Blog posts with the tag: "films"

Don’t get me wrong, English summertime is beautiful; meadows, beaches, picnics, beer gardens, music festivals, but oh the weather can be a little unpredictable. The past few weeks have been glorious here in the deeply pleasant countryside, but just when you have plans for the weekend, the weather forecast of high temperatures and cloudless skies turns into a big fat lie when you find yourself running from a downpour in highly inappropriate clothes. This happened last weekend when a plan to visit some cute animals at a farm were scuppered by lousy weather, and we were instead forced to go and see Jurassic World at possibly the tiniest cinema I have ever visited.


So, if your plans are ruined by unfavourable weather, fear not. Have an indoor picnic, select some summer films and let the silver screen sunshine provide some much-needed escapism. And because I’m helpful, here are my suggestions for 21 great summer movies!


1. Jaws



This is probably an obvious one and  crops up in most ‘best summer film’ lists, but with good reason. Released in June 1975, Jaws was one of the first ‘summer blockbusters’ and also the reason why I can’t have a relaxing swim in the sea. Watch as the beachgoers on Amity Island are hunted by a very hungry Great White. And if you want more, watch Jaws 2 and Jaws 3-D as well. But not Jaws 4 AKA Jaws: The Revenge, because it’s just terrible.


2. Grease




Another classic, Grease was one of my favourites as a child. Danny and Sandy meet over the summer, and then because this was in the days before social media and texting, he gets quite the surprise when Sandy starts at his high school. Funny, catchy songs and a flying car, what more could you want? Oh and I’m aiming to recreate Frenchy’s amazing bubblegum pink hair this weekend. Grease 2 is also still my guilty pleasure. Is that wrong?


3. Stealing Beauty



Where do I start with this film? It takes me back to being a teenager, when I first fell in love hard with this movie, and I completely related to Lucy’s poetic, innocent and romantic way of seeing the world (and her rocking out to Hole in her bedroom). The Tuscan scenery is sublime, Liv Tyler is gorgeous and the soundtrack is eclectic and wonderful. I probably watch this every summer, while drinking a glass of Montepulciano and dreaming of firefly sparkling Tuscan nights.


4. Vicky Cristina Barcelona




This is the second, and by no means the last of sumptuous, erotic European summer films. Javier Bardem might not be an obvious choice for the romantic lead, given some of his later villainous roles, but here he smoulders, as the object of affection for Scarlett Johansson, Rebecca Hall and Penelope Cruz. This is all sultry heat and Spanish guitars.


5. I Know What You Did Last Summer




Another one from my teenage years, when I was obsessing over Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Party of Five. This came out after Scream, and alongside that, is one of the better of the slew of teenage slasher films that were released in the late nineties/early noughties. It also led me to read Jan Harold Brunvard’s book Too Good to be True: The Colossal Book of Urban Legends, which, if you like scary stories, is great for reading with a torch held under your chin.


6. My Summer of Love



Intense and beautiful, this film is set in Yorkshire and follows tomboy Mona as she befriends privileged Tamsin and sparks fly between them. But love never runs smoothly, and everything stands in their way.


7. Roman Holiday



Charming and bittersweet, this film was Audrey Hepburn’s first leading role and it won her an Oscar. I find her a delight to watch as the escaped princess, and Gregory Peck is quite a dish as the journalist who finds her, and falls for her.


8. Swimming Pool



Now a visit to France, where Crime author Sarah (Charlotte Rampling) is staying in her publisher’s villa. Her cold, frigid personality clashes with Julie’s, the carefree daughter of said publisher, who arrives unannounced. Things get stranger and stranger and you’ll be left wondering what really happened.


9. Dirty Dancing



Yep, another one from my childhood, although I had to sneakily watch this at a friend’s house when I was seven as my mum wouldn’t let me watch 15 certificate films (sorry mum!). At that age, I really had no idea what had happened to Penny, or why Robbie was such a dick, but I did and still do love the dancing and the music in this film.


10. Before Sunrise



A very 90s film, but that’s probably why I love it so much. American tourist Ethan Hawke persuades Julie Delpy to leave the train and explore Vienna together. Their chemistry is wonderful, but the best thing about this film is the witty intelligent conversations and frankness they share. My favourite of the trilogy.


