Summer movie calendar


Design by Mya Cummins and Molly Gregory

Mya Cummins, Staffer

Gather up your friends and family or go solo to watch these need to see films for the ultimate summer mood!

1. Book Smart

Book Smart is one of my all time favorite movies, so of course it just had to be the kickstarter for this summer calendar. Oliva Wilder did an amazing job directing the movie, with some great shots and a highly visually pleasing appeal. The movie focuses on two overachieving seniors who realize on their last day of high school that they missed out on the classic high school experiences and are determined to make it all up on the night before graduation. This is a great way to dive into summer, not to mention the soundtrack is fantastic.

2. Candace Against the Universe 

Can you really get through summer vacation without watching at least one episode of Phineas and Ferb? Candace Against the Universe was just released last year and while the movie is targeted towards a younger audience, it’s still entertaining for all ages. Plus, a good alien abduction is always fun to watch.  

3. Mama Mia 

Mamma Mia is such a fun heartwarming jukebox musical. The island atmosphere and upbeat songs can get anyone in the summer mood.

4.  Mama Mia (Here We Go Again)

If you’re going to watch Mamma Mia, you simply have to follow it up with the sequel. This movie perfectly matches the energy of the first and you get to watch Meryl Streep two days in a row!

5. Call Me By Your Name

This movie is set in the summer of 1983 in western Italy ( you’re going to wish you were in Europe the entire movie). They do spend a little bit of the movie speaking in French and Italian, so be prepared to read a few captions. The movie is an adaptation of the book and focuses on the romance between 17 year old Elio and 24 year old university student Oliver. The only thing that could top the storyline is the superb acting.   

6. High School Musical 2

It’s safe to say most high schoolers have probably seen at least one High School Musical movie. The stellar sequel in this series takes place over summer break and introduces plenty of summer fun, comedy and sentimental friendship.  “What Time Is It” and “Fabulous” give off the best nostalgic summer vibes. 

7. The Kings of Summer

Three boys decide to run away from home one summer and build a house, living off the land and indulging wholeheartedly in their newfound freedom.  

8. Friday the 13th

Friday the 13th takes place at a summer camp. The camp reopens after having been closed down for many years due to a death, despite the locals claiming the place is haunted. The camp counselors arrive to start getting everything ready, but slowly start disappearing. This movie is a classic horror film filled with tons of jump scares and a good plot twist.  

9. Rio

I’m honestly not sure if the movie takes place during the summer, but it’s set in Rio de Janeiro, so close enough… you’ll still get that tropical summer feeling watching it. The movie has romance and comedy and is a great one to watch with your little siblings or when babysitting. Overall, the movie is very lighthearted and a good watch.

10. Adventureland

Kristen Stewart and Jesse Eisenberg star in Adventureland, which follows a student fresh out of college who is looking for a job. I’d recommend watching this if you plan on getting a summer job, however, I will say it does glorify the job a bit. 

11. Camp Rock 

Demi Lovato and the Jonas Brothers star in a film all about a musical summer camp, which just screams ideal summer movie. Just like High School Musical, this movie will recall the nostalgia of  turning on Disney channel during a lazy summer day in elementary school. Not to mention, if you’re a huge fan of Camp Rock, you might as well make it a marathon and watch the second movie as well. 

12. Miss Juneteenth

 A former pageant queen and local celebrity wants her daughter to join the Miss Juneteenth pageant. The movie captures the mother-daughter relationship perfectly and is a great drama to watch on the calendar.

13. Parent Trap 

The Parent Trap is a great summer classic and is one of those movies where it doesn’t matter how much you’ve watched it, it never gets old. The movie follows two girls who discover they’re twins after attending a summer camp together and then switch lives to meet each other’s parents. The movie is heartwarming and a comedic watch. 

14. Dazed and Confused 

Dazed and Confused follows a group of teenagers on their last day of high school. The teens celebrate through partying, hanging out and discussing their future life plans and what they want to do with them. This is definitely a quality coming of age film. 

15. Dirty Dancing 

Dirty Dancing is a classic romance movie with a great soundtrack and (shockingly) tons of dancing. Baby, the main character, spends her summer vacation at a resort with her parents. She soon meets a dance instructor and they become dance partners for the end of the summer dance.

