It’s the dog days of August here in L.A., and I thought it might be fun to share some of my favorite summer flicks—the ones set in or somehow about the sunny season. Like my St. Patrick’s Day compilation, this only reflects my personal preferences, not the Best Summer Movies Ever. As a bonus, I’ve included each film’s Save the Cat! genre classification.
The ‘Burbs (1989)
Genre: Whydunit (“Personal Whydunit”)
It didn’t get a particularly warm critical or box-office reception upon initial release, but time has bestowed much-deserved cult status upon Joe Dante’s stylish, quotable horror-comedy, starring Tom Hanks, Bruce Dern, and Carrie Fisher. Hanks is a Middle American suburbanite who begins to suspect, over the Memorial Day holiday, that the peculiar new neighbors on the block may in fact be satanic murderers. Dante managed quite a tonal balancing act here in a movie that’s aged remarkably well, and the chemistry and comedic interplay among the cast is aces. It’s the perfect movie to cozy up to with “a couple hundred beers” when, like Hanks’ hapless protagonist, you’ve opted for a holiday-weekend staycation. The ‘Burbs is in some respects about the trouble we get into when we have too much free time on our hands—one of three movies on this list to tackle that subject, and all, oddly enough, co-starring Corey Feldman.