The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

Write for Us
Want your voice to be heard? Submit a letter to the editor, send us an op-ed pitch or check out our open positions for the chance to be published by the Daily Utah Chronicle.
Print Issues
Write for Us
Want your voice to be heard? Submit a letter to the editor, send us an op-ed pitch or check out our open positions for the chance to be published by the Daily Utah Chronicle.

Chill Out With These Essential Summer Movies

Bring the season into your living room with these six essential summer movies.
Mary Allen
(Design by Mary Allen | The Daily Utah Chronicle)


As summer rapidly approaches, so does the need for ice cream-stocked freezers, high-powered cooling fans and entertainment for those 95-degree days when you can’t bear to step outside. For the latter, spending time indoors when the sun is out can feel wrong. To relieve that guilt, you can bring the season into your living room with these six essential summer movies.

Do the Right Thing (1989)

This Spike Lee masterpiece is the film epitome of those sweltering summer days when the sun itself seems hateful. Set on the hottest day of the year on a street in Brooklyn, a small but vibrant community sees tensions rise as opinions and people clash. From children playing in the water of a busted fire hydrant to old men lounging in lawn chairs, the movie encapsulates trying to “beat the heat.” With every character drowning in sweat as conflict intensifies, we understand and relate to the anger depicted. “Do the Right Thing” asks you to remember those summer days when you just had to survive. 

Mamma Mia (2008)

This iconic musical takes viewers on vacation to the stunning Greek islands, telling a charming yet twisty love story scored by the music of ABBA. In the movie, Donna prepares for her daughter’s wedding, unaware three lovers from her past have been invited to the ceremony. The film reminds viewers of those hot summer flings that can’t help but be remembered with passion. The astonishing setting will have you checking cheap flights to Greece while memorizing the lyrics to “Dancing Queen” for your next karaoke night. “Mamma Mia” is a realization of that summer you can only dream is in the near future.

Stand by Me (1986)

Everyone has their favorite coming of age movie but this classic 80s flick captures that one life-changing summer like no other. Equal parts hilarious and emotional, the film follows a group of pre-teen friends as they set out to find a dead body and collect a cash reward. Every person has that time when they’re old enough to be independent but still young enough to be frightened by the real world. As these children adventure through the woods, we see them struggle to balance this, trying to enjoy their last summer together while their future responsibilities loom. “Stand by Me” represents the summer when you laughed, screamed, cried and played with the friends you were sure would be by your side forever.

Midsommar (2019)

Despite opening on a snowy, dark evening this recent but already iconic horror film proves that some of the scariest scenarios possible can happen in the middle of a bright, sunny day. A grief-stricken woman named Danni joins her boyfriend on a trip to visit a small, rural town in Sweden for their midsummer festival. They soon discover that the community holds sinister secrets as gruesome events begin to occur. Although it may disturb some viewers, the movie undeniably captures the beauty of summer. The colors of the grass, trees, flowers and sky pop, creating a sickening contrast with the violent subject matter. “Midsommar” will leave you escaping into the nature of the world even if it’s at the price of joining a cult. 

Wet Hot American Summer (2001)

The summer camp sub-genre of comedies has been around since 1979’s “Meatballs” but came to its height when a bunch of grown adults decided it would be funny to play a bunch of teenage camp counselors. Flipping all the tropes of the genre on its head, the film consistently subverts expectations in the funniest ways while retaining the charm of the summer camp setting. The film’s cheapness and commitment to absurd bits recall those summer nights when getting together with friends for a laugh was all that mattered. Even when the joke is unquestionably stupid, like the counselor’s trip to get beer becoming a “Requiem for a Dream” parody, you can’t help but giggle. “Wet Hot American Summer” knows that when it’s summer, nothing matters except having a good time.

Dazed and Confused (1993)

Arguably the ultimate summer movie, this film perfectly represents the freedom summer brings. On the last day of school, Wiley Wiggins goes through a wild night of drugs, sex and rock and roll as he takes his first steps into high school life. Labeled as a “hangout movie,” the flick doesn’t anchor itself to a straightforward narrative, instead choosing to drift through a summer night that never seems to end. Its colorful cast brings a sense of realism to the film, each character carrying a lifetime of stories even if only being on screen for mere moments. The slight breeze of a warm evening flows through the screen, all five senses activated by the images captured. “Dazed and Confused” recognizes summer as a transition period when, for better or worse, the future is unknown and time seems to disappear.


[email protected]


View Comments (1)
About the Contributors
Graham Jones
Graham Jones, Assistant Arts Editor
Graham Jones was born and raised in Portland, Oregon and moved to Utah to study film. Despite his passion for cinema, Graham joined the Chronicle to engage with the University of Utah community and pursue his love for journalism. Outside of the student media office, Graham can be found buried deep into the pages of a graphic novel or lip-syncing to the greatest hits of the 60s, 70s and 80s.
Mary Allen
Mary Allen, Design Director
(she/her) Born and raised in Salt Lake City, Mary is thrilled to be here at the University of Utah studying graphic design. She feels very lucky to get to rub shoulders with the talented people that make up the team here at the Chronicle and is learning a lot from them every day. Other than making things look cute, Mary’s passions include music, pickleball, Diet Coke, wildlife protection, and the Boston Red Sox.

Comments (1)

The Daily Utah Chronicle welcomes comments from our community. However, the Daily Utah Chronicle reserves the right to accept or deny user comments. A comment may be denied or removed if any of its content meets one or more of the following criteria: obscenity, profanity, racism, sexism, or hateful content; threats or encouragement of violent or illegal behavior; excessively long, off-topic or repetitive content; the use of threatening language or personal attacks against Chronicle members; posts violating copyright or trademark law; and advertisement or promotion of products, services, entities or individuals. Users who habitually post comments that must be removed may be blocked from commenting. In the case of duplicate or near-identical comments by the same user, only the first submission will be accepted. This includes comments posted across multiple articles. You can read more about our comment policy here.
All The Daily Utah Chronicle Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • J

    Jimmy BuccinoMay 18, 2024 at 9:13 pm

    Wow, I can’t believe this “summer-film” compendium.