16. Jaws

I wouldn’t recommend this movie if you’re planning a beach vacation. Jaws is filled with horror and adventure, making it the ultimate thriller. The movie takes place on the coast of Main, where a girl gets killed in a shark attack. The sheriff suggests the beach close, but the town doesn’t want to lose tourism. Instead, a group is sent out to find and kill the gigantic, vicious shark.

17. The Notebook

It might be a little bit of a stretch to consider this a “summer movie” but the beginning takes place during summer vacation, so I’m counting it. The Notebook is a true tearjerker. It follows a love story between a rich girl and a mill worker with a small town vibe to it all. The plot is captivating and original for a romance story.

18. Sisterhood and the Traveling Pants

This movie follows a group of four best friends who spend the summer away from each other. However, throughout the summer they exchange a pair of pants that seem to fit all of them perfectly. This summer movie is a good one to watch with your friends.

19. Lilo & Stitch

This Disney movie is set in Hawaii, where a young girl decides to adopt a dog from a local pound. The movie takes a turn when the dog turns out to be an alien. Lilo & Stitch is filled with laughs and an aura of family love. 

20. What a Girl Wants

What a Girl Wants is a rom-com set in England. Daphne travels to England to find her long lost father, who ends up being a lord. Daphne is then welcomed by her father, but finds it difficult to fit in with the rest of her new family. 

21. Weekend at Bernie’s 

This summer comedy is based around two salesmen, Richard and Larry, who are invited to their boss Bernie’s beach house for vacation. However, Bernie has actually planned to have them killed because they’ve been committing fraud. The plan goes wrong and instead Bernie is the one who ends up dead; but, Richard and Larry don’t want to go home without enjoying their vacation first…you’ll seriously be laughing throughout the whole movie.

22. Palm Springs

If you’re a fan of Groundhog Day or Happy Death Day, you’ll enjoy this movie, as they all have a similar time loop concept. This summer rom-com stars Andy Samberg and Cristin Milioti, who capture the characters quite well. They’ll have you cracking up the whole time. 

23. Westside Story

This movie is set in the upper west side of New York City during summertime. I think we’re all pretty familiar with the Romeo and Juliet trope, which this movie  captures perfectly. It has music, cool dances and romance. The movie is a classic that you can’t go without seeing at least once. 

24. Lala Land

Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling play two actors in a musical who’re trying to make it big in Hollywood. The movie captures the struggle of chasing your dream and the difficulties of young romances. You’ll find yourself singing along to the songs and probably crying by the end.

25. Mid90s 

Mid90s was produced by A24 and is set in the summer of the mid-90s (surprisingly) in Los Angeles. A 13 year old kid finds himself in a new friend group of skaters. The movie addresses some pretty big issues like class, race and privilege, delving deep into the complexities of these concepts. 

26. E.T.

A young boy befriends an alien stranded on Earth during his summer vacation, making for a unique and exciting scenario. This movie is best for its heartwarming qualities and as a great family movie. 

27. Stand By Me

Stand By Me is set in the summer of the 60s in Oregon. A group of boys go off and attempt to find the body of a younger boy who was accidentally killed. It’s action packed and another great coming of age watch.

28. 500 Days of Summer

Technically, this movie isn’t set during summer, but one of the main characters’ names is Summer, so I’m including it on the calendar for kicks. 500 Days of Summer isn’t your average rom-com and helps you see that there are two sides to every story. It looks at the relationship between a guy that’s in love with the idea of love and a girl who doesn’t believe in true love. 

29. Teen Beach Movie

Yes, another nostalgic Disney musical for the win! Teen Beach Movie stars Maia Mitchell and Ross Lynch, who play two teens that get stuck in a 50s beach movie and have to find a way out. The movie is a little cheesy but has a sweet ending, not to mention some more iconic Disney songs. 

30. Princess and the Frog

This animated Disney film is set in New Orleans during the summer of 1920. Tiana is a hardworking girl who’s trying to save big and achieve her dream of opening up her very own restaurant. However, things go a little to the wayside when she tries to kiss a frog to turn him back into a prince.  Personally, I believe it’s one of the best Disney movies out there and has more amazing songs and amazing comedic value. This is a perfect way to round off your summer movie list.