Labor day is this weekend and that (I guess) means you can’t wear white shoes (without risking Kathleen Turner stabbing you) starting Tuesday and EVERYONE AROUND you is about to start saying things like “I can’t believe the summer is over”. Well, first off all, you still have till September 23rd till it is OFFICIALLY over and, second of all, the great supply of summer (related) movies on the assorted streaming apparatuses in your home can keep you feeling those rays way past any temperature drops.
So, here are some perfect END OF SUMMER movies to diver into RIGHT NOW. Sorted by useful mood categories and with things you can watch them on added in, for good measure. You’re welcome.
- EXTRAORDINARY ADVENTURES OF ADELE BLANC-SEC (Available on Instant Netflix) – Luc Besson’s movies have always been wildly uneven in terms of quality (especially in the last half decade or so), but one thing they cannot be denied is the pure sense of fantasy he still embraces so eagerly. This adaptation of a popular French comic book follows the adventures of a wisecracking, fearlessly hard-living (BUT OF COURSE GORGEOUS) adventurer-cum-novelist living in pre-WWI France on a mission to Egypt. All your summer fantasies and childhood dream adventure (hell, grown up adventures too) in one place. With a solid FX budget.
- MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING (available on Instant Netflix, Amazon Prime) – Joss Whedon’s breezy, utterly modern adaptation of Shakespeare’s classic comedy has all the makings of a feel good summer flick: the setting is gorgeous, the leads are having ALL THE FUN and the weekend party vibe rings through and through.
- DRINKING BUDDIES (available on Instant Netflix) – Ideally, I’d write about SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED here but it is OFF Instant Netflix and fine, I’ll take another casually charming Jake Johnson movie instead. Beer, friendships, relationships and all those little gray areas in between are on display front and center here and the four leads (Anna Kendrick, Olivia Wilde and Ron Livingston join Johnson) are exactly the kind of people you want to be hanging out at a stoop, shooting the shit as the August sun sets on the summer of your emotional discontent.
- WHAT ABOUT BOB? (available on Instant Netflix) – I don’t need to explain this to anyone, right? THE ULTIMATE WEEKEND GETAWAY MOVIE. May it forever be streaming somewhere close to me.
- GAMBIT (available on Instant Netflix) – Colin Firth and Cameron Diaz join forces in an almost-old-school art caper in a way that uses all of their respective strengths to a maximum. A perfect movie companion to an afternoon of wine spritzers with ice cream pops melting in them upside down. Fizzy.
- DIRTY ROTTEN SCOUNDRELS (available on Hulu Plus) – Michael Caine and Steve Martin are swindling the rich women of the Cote D’Azur for all they’ve got. Until, of course, they finally meet their match. The movie is gorgeous, well dressed, hilariously 80s and endlessly quotable. RUPERT! Also, a perfect to dessert after watching The Trip To Italy (which blessedly opens this weekend) after you appetite for Michael Caine has been whet just so with all those expert Rob Brydon/Steve Coogan impressions.
- VICKY CRISTINA BARCELONA (available on Amazon Prime) – from our original review: If there is a perfect summer movie this year, than that is “Vicky Cristina Barcelona”.
It feeds into all your hopes and dreams of what a vacation should be (if you were an obviously privileged, smart and beautiful young traveler): culture, good food, good wine, good conversations, sex with Penelope Cruz, sex with Javier Bardem… you know-EVERYTHING a vacation should be.
Without the pesky visa problems to boot.
- MY SUMMER OF LOVE (available on Instant Netflix but only through Sept 1st so…) – a very young Emily Blunt (Way before DEVIL WEARS PRADA) is a revelation in this coming of age story between two girls from very different sides of an English town. Lessons are learned, tans achieved and hearts broken.
- THE STATION AGENT (available on Instant Netflix, Amazon Prime) – Before Game of Thrones, Peter Dinklage made his way into the hearts and minds of the select audiences in this quiet, meditative film about friendship, second chances and yes, train watching. Patricia Clarkson and Bobby Canavale join in as the other two semi-lost souls in a tiny town in Jersey who help each other find a little more purpose during the dog days of one perfectly melancholic summer. Bonus: a super young, super vulnerable Michelle Williams, starting to carve out a heartbreaking niche for herself.
- FROM HERE TO ETERNITY (available on Instant Netflix) – one of the most iconic kisses ever committed to the big screen is between Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr (see below) and it happens on a beach, at Pearl Harbor, as WWII is about to change everything and people still can’t help falling in and out of love, cheating and caring, lying and defying. Montgomery Clift, Frank Sinatra and Donna Reed round out the cast with Ernest Borgnine thrown in for good measure so it is not all perfect cheekbones and endless limbs on display.
- ON GOLDEN POND (available on Instant Netflix) – In Henry Fonda’s final film role (for which he won an Academy Award in ’82), he is joined by Katharine Hepburn (as his wife) and his real life daughter Jane Fonda (as their onscreen offspring) for one last summer on the lake as aging, relationships between parents and children and the fragility of emotional ties in general are set against the gorgeousness of Maine when it is warm. Every single second of it rings true.
