Staff Picks: Cara's Top 3 Movies for Summer

by Cara Anderson

It’s time for a MOVIE-CATION…

Film, I believe, is the most powerful art form; all-encompassing medium it becomes a visceral experience (pun intended). I started to really get into film in my late teens. For me, movies provided an emotional education. I remember seeing Magnolia in the theatres and realizing how impactful the art form could be. Between the score, the cinematography, the screenplay, the actors and the way the director pulls it all together on screen, film has the power to reach us through several sensory avenues.

Many of you film aficionados and even those who don’t consider yourself to be in that category, can probably surmise that different types of movies are released during different times of the year. For example, we start seeing the release of many dramatic character studies beginning in the fall. This is strategically arranged to prop such films in front of the Oscar buzz. The Oscar nominations are typically announced during January in preparation for a February or sometimes early March ceremony. Filmmakers strategically release character studies and many dramas during the fall in order to maximize theatre ticket sales and time for discussion and/or praise.

Summer, on the other hand, is generally a time when we see big Blockbusters, action films, comedies, and generally lighter atmospheric films. Many Marvel movies, remakes, action sequels, and general “popcorn” films are announced. Perhaps, this speaks to the general American public’s ability to digest heavy material during a season typically considered to be “vacation.” I believe there’s a strong correlation to this argument, and believe many film critics would agree. Alas, that’s an article for another day.

COOL RUNNINGS (1993) – Based on the Jamaican bobsled team’s appearance in the 1988 Olympic Games, this highly fictionalized depiction illustrates themes of sportsmanship, following your dreams, believing in yourself, and facing adversity. It’s humor and light hearted delivery make this a highly enjoyable and heart-rendering movie that holds up.

Personally, I love sports movies and in particular those featuring “underdogs” who overcome adversity and challenge. There is something intrinsically empowering about watching well done sports movies, which can weave themes rooted in human nature and growth: team relationships, personal growth, belief in oneself, camaraderie, and both success and failure.

This movie was released in 1993. I remember first seeing it when I was in 5th grade and now over 20 years later, it is still one of my favorites and makes the cut for my ultimate list of my top 115 movies of all time.

I know some of you may be thinking, but the movie is about the Winter Olympics….I concede - you’re right. I, however, think given the lighthearted tone of the film, the story from Jamaica, and the fact that we just experienced the Summer Olympic games, it makes this choice quite relevant for this year.

A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN (1992) - To me a filmmaker strikes gold when they’re able to touch on all the major emotions during a single film, regardless of the genre. A League of Their Own nails it and I believe it’s not only one of the most empowering and endearing films about female unity, strength, and athleticism; it is one of the most remarkable sports movies PERIOD.

This is one of my all-time favorite flicks and stars some of the best actors executing some of the most dynamic characters. Also, a movie I originally saw as a child that holds up today. Geena Davis, Lori Petty, Jon Lovitz, Madonna, Rosie O’Donnell, and Tom Hanks drumroll the cast in this classic and inspiring film.

Penny Marshall sets the tone in the film about a women’s baseball league created during WWII to keep the major franchises afloat during the war. A fictional tale based on facts, Penny Marshall evokes humor, tenderness, sadness, fear, anger, and loss throughout this powerful story, which is delivered so perfectly by the actors and more listed above. This is one of my all-time favorite go-to “feel good” movies. I highly recommend it!


FERRIS BUELLER’S DAY OFF (1986) – Staring the incomparable Matthew Broderick, this is an innocent and highly enjoyable film inspired from the irresponsible actions of a teenager. Directed by none other than coming of age guru (in my humble opinion), John Hughes, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off captures the cheeky wit and brazen persuasion of a teenager who skips school (with an elaborate scheme to boot) in order to spend the day off with his girlfriend, Sloane, and best friend, Cameron, (who happens to be in desperate need of a self-esteem boost).

There are some theories and analysis that Cameron is actually an imaginary character depicting another side of Ferris. But, let’s put film snobbery aside for the moment and simply acknowledge the candor and lighthearted portrayal Hughes gives to these teens and their colorful excursions throughout the city of Chicago.

If nothing else works in this movie, at the very least, it gives a comprehensive list of attractions and destinations that are unique to Chicago. Many, including myself, consider Ferris Bueller’s Day Off to be a classic and one of the most quotable films.

30 years later, people reference it fondly saying, “Bueller?... Bueller?... Bueller?”

One of my favorite lines is toward the end is when Ferris and Sloane are in the hot tub before Cameron throws his body into the pool. Ferris states to the camera as much of the film is delivered in narrative, “Pardon my French, but Cameron is so tight that if you stuck a lump of coal up his ass, in two weeks you’d have a diamond.”