11. Y tu mamá también



Sexy Mexican ménage à trois road movie not to watch with your parents!


12…. And God Created Woman



Oh I don’t see the point of dubbed films. You can’t hear the original language so I apologise that this trailer dubs Brigitte Bardot’s wonderful French voice. This was the film that made her a star, and as Juliete, she is at her pouting best as the sensual bad girl caught between two brothers.


13. The Virgin Suicides



Maybe not a typical summer movie, but this film has that dreamy, seductive quality which I associate with summer. Based on the novel by Jeffrey Eugenides, this was Sofia Coppola’s directorial debut about the five Lisbon sisters, their overbearing parents and the neighbourhood boys fascinated with them.


14. Point Break



“One hundred percent pure adrenalin”. Keanu Reeves. Patrick Swayze. Surfing. Stick to the original – the remake is coming out soon.


15. Adventureland



When I was a teen, I spent a lot of time hanging out at my local theme park, riding the coasters, drinking slushies and checking out the guys. I thought it would be pretty sweet to work there, but after seeing this film, maybe not (unless Ryan Reynolds worked there too, but that’s highly unlikely).


16. (500) Days of Summer




Funny, quirky, clever and anti-romance? Love Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel. Love the soundtrack. Love, love, love.


17. Stand By Me



I had to include a film based on a Stephen King story. There is just something about the summer which makes me think of reading Stephen King.


18. Priceless



A French romantic comedy basically about high-class escorts. C’est bon!


19. Now and Then



This seriously brings back memories. Four women reminisce about the summer of 1970 when they were all twelve years old and on the cusp of womanhood. I haven’t seen this film in years and seriously need to see it again. I remember I had this book of interviews with young actresses and Christina Ricci saying she was mad that she had to grow up. I can relate; being a kid was awesome.


20. How to Make an American Quilt



Ok, I admit it, after watching the trailer for Now and Then, I was reminded of How to Make an American Quilt. Apart from the fact that I practically worshipped Winona Ryder in my younger years, I also really loved those sweeping 90s films with complicated love plots and awkward protagonists. I’d like to sneak Inventing the Abbotts and What’s Eating Gilbert Grape into that category too. So good. Plus this film makes me glad that I’m writing my thesis on a computer which I can back up, unlike poor Winona, whose months of work gets ruined by a gust of wind.


21. The Lost Boys



I think I could find a way of getting this film in every one of my favourites film lists. It is just 80s perfection. Mulleted vampire biker dudes, Jason Patric looking all Jim Morrison, all of Star’s awesome boho outfits and that soundtrack (excluding the creepy fairground song, which conjures up disturbing images of clowns in my mind). Even the gyrating, greasy saxophone dude is a legend.


What’s your favourite summer movie?



Ok, so not all of these films are magical as such, but there is something about them, something that the mystical beauty of the Emerald Isle brings that makes them special. They are not high brow or political, but they are charming.


My great-granny was an Irish lass, and although I never met her, I do have a great love for Ireland perhaps because I know it is in my heritage. From the stories penned by the great Irish writers, the folklore, the heart-warming food, great craic and the music; my memories of holidays throughout the country fill me with cherished memories.


So, here are my favourite Irish films. Meanwhile I’m going to try and find some colcannon to eat. Yum.


The Secret Of Roan Inish



A beautiful family film about a little girl and a Selkie legend.





Yes, another Selkie film. I remember reading about selkies as a child and finding the legends both beautiful and sad.





The more well known of the bunch, especially since becoming a musical.


The Last of the High Kings





▶ Summer Fling (The Last of the High Kings) – Trailer – Film Dailymotion.


This was called Summer Fling in the States, which makes it sound like a teen rom-com, which I suppose in some ways it is, but it also a coming-of-age story with a great 70s soundtrack. Unfortunately the trailer doesn’t do it much justice either – you’ll just have to take my word.


Into the West



Another folklore type film, this time about a horse (if memory serves me right, the horse is referred to as a Kelpie in the film, but luckily not the drag you underwater and eat you type of Kelpie).


