Summer is almost (unofficially) over, and maybe you saw all the great movie blockbusters …or maybe you were too busy attending pool parties and booking overtime to take off during Pride.
So what about an outdoor screening party? It’s easier than you think. Sure, there are outdoor TVs that you can permanently install on your patio (pricey) or you can kick it old school with a professional projector and screen available at your local electronics retailer (Best Buy), or online at Amazon. But you can also skip the screen altogether and hang a white sheet on which to screen the movie, and in lieu of a projector you can turn your smartphone into a home cinema for as low as $1 using online resources.
And don’t forget the snacks —fresh-popped corn from a machine, and theater-style candy to nosh on. Your local convenient store will carry boxes of the good stuff for $1 or less, or you can stop by Costco or Sam’s and pick up bulk candy for as close to wholesale as you can get. Sharing is caring, after all.
And then, there’s the lineup. All of these movies are available for download, stream or on DVD. And all can help set the mood.
Jaws. There’s still something in the water — and it’s still scary as hell.
Wet Hot American Summer. Critically panned upon its release in 2001, it developed a cult following … so much so that Netflix debuted a prequel series based on the film last month. Plus, Bradley Cooper and Michael Ian Black bang, just in case you needed more convincing. (If you have Netflix, combine series and film in one!)
An American Summer. So few people have seen An American Summer, starring a very young Brian Austin Green and Michael Landes, that there’s no Wiki page or Rotten Tomatoes rating for it. But there are shirtless dudes, and beggars can’t be choosy.
Summer School. All you slackers out there will rejoice in (or resent?) reminiscing about your summer days spent in class. Though I doubt it went down anything like it did under Mr. Shoop’s watch.
Summer Rental. John Candy sure knew how to bring the laughs to a summer vacation. Even with the worst. Sunburn. Ever.
The Sandlot. There wasn’t a kid in the ’90s who didn’t want to be part of this team of baseball-playing misfits. Equally, we all had nightmares about “the Beast,” too.
I Know What You Did Last Summer. A worthy entry in the teen-slasher renaissance of the late 1990s, I Know What You Did Last Summer made us look at fishermen and Ryan Phillippe’s abs in a whole new light.
The Endless Summer. This seminal surf documentary put South Africa’s Cape St. Francis on the map, and subsequently earned a place in cinema history when the Library of Congress selected it for preservation in the United States National Film Registry.
The Parent Trap. The Hayley Mills original, not the one with that little red-haired girl.
Dirty Dancing. Nobody puts Baby in a corner. Except a shirtless and sweaty Patrick Swayze.
American Graffiti . This 1973 coming-of-age dramedy asks, “Where were you in ’62?” Hopefully having the summer of your life like this crew.
Stand By Me. Be honest: How long were you afraid of leeches after seeing this for the first time?
National Lampoon’s Vacation. Clark: Can I do your back, honey? Ellen: I’ve already done my back. Clark: Could I do your front? Ellen: Go do your own front.
Do the Right Thing. Brooklyn was burning hot in the summer of 1989, and racial tensions were high. Spike Lee’s joint is just as relevant today as it was a quarter-century ago.
The Broken Hearts Club. The first gay film I saw, and it made me feel like there was place in the world for me. It also introduced me to “Meanwhile…” and the beauty that is Andrew Keegan.
Grease. Danny and Sandy go together with summer like rama lama lama ka dinga da dinga dong.
Back to the Future. This film mostly takes place in November 1955, but it was the biggest blockbuster of summer 1985. Today it’s a summer staple of free outdoor movie screenings in communities across the country.
The Goonies. Mikey and Bran were cute enough, but bad-boy Troy could get it.
Dazed and Confused. Especially for Texas! Frankly, it baffles me how much my pothead friends know about this stoner comedy starring a young Matthew McConaughey.
The Great Outdoors. Bats, bears and the Old 96’er (plus hilarious turns by John Candy and Dan Aykroyd) make this raucous-but-mixed-reviewed comedy deserving of a spot on this list.
American Pie 2. Though not as refreshing as its predecessor, at least we get some man-on-man make-out action in this still-comical sequel.
Friday the 13th. It was a warning to us all: Never mess with a momma’s boy.
Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead. An entire summer without any parental supervision? My house probably would’ve been burned to the ground, but we’d have had a blast.
Weekend at Bernie’s. Basically me on the beach on a hungover Sunday. #Dead
Independence Day. Widely considered the best entry in the alien-invasion genre. It made Will Smith a movie star and Harry Connick Jr. a heartthrob.
— Mikey Rox