13 Summer Movies Every Guy Should See

There’s a carefree attitude that pervades a great summer movie. That’s not to say the plot can’t be heavy, but there’s a sense of freedom and effortless possibility that takes place under the summer sun. Often this lends itself to grand adventures and childhood scheming. Here are 13 we turn on when the temperature goes up that we think every guy should see.


The Kings of Summer

Coming-of-age films lend themselves to summer settings. School’s out and anything can happen. Over the last few years, there hasn’t been a better one than The Kings of Summer. If you ever had the desire as a teenager to get away from it all and claim a bit of independence–perhaps with a side of Walden-esque adventure–this movie should be on your To Watch list. Three friends escape for the summer to build a house in the woods and live there, only it’s not quite that simple. Amazon iTunes


Adventureland

Adventureland is also a coming-of-age story, only it might strike a more recent chord with you. Apparently they don’t just hand out awesome jobs when you graduate college, and Adventureland will help you appreciate the silver lining in even the shittiest line of work. It’s a comedy with more depth than you’d expect, but still containing a boner joke or two. Amazon iTunes Netflix (CLIP)


The Endless Summer

What if summer never ended? While it sounds like the fantasy of a third grader, it’s also the idea behind one of the greatest surfing documentaries ever made. The Endless Summer follows surfers who travel the world to always hit a beach where the weather is right. It not only helped push surf culture forward, but it made us long for warm weather and some perfect waves. Amazon iTunes Netflix


Do the Right Thing

Summer in the city brings to mind the sound of an ice cream truck, residents on stoops and kids playing in water streams, but in Do the Right Thing it simply serves as the backdrop for a magnified look at racial relations in the late 80s. It’s not only one of Spike Lee’s best works, it’s also his most important. The clothing may seem dated, but the movie still holds up today. Amazon iTunes


Vicky Cristina Barcelona

It’s easy to mistake Vicky Cristina Barcelona for a romantic comedy your girlfriend would want to watch. We assure you it is not. Even though the plotline–a couple of twenty somethings travel to Spain where one meets a man she falls for and gets caught in a love triangle–sounds like chick flick fodder, the brilliance of Woody Allen shines. It will make you want to drink a copious amount of wine under the Spanish sun. Amazon iTunes


Almost Famous

As much as we want to recommend obscure movies you’ve never heard of, this list would be incomplete without Almost Famous. The ultimate story of sex, drugs and rock & roll, Almost Famous made us want to pick up a tape recorder and apply for a job at Rolling Stone. It’s a coming-of-age movie kicked into overdrive as little journalist William is exposed to the rock & roll lifestyle first hand. We still think of it when we hear Tiny DancerAmazon iTunes


The Sandlot

Speaking of movies we couldn’t leave out, perhaps no movie is so quintessentially summer as The Sandlot. This is boyhood Americana at its finest. While the movie was never going to win Best Picture, it reminds us of growing up playing ball while figuring out how we could get that hot lifeguard to make out with us. Amazon


American Graffiti

A common theme for a summer comedy is that imaginary line between childhood freedom and grown-up responsibility. Since 1973, American Graffiti has been the benchmark for such a movie. Before the gang in American Pie was scared to take the next step, the kids in American Graffiti laid it all out for you. It’s also a great reminder that Harrison Ford has always been cooler than you. Amazon iTunes

Moonrise Kingdom

This may be an unpopular opinion, but Moonrise Kingdom is Wes Anderson’s best movie. Tucked away in a summer camp of the coast of New England is Sam, a character who could carry a movie awkwardly by himself. Just like many great summer films, Moonrise Kingdom deals with young love and the difficulty of making it work, only this one gets a hint of Anderson’s cinematic brilliance. Not as laugh out loud funny as Rushmore or some of his others, but his most complete work. Amazon iTunes


Y Tu Mamá También

Alfonso Cuarón has become one of those filmmakers we just trust to consistently put out gems. Before Gravity and Pan’s Labyrinth, there was Y Tu Mamá También. It takes the classic formula of teenagers growing up in the summer and adds a sex and drug-filled spin to it. It’s a bit more raw and real than others that followed the same basic plotline. Amazon iTunes Netflix


Stand By Me

We all know Stephen King can write, but sometimes something gets lost when his words get put to screen. Not only does Stand By Me not lose anything from the story The Body by King, it somehow takes it to another level. It’s the coming-of-age movie among all coming-of-age movies. Amazon iTunes


The Way, Way Back

What do you do after you write the brilliant screenplay for The Descendants? You follow it up with a movie that’s equally as good even if it doesn’t get the same recognition. The Way, Way Back is a summer movie that is both simple and beautiful. The familiar story of boy meets girl feels fresh in the hands of a master. Also, Sam Rockwell is tremendous. Amazon iTunes



The Graduate

The Graduate is one of those movies people gasp at when you say you haven’t seen it. And guess what? It’s for good reason. Even if you don’t know what the future holds after you finish up with your schooling, as The Graduate proves, life has a way of creating story lines for you. One of Dustin Hoffman’s finest works, if for some reason you haven’t seen it (gasp), do so. Amazon iTunes Netflix

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  • Danny

    Alfonso Cuarón was only a producer for Pan’s Labyrinth. The genius behind that film was his old friend Guillermo del Toro of Hellboy and Pacific Rim.

  • aleksa

    The Wackness (2008) with Ben Kinglsey and Josh Peck deserves to be on this list.. True summer movie.. And verry underrated..

  • http://about.me/iancollins Ian Collins

    Great list of movies.The Way Way Back doesn’t get the love it deserves. Sam Rockwell is genius in it.

  • Fred

    Dazed and Confused should be on this list. Even though I grew up in a big city in the north, I can completely relate to the last day of school/first day of summer vibe in this classic.

  • KryptoTSD

    Stand By Me totally Rocked! Boo Yah!

  • THISGUY

    Agreed

  • http://djkento.com/ Kento

    I’d disagree. It’s a film that wants to be more than it is. It meanders with no plot, meaning or substance. Brilliant performances that lead to no where and zero understanding. It’s a movie only in that it’s moving pictures but it has no story and no reason to exist…. no focus.