Families taking summer vacations. Coming of age journeys before school starts. And graduates coming home after school ends. Summer's right around the corner and these movies have captured every emotion associated with the good old summertime. So here's KU's top 15 summer flicks.

15. The Beach


From director, Danny Boyle, (Trainspotting, Slumdog Millionaire) comes a story of what appears to be the perfect vacation in a lush paradise where the drugs come free and the good times never end. But everything has price, the question is, how much will you pay?

14. Heavy Weights


Before Ben Stiller was a Focker, and before Globo Gym, he was Tony Perkis, the health obsessed sociopath who has recently taken over the posh fat camp, "Camp Hope", and turned it into a living hell for campers. But they have more up their sleeve than Tony can imagine. From writer, Judd Apatow, this fun flick is always a favorite for summer sleepovers.

13. I Know What You Did Last Summer


It's always fun to crawl into a dark, air conditioned room on a rainy summer day and pop in a fun horror movie, and what could be a better choice than one with the season in the title. This 90's slahser flick has everything you could want. Mystery, mayhem, murder, and lots of shots of Jennifer Love Hewitt's cleavage. Two bloody thumbs up.

12. The Sandlot


No movie encompasses adolescent boyhood summers  more than The Sandlot. From making new friends, to playing baseball in the dirt diamond, to treehouse sleepovers, scary stories of monster dogs, to having a crush on the local lifeguard, this movie has it all and always brings with it a nostalgic reminder of what it's like to be a kid. It's a summer favorite, and for good reason.

11. The Way, Way Back


Shy 14-year-old Duncan goes on summer vacation with his mother, her overbearing boyfriend, and her boyfriend's daughter. Having a rough time fitting in, Duncan finds an unexpected friend in Owen, manager of the Water Wizz water park.

10. Woodstock


If you've never seen the documentary of the infamous Woodstock concert, then this summer is your chance. It's an almost hypnotic view into the craziness that was Woodstock. You couldn't ask for a better soundtrack as you get a front row view of the performers, and the bonus is, you get it from the comfort of your own couch without the fear of dropping the brown acid.

9. Friday the 13th


Someone is killing off half naked, adolescent camp counselors. Could it be Jason, the boy who needlessly drowned at Camp Crystal Lake years earlier seeking his revenge? Hide beneath your blanket during this summer thunderstorm slasher. Did I mention it had Kevin Bacon?

8. The Endless Summer


The crown jewel to ten years of Bruce Brown surfing documentaries. Brown follows two young surfers around the world in search of the perfect wave, and ends up finding quite a few in addition to some colorful local characters. It's a rare film that doesn't seem to age poorly with time, but rather gives the viewer an even stronger urge to roam and explore in search of the endless summer. A summer classic.

7. National Lampoon's Vacation


The Griswold family's cross-country drive to the Walley World theme park proves to be much more arduous than they ever anticipated.

6. Wet Hot American Summer


This is a special kind of movie, that when informed someone hasn't seen, I immediately berate them, after which I make them watch it. This movie, following a group of camp counselors, was the beginning of many, now famous, hollywood actors, including Bradley Cooper, Elizabeth Banks, Amy Poehler, Paul Rudd, and Molly Shannon. Add in a few veterans, Janeane Garofalo, David Hyde Pierce, and Christopher Meloni, and let Michael Ian Black and David Showalter run the whole thing and you've got a pretty special piece of cinema that anyone who ever spent time at a summer camp can relate to.

5. American Graffiti


Before George Lucas made Star Wars, and before anyone knew who John Hughes was, Lucas gave us the quintessential  American teen romp. A story of A couple of high school grads spending one final night cruising the strip with their buddies before they go off to college. American Graffiti is a special kind of film that has hit a cord with every new generation introduced to it. It's another film ringing with nostalgic memories of roaming around on hot summer nights with your best friends and not having a care in the world.

4. Independence Day


The aliens are coming and their goal is to invade and destroy. Fighting superior technology, Man's best weapon is the will to survive.... and Will Smith. With an all star cast, and a highly entertaining story line, this special kind of action/adventure/sci-fi flick is sure to please all the senses.

3. Dazed and Confused


Dazed and Confused has often been targeted as a rip-off of American Graffiti, but it's not. Sure, it was inspired by Graffiti, but Dazed has a life of it's own, and tends to spread some of the same messages, but in it's very own, and unique way (mostly through smoking pot). But it's a great end of the school year/beginning of summer watch, and as the movie itself states, "See it with a Bud". Which is a statement with layers people.

2. Stand By Me


One of the most beloved films of the past 30 years, Stand By Me, is about friendship. It's about loyalty. It's about commitment, adventure, and angst and growing up. It's about being a boy of the summer. I know there are a few films on this list that revolve around boys and summer, but summer was made for boys, and this movie, above all others, encapsulates and nourishes that idea to it's full potential.  A must watch summer flick.

1. Jaws


The first, and arguably the biggest Summer Blockbuster of all time, Steven Spielberg's Jaws. When a gigantic great white shark begins to menace the small island community of Amity, a police chief, a marine scientist and grizzled fisherman set out to stop it. This movie changed my life in many ways during the summer of 1996 (I was six), and all for the better. There isn't a movie that fits the summer criteria for a movie more than this one.

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