- TAKE THIS WALTZ (available on Hulu Plus, Instant Netflix) – One of these days someone will declare Sarah Polley an (inter)national treasure but in the meantime do your bit by watching this almost perfect little movie about new things inevitably becoming old. As we said in our original review: it is the equivalent of a perfectly crafted summer cocktail in a bar you’ve been wishing to discover: a place that is not too loud, not too flashy, not too anything. It is just right for a lazy afternoon of lingering about.
- SOMEWHERE (available on Instant Netflix) – An actor father and his not-quite-yet-a-young-adult daughter spend some time together in Chateu Marmont, and help each other find some things they lost between them along the way. Sofia Coppola’s probably least heralded movie is maybe my favorite – all subtle cinematic winks and feelings that ring truer than most. A quiet masterpiece definitely worth rivisiting.
- CAIRO TIME (available on Instant Netflix) – The always regal and amazing Patricia Clarkson spends a day with her husband’s collegue doing not much more than walking and talking around Cairo, and a love story that neither of them anticipated develops. Sort of a more mature Before Sunset, Cairo Time takes its limited time seriously, making each moment really count.
- THE GREAT BEAUTY (available on Hulu Plus) – this Best Foreign Language film winner about an aging journalist and beauty lover Jepe surrounding the events of his sixtieth birthday is probably one of my favorite visual feasts of the last few years. Rome, in it, sparkles like the finest of gems and the opening party sequence will make you want to drop whatever you’re doing, find the nearest rooftop and just DANCE the end of summer AWAY.
- STEALING BEAUTY (available on Instant Netflix) – Liv Tyler’s greatest role is STILL this Bertolucci coming-of-age-in-Tuscany story where her Lucy is on all sorts of quests: to find about her Mother, to lose her virginity, to maybe meet her Father, and yes, swim, eat, drink, and cavort around Italian castles with the likes of Jeremy Irons and Jason Fleming, while Portishead and Liz Phair and Stevie Wonder play in thebackground (seriously, get the soundtrack too). Being 18 is never ACTUALLY like this but it is nice to imagine it is.
- LIMITS OF CONTROL (available on Instant Netflix) – Jarmusch’s not-a-lot-seen 2009 quiet gem about sit down encounters between a well dressed assassin and his contacts, Limits of Control is not necessarily a summer film, but it has a summer pace. Plus, gorgeous foreign museums, other exotic locales, Tilda Swinton, Bill Murray, Gael Garcia Bernal… you’d go on this vacation, right?
- HEARTBEATS (available on Instant Netflix) – Xavier Dolan’s HEARTBEATS caused a minor sensation when it came out this past winter because the 21 year old actor, writer and director was obviously a cinematic force to behold. The movie, which is kind of a post-adolescent “Jules and Jim” combined with a more hipstery, western world “In the Mood for Love” moves like a dream before your eyes. The story is simple, 2 friends (a boy and a girl) fall in love with the same person (a boy) and compete for his affections in the kind of a daze only young French love can create. BONUS: Dolan uses music in the most grand ways to add flourish and gravitas to this slight tale with Wagner, Fever Ray and the Knife oozing from the screen at all times but it is Dalida’s version of “BANG BANG” that owns the movie.
- BLACK ROCK (available on Instant Netflix, Amazon Prime) – Three friends (played by a cheekbone orgy ready Katie Aselton, Lake Bell and Kate Bosworth) set out to spend a weekend reconnecting on an island they think is all theirs for the next few days. Of course, they’re anything but alone and of course, things go horribly awry. Think of it as Deliverance crossed with River Wild, with some perfectly tousled hair tossed in.
- TALENTED MR. RIPLEY (available on Instant Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu Plus) & PURPLE NOON (available on Hulu Plus) – These two adaptations of Patricia Highsmith’s classic feature two of the most attractive casts ever committed to screen (the golden blondeness of the Damon/Law/Paltrow trifecta is matched by the turquoise eyes of Alain Delon and Marie Laforete’s technicolor perfected tawniness), entangled in some truly sinister plot points all the while frolicking around some of the most attractive locations ever committed to screen.
- PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK (available on Hulu Plus) – Peter Weir broke through with this 1975 classic thriller about a group of girls and their teacher who go missing during a school outing on St. Valentine’s day in year 1900. Almost forty years later, this film is still brought up as one of the masterpieces of atmosphere and cinematography, all golden tones and gauziness, masking sexual hysteria, repression, teenage power plays and a few things in between. Read the book too.
- STRANGER BY THE LAKE (available on Instant Netflix, Amazon Prime) – from our original review: full of explicit sexual content between men, yet the film is not art house pornography. All the sex has a purpose: the consequences of lust interest writer/director Alain Guiraudie, whose idea of human behavior mirrors Hitchcock. The sex scenes are sensual precisely because of the danger involved. One man is a murderer and the other knows it, which adds a dimension to the sex that’s erotic and sinister. Once Michel pushes away and Franck gets increasingly affectionate, the suspense only deepens (there are echoes of Strangers on a Train here, obviously, as well as Rope). While the initial flashes of nudity are a little shocking, the steady style – full of lengthy static shots – has a way of making this world familiar, even comfortable. With heightened sound design, the lack of music only adds to the immersion.
your picks in the comments. naturally. #teamwork.