My Summer Vacation: Watching Movies and Loving It!

Remember in elementary school when everyone would come back from summer vacation, and the teacher would make all the students either write an essay or give an oral presentation on how they spent the previous months free of having to worry about long division, the capital of Pennsylvania, or the gross lunch lady with the mole on her face? Well, that’s kind of the idea here, but this little feature will be a preface, not an epilogue. That’s right, at the conclusion of business on July 15, yours truly will be on vacation for the first time in 2 1/2 years. What will I be doing? Will I travel to exotic locales such as the Caribbean? Miami? Las Vegas? Boise…? No, film fans, I will most likely be sitting on my couch catching up on my stories. What that means exactly is that I will be spending a majority of the week indulging in my favorite pastime: watching movies, of course.

Now, there’s plenty of material to cover. In addition to revisiting some classic summer favorites, I will also be taking in a host of films that for one reason or another have escaped me to this point. For example, it dawned on me the other day upon seeing the trailer for Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides that I somehow never got around to seeing Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World’s End. So, that will be remedied. Then, maybe I can feel comfortable checking out the fourth Capt. Jack Sparrow blockbuster on the big screen, in addition to some of the other season’s big films such as X-Men: First Class, Super 8, Transformers: Dark Of The Moon, etc.

Speaking of successful blockbusters, I can’t believe I also missed Sherlock Holmes with Robert Downey, Jr. I’ll also take care of that, as well as maybe Battle Los Angeles, Just Go With It, and others that have made it to home video.

However, it won’t just be big money-making endeavors that’ll be on my radar. There are some award-nominees from this past year still on my docket such as Biutiful, the Mexican film with Javier Bardem as a terminally-ill man dealing with his family, and Animal Kingdom, with Guy Pearce and Jacki Weaver, about a teen getting roped into organized crime. There are also a handful of films somewhat off the radar that I need to clean off my DVR. There’s the HBO original film You Don’t Know Jack that features the legendary Al Pacino portraying the controversial Dr. Jack Kevorkian, a supporter and practitioner of euthanasia who was ultimately tried for murder, and Talk To Me, another film about a controversial figure, Ralph “Petey” Greene, played by Don Cheadle. Greene was a radical radio personality who candidly expressed himself on the air in Washington, D.C. during the ‘60s and ‘70s. The movie was one that I was really looking forward to, but it just managed to slip through the cracks until now.

Additionally, it’s not just new movies that will get all my attention. Among some of the films of yesteryear that I’ve always wanted to see is a trio of films focusing on the media and journalism. The first would be Call Northside 777 about James Stewart looking into an old murder case. Then, there’s Ace In The Hole, with Kirk Douglas as an unscrupulous reporter looking to make a name for himself. Lastly, we have The Sweet Smell Of Success, that has columnist Burt Lancaster utilizing press agent Tony Curtis to break up his sister’s relationship. Now, I’m going to have to budget my time, so I wonder which of these is the best?

Of course, it is summertime. Therefore, I’m going to have to make some room to once again watch some of my favorites. Yes, there are always the classics like Jaws and National Lampoon’s Vacation, but I have my own list that includes Meatballs, with Bill Murray, because “IT JUST DOESN’T MATTER!” That this staple of summer currently isn’t available on video is a travesty to summer camps everywhere and all that is decent. (Wet Hot American Summer is a nice consolation). The same goes for Savage Steve Holland’s One Crazy Summer, where awkward John Cusack tries to win the affections of the popular girl while battling and bonding with a host of zany characters that includes Demi Moore, Bobcat Goldthwait, Curtis Armstrong, Jeremy Piven, Mark Metcalf and others. Of course, there’s Summer School, a true classic, and if one had to spend the summer months in a place of learning, one where gym teacher Mark Harmon was running the curriculum would be a good choice. After all, how could anybody argue with this:

Besides, it has Courtney Thorne-Smith, Fabiana Udenio, a pre-Saw film franchise Shawnee Smith, and a pre-Dancing with the Stars Kirstie Alley in it. How could one go wrong?

I might also have to give the timeless Weekend At Bernie’s another look. Naturally, any film where a dead guy is the lead is not only an instant hit, but right up my alley. The legendary Terry Kiser is said corpse, Bernie, who gets bumped off by the mob. His hapless employees Jonathan Silverman and Andrew McCarthy must then hide out at his beach resort and make people believe he’s still alive so they’re not pinched for the murder or targeted themselves… Sound complicated? It isn’t. But it is hilarious and anyone who says different won’t be invited to my Labor Day bash.

I was also thinking of doing nights with specific themes. I could do foreign night and get the French crime thriller A Prophet (Un Prophete) and the odd Greek film Dogtooth, about extremely sheltered teens, out of the way. I could go with Matt Damon night and go with the action-packed Green Zone and the recently released sci-fi drama The Adjustment Bureau. Or how about a Clint Eastwood/Matt Damon night, with the uplifting and unifying soccer film Invictus and the touching Hereafter that deals with the afterlife? A requisite horror night could surely be in the cards since I have yet to see The Strangers that has Liv Tyler going through a home invasion ordeal, or the remake of zombie master George A. Romero’s The Crazies, with Timothy Olyphant.


Now, I’m not crazy. Will I have time for all these films? Of course not. Will I get to any of them? Maybe. Is it possible that I eat up all my time spending money on needless things at the mall and getting drunk while gambling my paycheck away in Atlantic City? Probably. But I can dream, can’t I?