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Friday, May 17, 2013

Off to Summer Camp

Written by Kyle Slagley

Ask any student (or teacher for that matter) and you will be told that summer is the best season of the year. We all know this. Sure, there are things like warm weather, vacations, no school, pool parties, and mowing the lawn every other day to look forward to, but when I was a kid, summer meant one thing: camp.

Yes sir, who needs pool parties when you can go live in an Army tent circa 1949, use bug spray as perfume, and swim in a lake that may or may not be home to the Loch Ness Monster of North America? I know, I know…I was always a little weird.

Fortunately, there are plenty of films to get your patrons jazzed up about their ventures into the wilderness this summer!

Let’s start off with two classics: Camp Nowhere and Meatballs. In Camp Nowhere, the campers decide to swindle their parents with the help of an unemployed teacher and create a “camp” that pretty much lets them run amok all summer. In Meatballs, my personal favorite, Bill Murray plays the camp counselor who makes sure campers and staffers alike are having a summer they won’t soon forget.

Perhaps even more classic than those two is The Parent Trap. Unfortunately, the original 1961 version with Hayley Mills is no longer available, but we do carry the 1998 version with Lindsay Lohan – which, despite all the negative press surrounding Lindsay right now, is a pretty good remake. If you also happen to have it on the shelves, the Olsen twins put out a revamped version of this film in 1995 titled It Takes Two.

Two more camp films that have been around for quite a while are Wet Hot American Summer and Heavyweights. Wet Hot American Summer takes place in the early ‘80s and focuses more on the antics of the counselors than the campers. With a killer comedy cast of Paul Rudd, Janeane Garofalo, Michael Ian Black, and Molly Shannon, the slapstick helps make up for the lack of plot. Heavyweights was Judd Apatow’s big-screen debut for both screenwriting and executive producing, and is generally an unsung gem. It features a group of overweight kids sent off to a vacation-like “fat camp,” only to find that Tony Perkis (Stiller) has taken over it and turned it into weight-loss bootcamp.

For a comedy alternative, try Indian Summer, a sentimental film in which a group of former campers reunite after twenty years when their beloved camp is closing down, only to find that they pick up right where they left off.

And finally, I would be completely remiss if I didn’t mention the ultimate summer camp horror film – Friday the 13th. After being closed for years, Camp Crystal Lake is being reopened under new management, but the infamous Jason Voorhees isn’t having it. Even the most dedicated counselors out there will second-guess returning to camp this summer after seeing this slasher mainstay.

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