Summer camp on the silver screen | April 19, 2013 | Pleasanton Weekly | |

Pleasanton Weekly

- April 19, 2013

Summer camp on the silver screen

Movies to enjoy for the camp experience, with or without the kids

by Jessica Lipsky

For most kids, summertime means three months of glorious freedom, chock full of sleeping in and running amok. For others, the end of the school year signals the time to pack their bags and ship out to any number of local and far away summer camps.

If you're like me and never went to sleep away camp, or you're headed there for the first time, check out these summer camp classics guaranteed to give you a taste of the summer fun to come (or at least the fun we wish we had):

The Parent Trap (1961, 1998)

This tale of twin-meets-twin is a family favorite. Twin sisters -- played by Haley Mills in the original version and Lindsay Lohan in the 1998 remake -- meet for the first time at camp and after a series of camp capers, scheme to reunite their divorced parents.

Camp (2003)

A rare summer camp musical/dramady for teens and older. After a series of Broadway flops, a songwriter goes to work at a musical camp for young performers. Misfits and outcasts at home, the campers live it up and sing it loud all summer long.

Heavyweights (1995)

My personal favorite camp movie. Gerry's parents send him to an upscale camp for chubby teens, much to his consternation. Upon arriving, Gerry and his friends find out that the camp's loveable owners have gone bankrupt and sold the camp to a crazy ex-fitness instructor played by Ben Stiller.

Little Darlings (1980)

Tatum O'Neal and Kristy McNicol play 15-year-old bunk mates at sleep-away camp. Under pressure from other girls, the two polar opposites enter into an interesting bet.

Meatballs (1979)

Starring Bill Murray as a zany counselor at Camp North Star who tries to help his campers have a good time and even better hijinks. The main plot centers around shy Rudy, who Murray takes under his wacky wing.

Space Camp (1986)

Four teenagers and a 12-year-old boy go to space camp for three weeks during the summer to learn about the NASA space program and mimic astronaut training. But the shuttle is launched early and is not ready for flight; it has no long range radio, is critically low on oxygen, and does not have enough air to last to the re-entry window at Edwards Air Force Base. The campers have to figure out how to get back home alive.

Wet Hot American Summer (2001)

Set on the last day at Camp Firewood in 1981, campers and counselors attempt to wrap up a summer's worth of unfinished business in this raunchy, tongue-in-cheek comedy. All issues are, of course, resolved at the big talent show. Starring Paul Rudd, Janeane Garofalo, Bradley Cooper and Elizabeth Banks.

Moonrise Kingdom (2012)

For those dreading summer camp, take a lesson from this Oscar-nominated film by Wes Anderson. Young lovers flee their small town and Scout summer camp for a chance at romance while the rest of the town mobilizes a search party.

Some of these are not for children, of course, but they would make for great viewing while the kids are away -- at camp.


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