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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Five Best: Camp Movies

courtesy of

Well, summer is here, which means it's time to send all the kids off to camp. Thanks to Sara and Anne for the idea to go comping in this week's entry. So, this week we're looking at the five best movies that take place at a camp. We aren't talking about "camping" - setting up a tent on your own or whatever. These are organized camps that groups of kids or families go and meet people they either don't know or rarely see. So, here they are in chronological order.

Scene from "Meatballs" courtesy of

Meatballs (1979)

One of the early successful raunchy comedies, Bill Murray is the camp counselor Tipper, who pulls pranks, hits on young ladies, and leads his rundown camp as they battle against the "rich kids camp." It's not a perfect film by any means, but it was the first step in Murray's comedic film career. I almost feel like it should be included for the trail it blazed with the great comedian's subsequent filmography.

Christy MacNichol in "Little Darlings" courtesy of

Little Darlings (1980)

We are always overrun with movies about teenage boys who want to lose their virginity early. Well, the ladies think about it, too, in this 1980 coming-of-age comedy that is surprisingly affecting. Tatum O'Neal and Kristy MacNichol are fifteen year old girls at camp from different backgrounds, betting each other who can lose her virginity first. In addition to Matt Dillon, it also features an early performance from "Sex and the City's" Cynthia Nixon.

Adrienne King in "Friday the 13th" courtesy of

Friday the 13th (1980)

The first of the long drawn out series, Friday the 13th takes place at Camp Crystal Lake, where counselors like to sneak off and have sex. And, just as you'd expect, only the virgins survive. We all forget that, though Jason was the ongoing murderer in the series, he wasn't actually the antagonist in the first. The only well-crafted, truly terrifying entry in the series, the endng is still one of the most insane and unexpected things you'll ever see.

Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze in "Dirty Dancing" courtesy of

Dirty Dancing (1987)

It's cheesy and overdramatic, but I have to give credit where it's due. At a holiday camp in the Catskills with her family for the summer, Baby Houseman (Jennifer Grey) is a spoiler, privilidges girl, expected to follow in her parents' footsteps. But, just as you'd expect, she falls in love with a low-class boy - the camp's dance instructor Johnny (Patrick Swayze). Sure enough, Daddy (Jerry Orbach) finds out and forbids the love. You know the story from there. A modern classic, it will always serve as Swayze's legacy.

Bradley Cooper and Amy Poehler in "Wet Hot American Summer" courtesy of

Wet Hot American Summer (2001)

My summer camps were never this fun. An incredibly talented cast including Janeane Garofalo, David Hyde Pierce, Michael Showalter, Michael Ian Black, Paul Rudd, Christopher Meloni, Molly Shannon, Amy Poehler, and a young Bradley Cooper highlights this hilarious story of Camp Firewood in 1981. Love triangles, misfits, rescues, satellites, and talking vegetable cans all intertwine to make it the best last day of camp ever on screen.

So, there we have it. Enjoy your summer!

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