If you don’t plan to take summer classes, then surely you feel the excitement of summer just around the corner. While I know you probably already planned for fun vacations to enjoy, I do want to remind you about one summer essential: summer movies. Movies that embody summer, I mean. They hype us up for the warmer season. Movies about the oceans or mountains or traveling get us excited about our own summers and what we might do when the time comes.
And believe me, a lot of those movies exist.
1. High School Musical 2
A staple, if you ask me. Anyone who loves summer knows this movie. Whether you watched it during your childhood or you still rock out to the awesome songs, High School Musical 2 feels like the epitome of summer. The first song actually STARTS with the word “Summer,” repeated over and over! It elicited an entire generation of students who now look at the ticking clock on their iPhones, chanting the same thing. A story about friendship, romance and working beside a pool —always a summer essential— you cannot skip watching High School Musical 2.
2. Cheetah Girls 2
We all agree the second Cheetah Girls movie qualifies as the best, right? I mean, we enjoyed the first movie just fine, but the second one? Traveling to Barcelona and dressing in all these fancy dresses and singing songs in Spanish? That encompasses the complete travel experience, if you ask me. The movie felt more like a travel guide with beautiful songs. Every time I watch this movie, I want to travel. I want to experience new cultures. I want to listen to the soundtrack over and over. The whole film just feels bright, exciting and fun, making it everything you want in a summer break.
This. Movie. This movie makes me want to go to the beach every single time I watch it. I mean we all love mermaids, right? This movie explores not only mermaids, but female friendship as well. The colors look so vibrant, the characters come off so likeable and the water. I don’t love underwater shots because they don’t always look great, but Aquamarine really knows how to utilize their pool and beach scenes. An oldie, but a goodie. I highly recommend adding this to your summer watchlist.
Who doesn’t love Lin-Manuel Miranda’s music? I know I absolutely adore every single thing he writes. His songs always sound energetic, heartfelt and just super catchy. The soundtrack he wrote for Disney’s Moana feels no different. As a movie that centers around sailing, finding your strength and adventure, Moana presents itself as the perfect summer movie. Almost the entire movie sets itself on the sea, and the ocean just looks and feels so real and beautiful. This definitely serves as a lovely movie for summer.
5. Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief
Percy Jackson needs to return Zeus’s lightning bolt before the Summer Solstice. Did I just offer this movie because it contains the word “summer” at some point? No. Not really. Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief not only offers a lot of adventure and quests, but it centers around a summer camp. In this case, a summer camp that just happens to be for gods. Unlike Harry Potter, which focuses on the school year, Percy Jackson can’t wait to get away from that and into summer, despite the dangers. I think we can all relate to that a little bit.
This one might need some convincing, but hear me out. Heidi focuses on the story of a little girl living with her cold and distant grandfather. It doesn’t particularly focus on anything summer, but I always like to include it in my list because most of the movie takes places in the Swiss Alps. To me, nothing feels more like summer than a cottage in the mountains. Albeit a much quieter summer, but I really love the feel of that movie. Where The Secret Garden feels more like spring, Heidi gives us green fields, GOATS and working under a perfect blue sky which totally creates a mellow summer vibe.
7. Monte Carlo
Another movie about traveling that I absolutely need to mention: Monte Carlo. It stars Selena Gomez and focuses on three girls who find themselves with a fun little trip to Monaco. Except, a lot of deception occurs, impersonations and, of course, romance. This movie really knows how to utilize architecture scenery, different foods and lifestyles. I remember watching it and just wishing that I could stand where the main character stood, enjoying this new world. It totally hyped me up for travel, so in my book? Monte Carlo definitely qualifies as one great summer movie.
8. The Sound of Music
Let’s start at the very beginning. If you never watched The Sound of Music, why? Get on that right now, trust me. This movie doesn’t mention summer either, but it does give you the feel of summer. It gives you beautiful mountains, clear skies, vibrant colors and timeless pieces of music. Oh, and drama! Drama always provides a fun time, I assure you. The characters turn carefree every time they sing and their smiles feel infectious. I do recommend this movie for summer simply for the feel of it.
9. The Little Mermaid
Yes, another Disney film. But come on! Mermaids, beaches and romance? How could I not mention this one? I always loved Ariel so much. To me, she felt like freedom itself. Caught up in a place she didn’t want to stay in, she found a way out and did what she always wanted; explored. Beaches and beautiful animation aside, The Little Mermaid gives you a character who takes advantage of the free time she gets to wander, look around, meet new people and try new things. She does it all with such enthusiasm! Ariel got three days and explored a kingdom. You get three months. What will you do?
10. Eat, Pray, Love
Words cannot express how inspiring this movie feels. It makes me want to experience everything. I don’t just mean travel either, like the main character does. She goes around the world because she lost her taste for life, but the brilliance of movie? It shows you that you don’t need to travel to really enjoy everything life offers. Food, connection and love— that stuff exists everywhere. I feel like it works perfectly for summer because summer means experimentation and enjoying life to the fullest. If you want to get an idea on how to do that, then I seriously recommend watching Eat, Pray, Love.
Nobody likes waiting for summer, but at least it gives you time to plan. With the season around the corner, you get decide what kind of vacation you want. Do you want quiet time in the mountains? Exciting days at the beach? Maybe this is the summer you finally plan to travel somewhere? Whatever you decide don’t forget your most important summer asset, a good movie.