earl Jones and Richard Pryor are among the stars of this film
about a traveling team of black players long before Jackie Robinson broke the
major league color barrier. Good supporting cast.
13-The Pride Of The Yankees (1942)- Gary Cooper plays Lou Gehrig
as he succeeds in baseball and then faces the disease that now bears his
name. Babe Ruth plays himself in the film.
14-Major League (1989)- A comedy about the Cleveland Indians
winning the pennant. It seemed silly at the time, but they actually did it twice
in the mid-90s. Introduced the song "Wild Thing" to major league stadiums.
15-The Bad News Bears (1976)- Walter Matthau and Tatum O'Neal in
a comedy about Little League baseball.
Finally, here are a few movies you could check out to remember the stars that
have died over the past six months.
Hume Cronyn- Start with Shadow Of A Doubt in 1943, then Lifeboat,
Gin Game, Cocoon and even Batteries Not Included.
Buddy Ebsen- He dances with Shirley Temple in 1936's Captain
January and you'll also find him in Breakfast At Tiffany's and The Interns. But
pick up a couple early episodes of The Beverly Hillbillies to see the Buddy
Ebsen we all love and remember.
Katherine Hepburn- Start with Little Women from 1933, then it's The
Philadelphia Story, Adam's Rib, The African Queen, Guess Who's Coming To
Dinner, The Lion In Winter and On Golden Pond. In fact, you could make this
your Hepburn Summer.
Bob Hope- He's with Bing Crosby in The Road To Singapore and six
more "road" pictures. Also check out My Favorite Brunette, The Lemon Drop
Kid, The Seven Little Foys and Bachelor in Paradise.
Gregory Peck- You'll love him in Twelve O'Clock High, Roman Holiday,
The Man In The Gray Flannel Suit, Cape Fear, To Kill A Mockingbird and The
Martha Scott- She was at her best in Our Town, Desperate Hours, The
Ten Commandments and Ben-Hur.
Robert Stack- To Be Or Not To Be, Written On The Wind, Scarface
Mob and Airplane! are some good films. But try to find a few episodes of TV's
Lynne Thigpen- Check her out in Godspell, Lean On Me, The Paper,
Tootsie and The Insider.
There you have it. A bunch of ideas for indoor entertainment during the last few
weeks of summer. Lets hope you won't need too many of them.