Sign up for our weekly newsletter and be the star of your next independent film conversation!
There's a lot to be said for taking that late-August vacation, one last bit of respite where you can enjoy the summery goodness before Labor Day brings with it the fall and all its autumnal responsibilities. But one can only enjoy the sunshine and nature and excursions for so long. The best vacations involve copious couch time, watching some movies. And there's no better low-stress option for movie-picking than to fire up Netflix and see what's streaming. But the options are many, and there's no shame is asking for assistance. The following six films constitute a complete spectrum of vacation-themed movies, all of which you can stream this very week.
The Comedy Option: Wet Hot American Summer
This pick is a no-brainer. Either you've already seen it, in which case you'll enjoy revisting Camp Firewood and its massive cast of comedic talent (Michael Showalter, Janeane Garofalo, Molly Shannon, Paul Rudd, Elizabeth Banks, Amy Poehler, Bradley Cooper), or else you haven't seen it, in which case, what in good gravy are you waiting for??
The Drama Option: Into the Wild
It may not be the summer vacation that most of us would choose, but Sean Penn's film about a discontented twentysomething (Emile Hirsch) who ventures off the grid and eventually to Alaska, where he attempts to live without the corrupting influence of ... well, anything. You don't have to co-opt the main character's drifter passions in order to find something worth watching here, and performances by Hal Holbrook, Catherine Keener, Kristen Stewart, and Jena Malone are well worth a look.
The Romance Option: A Room with a View
1980s Merchant-Ivory may be a subgenre that has fallen by the wayside in the modern film landscape, but they made beautiful movies packed with brilliant actors (Maggie Smith! Judi Dench! Helena Bonham-Carter!), telling classic romantic stories. This was a mulit-Oscar nominee back in 1985, and it won for the usual Merchant-Ivory categories (Best Art Direction; Best Costime Design; Best Adapted Screenplay). Enjoy the picturesque English countryside even if you're at the Jersey shore.
The Indie Option: Y Tu Mama Tambien
In 2002, Alfonso Cuaron made a most excellent road-trip movie that transcended notions of comedy, drama, and romance. Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna nail the unfocused sexual energy of teenagers who are presented with a world's worth of possibilities, far more than their desires can process. This is a movie that simultaneously takes sex seriously and has a lot of fun with it.
The Classic Option: Roman Holiday
It's a near-impossible task to nail down THE quintissential Audrey Hepburn film role. Not when her filmography's loaded with Breakfast at Tiffany's, My Fair Lady, and Funny Face. But Roman Holiday is the film she won her Oscar for, a William Wyler romantic comedy about Hepburn and Gregory Peck in a gorgeous Roman setting. If you want to see The Audrey Hepburn Thing at its core, you owe it to yourselves to see it.
The Wild Card: The Bay
Maybe save this one for the end of vacation, lest you be scared away from the water way worse than the last time you saw Jaws. Barry Levinson's found-footage environmental horror has some truly excellent scares and will make you hop over standing-water puddles for weeks.