Summer doesn't officially end for another few weeks, but I tend to think in terms of semesters, even though I've been out of school for many years. Labor Day weekend used to signify a return to classrooms, but these days kids go back to school even before that three day weekend, which seems like a cruel trick. Our end-of-summer three day weekend always meant trips to a lake somewhere, someone cutting their foot on a pop-top pull-tab from a can of Coke, and my Dad watching the Jerry Lewis telethon until he fell asleep.

There's a distinct change in movie attitude as you shift from summer to fall, and the Oscar-weighty movies start appearing out of the woodwork like ants at a picnic. No more spectacle movies, and on to the talking head snoozers that kids just can't stand. The bright lights of fall are Thanksgiving and Christmas, but those are but blips in a sea of other movies. To celebrate the end of the season, this list is about those movies that capture the true spirit of summertime.

Stand By Me
It's hard to believe that 23 years have passed since this movie came out, although it's fairly evident if you happen to catch a glimpse of Jerry O'Connell in anything, since he went from chubster to pretty boy in the intervening years. This movie crystalizes those summer moments of wandering in the woods with friends and having adventures that you'll talk about for years to come. More childhood truths and friendship are forged in circumstances like there than in any classroom ever created. Of course my buddies and I never found a dead body. That might have pushed us over the edge.

Best line: "Chopper, sic balls."
categories Cinematical