Put away your pencils and textbooks. With the school year winding down, you’re going to find yourself with a bit more time. For the movie buff in you, here are some recommendations that range from happy-go-lucky summer films to number-related sci-fi and to even some cult classics.
Loosely based on Jane Austen’s “Emma,” “Clueless” is a cute, playful summer flick that rings with the cheerful onset of the season. “Clueless” is Hollywood’s parody of itself, poking fun at the extravagance of Beverley Hills’s teenage residents and the neighborhood’s general superficiality. Alicia Silverstone’s character Cher is popular, wealthy, and beautiful—what you would expect from any Hollywood teenager. Though she seems selfish at first, we learn and begin to feel for Cher and her simple-mindedness through the hilarious shenaningans that arise as she mingles the other characters. This feel-good, bubbly film captures the all-American, Clinton-was-president, economy-was-good, comedy-made-sense vibe that throws us back into the ‘90s.
Dazed and Confused (1993)
“George Washington was in a cult, and the cult was into aliens, man,” says Slater, the archetypal stoner from “Dazed and Confused.”
Perhaps not a single movie is more quote-worthy than Richard Linklater’s cult-classic. This coming-of-age film is warmly sentimental look back at 1976 through the eyes of rowdy, beer-chugging, pot-smoking, Aerosmith-loving high school students. And it gives us a scarily accurate sampling of the era’s youth: there’s Randall “Pink” Floyd (Jason London), a rising senior whose frustration stems from his football team’s summer anti-drug pledge; Mitch Kramer (Wiley Wiggins), a freshman-to-be who quickly assimilates into the upperclassmen’s crowd and makes moves on a sophomore girl; and David Wooderson (Matthew McConaughey), whose character can easily be explained by another of the movie’s golden quotes—“That’s what I love about these high schools girls. I get older; they stay the same age, man. Yes, they do.”
The Fifth Element (1997)
Directed by Luc Besson, “The Fifth Element” fuses a psychedelic visual style, fast-paced action, memorable characters, and a futuristic universe to create a sci-fi film with fantastic visuals. The plot revolves around a dark mass in outer space that could spell the end of all existence and can only be stopped by a weapon formed by the five elements: fire, water, earth, air, and the ever-mysterious perfect being. Taxi driver and ex-militarist Korben Dallas (Bruce Willis) decides to aid the synthetically rebuilt superhuman Leelo (Milla Jovovich), the fifth element, in her mission to save the universe.
The Sixth Sense (1999)
“The Sixth Sense” is a psychological thriller that can be effectively summarized by its most famous quotation: “I see dead people.” Directed by M. Night Shyamalan, the film is about child psychologist Malcolm Crowe (Bruce Willis) and the metaphysical journey he undergoes while he treats a quiet and insecure boy, Cole Sear (Haley Joel Osment). As the plot progresses, layers of Sear’s psych are unraveled, including his ability to communicate with the dead. His nightmarish episodes and experiences with the dead alienate his deeply caring mother and bring him closer an unexpected truth about Crowe.
Some Like it Hot (1959)
Marilyn Monroe, Tom Curtis, and Jack Lemmon all come together in the film that served as the inspiration for “White Chicks” (2004). Joe (Curtis) and Jerry (Lemmon) are jazz musicians on the escape from the mafia. The two men disguise themselves as women and take up new names—Joe becomes Josephine and Jerry becomes, of all things, Daphne. With these new identities, they join an all-women band, in which they become familiar with the beautiful Sugar (Monroe). A variety of mismatched romances makes this exquisite black-and-white film, directed by Billy Wilder, one of the most acclaimed films of Hollywood’s Golden Age, for its being refreshingly comedic rather than distasteful.
Dead Poets Society (1989)
Touching, inspiring, and emotional, this critically acclaimed film directed by Peter Weir proudly chants the famous words of Horace: “Carpe diem!” Robin Williams stars as John Keating who is, by all means, a highly unorthodox English teacher. Hired to work at the prestigious and conservative Welton Academy, he teaches poetry that liberates his pupils from the cold, materialistic world. He boldly encourages them to chase their dreams and pursue their hearts and not to blindly follow the paths their parents have laid down. The soundtrack, composed by three-time Academy-Award winner Maurice Jarre, perfectly complements the story. This triumph of a film is quirky, daring, and above all, memorable.