The Boys from County Clare



A comedy about a ceilidh band contest starring Colm Meaney and Andrea Corr.


High Spirits



Ahh. A classic, at least in my eyes. I used to watch this film a lot along with about five other stock 80s films which they had to rent in my local video shop. Also, the second Neil Jordan film on this list. I love most of his films.


Happy St Patrick’s Day!




Phew! What a week! I’ve pretty much been in hibernation finishing an essay, and keeping myself alert with americanos and strong smelling scented candles. Ah. With my uni work now submitted I can come up for air and thoroughly enjoy one of my favourite holidays – Halloween. As a child I was obsessed with Halloween. I used to decorate the house with every plastic, tacky decoration I could find; I’d drape fake cobwebs everywhere and even change the lightbulbs in my lounge for green and red ones. I can’t remember anyone else being as enthused as me, but then I did live in a rural village mostly populated by old people, who probably weren’t sure what all the fuss was about.


Fast forward to adulthood, and it still seems I get a bit more giddy about Halloween than most. However, now I am lucky to live near London and therefore have access to lots of cool Halloween events and have the added joy of seeing weird and wonderful costumed folk wandering the city (Chewbacca riding the tube? What’s not to love?). I’m really excited to see the outfits this year. Some people are seriously imaginative.


This year I have family visiting, which is always fun as it means I can revel in my Halloween joy with the kids. We are getting dressed up and hitting the town. I’ve totally left it to the last minute, so I’m mostly going to be focusing on spooky make-up and hair. I’m hoping to get a wig, because I love a good wig, even if they do get a bit hot and uncomfortable after a while.


If you don’t live near a city, or you’re not going to a party, then I thoroughly recommend the following films:


Trick ‘r Treat




Not a new film, in fact it was in limbo for a while before being released straight to DVD, but don’t let that put you off. This little gem is made up of interwoven spooky tales. It’s not terrifying, but it’s really fun, and it really does emulate the Halloween celebration in all its glory. It reminds me of those awesome shows I used to love as a kid, like Goosebumps and Are You Afraid of the Dark? but this is strictly adult fare. Also, and this is always a bonus for me, there are no terrible CGI effects, just good-old fashioned horror.


The Babadook



Ok, so I haven’t actually seen this one yet, so I probably shouldn’t be recommending, but what the hell. It looks amazing, it looks original, and the reviews are looking good.





This is still on at the cinemas in the UK if you haven’t caught it yet. Reviews haven’t been too kind, but I liked it. It wasn’t the kind of horror film that stays with you and ruins your sleep, but once again, it’s a fun movie. It does use lots of horror movie cliches, and I felt that it borrowed very heavily from Rosemary’s Baby, but it’s done well. The horror is subtle. An evil possessed doll could easily fall into comedy territory, and this film manages to keep it away from that. Also, if, like me, you think porcelain dolls look demonic then perfect. If they had used the original Raggedy Ann doll (the type of doll the ‘real’ Annabelle is), then I just couldn’t have taken it seriously at all.


Or you could just watch The Conjuring, which is scary.





John Carpenter’s Halloween is a classic, and like Trick ‘r Treat, it’s one of the few horror films to actually take part on Halloween night. Technically speaking, a man in a whited out William Shatner mask and a boiler suit following you about shouldn’t be scary. He doesn’t even run; he strolls after his victims. But Michael Myers is frightening. That slow dread as you see him get up when he should be dead, it’s awful.


Also if you love Scream, you need to watch this as one of the main films it references.


This has been remastered and released at cinemas for Halloween.





Yes this a kid’s film. But replacing your eyes WITH BUTTONS? Even Freud knew there was something seriously horrendous with eyeball gore. He likened it to castration. Just so you know.






Heather Blanchard

Welcome. Are you a writer, a bookworm, a daydreamer? Are you still clinging on to that magic that pervaded childhood? Pull up an armchair and get cosy. This blog is my dreamscape through an enchanted forest to a world of stories and the little things that make me happy; a chance to add a dash of sparkle to the daily grind. Here you will find the whimsical, the coveted, the Gothic and the romantic. Happy exploring!

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