Summer Movie Series: Graduation ~ Now What?

Summer Movie Series: Graduation ~ Now What?

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As some of you may recall, I’ve tackled a Scary Movie Series for wht and now that the sun is out, the water is warm and summer is here, I figured I would present you with a Summer Movie Series — filled with all the things a summer movie demands!

I literally watched DOZENS of summer themed movies and tried to narrow down my favorites. My only real criteria for the movies I picked are that they make me think of the summer and/or occurred during the summer. I’ve divided all of these movies into several categories and over the next few weeks, I’ll share my top picks with you!

So it’s Graduation – What happens now?

First up in our Summer Movie Series is the rite of passage in a young person’s life: GRADUATION. Gone are the carefree days of school (i.e. “the best years of your life”). Here are the sunny days of freedom leading to the new life experiences that will shape you forever.

Now, the paths that we follow all lead in different directions – some of them may lead us to a love affair with a much older person – some may lead to a 3 way with Daryl Hannah and some vacation strange – some may lead to having John Cusack standing outside our bedroom windows, boom box raised high (if this has happened to anybody reading this, I want to hear about it).

Needless to say, graduation is definitely a time of change and the beginning of a new adventure. Here are some summer movies celebrating that magical moment:

1. The Graduate (1967)
Dustin Hoffman stars as Benjamin Braddock, a recent college graduate. He’s at a loss as to what to do next, so he does his father’s law partner’s wife, Mrs. Robinson (played by Anne Bancroft). Of course, the next step is dating her more age-appropriate daughter and then crashing her wedding. Katharine Ross of “Stepford Wives” fame plays Elaine, the would-be bride.

Fun fact: Ross is the real-life wife of Sam Elliot, the only other man besides Tom Selleck and my dad that I think can pull off a moustache. Also, the Benjamin Braddock character was almost played by Burt Ward, Robin of the “Batman” television series. Holy seduction, Mrs. Robinson!

2. Caddyshack (1980)
Recent high school graduate Danny Noonan is trying to earn money for college working at a country club as a caddy and is hopeful he may win a caddy scholarship from the club. Featuring Rodney Dangerfield, Chevy Chase, Bill Murray, and an animatronic gopher, hilarity ensues. This golf-based comedy culminates with a big “golf-off” and ends with a bang. Here’s my favorite clip from this movie, featuring a summer time musical classic!

3. Summer Lovers (1982)
Two lovers graduate college and go on vacation to the Greek islands. Where they meet a sexually permissive French woman. This movie stars Daryl Hannah and Peter Gallagher’s eyebrows.

Warning: The above video is NSFW and contains a ridiculous amount of nudity for a trailer. Yay.

4. Say Anything (1989)
In Cameron Crowe’s directorial debut, Lloyd Dobler (John Cusack), an underachiever, sets out to win the heart of class valedictorian Diane (Ione Skye) before she leaves for a fellowship in England. This movie is iconic for the scene where John Cusack standing under a bedroom window with a boombox raised over his head, the romantic Peter Gabriel tune “In Your Eyes” playing.

Fun Fact: In reality, Cusack was a big ska fan and this is the song that was actually playing on the stereo when he held it over his head.

5. I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997)
If you ran over a murderous fisherman whilst celebrating your high school graduation and dumped him in the ocean and left him for dead, then this Kevin Williamson-penned flick is on to you! Plus, I know you Buffy fans will take any excuse to watch some SMG.

6. Can’t Hardly Wait (1998)
This movie centers around a high school class nobody (Ethan Embry) trying to win the heart of the most popular girl in school (Jennifer Love Hewitt) after she’s been dumped by her equally popular boyfriend (Peter Facinelli of “Twilight” fame) on the day of graduation.

I think my favorite character in this is Seth Green’s Kenny, or “Special K” (above) but keep an eye out for cameos from a ton of future stars including Jaime Pressly, Jason Segal, Sara Rue, Donald Faison and Selma Blair.

7. Ghostworld (2001)
Two best friends and social outcasts graduate high school and make plans for their future. To kill time, they play a prank on a middle-aged loser (played expertly by Steve Buscemi), whom the one befriends. Over the course of the summer, the two girls make choices that will send them in opposite directions.

8. Eurotrip (2004)
Scotty graduates high school and his sweetheart, Fiona, promptly dumps him. He decides to pursue romance with his German Pen Pal Mieke and takes a trip to Europe with his best friends. Oh the wacky hijinks that follow! The best scene ever is Matt Damon playing the rocker that Fiona cheats with – at a graduation party, of course.

9. Superbad (2007)
Graduation is approaching and two co-dependent best friends (Michael Cera and Jonah Hill) are about to go off to different colleges and are trying to deal with their first separation. Of course there is a party and of course teenage antics abound!

Fun Fact: This movie is to blame for my husband introducing himself as “McLovin” to complete strangers.

10. I Love You Beth Cooper (2009)
The class nerd reveals his love for the most popular girl in school in his valedictorian speech. (Well that’s a change of pace from all the grad speeches I’ve heard). She responds by showing up at his house later that night. What happens next? Shenanigans.

Now I’m sure y’all can probably think of a dozen other graduation based summer movies, so feel free to chime in and contribute! Any wild graduation stories you’d care to share with the rest of us?!

Stay tuned for the next installment in my Summer Movie Series: Coming of Age!

23 thoughts on “Summer Movie Series: Graduation ~ Now What?”

  1. What a great list @krista!!! I am a huge Say Anything fan. I have seen it 500,000 times!! Seriously!

    May I also add Can’t Buy Me Love to your list? Love that movie! It totally fits the graduation/summer theme. And weirdly enough it is another with Seth Green.

  2. I love “Can’t Buy Me Love”, but couldn’t list it as a graduation movie because the movie happened mostly during the school year after he earned money mowing lawns during the summer. My main criteria for this category was that the peeps had to have graduated and it was the summer after that. I am a stickler about my details :) Anyhoo, while not a graduation movie, per se, it still rocks. I totally forgot Seth Green was in that, btw! What hasn’t he been in? *ponders*
    I had a really hard time narrowing down movies to fit my categories and ended up watching a ton of movies for fact checking to make sure things fit correctly. I really love “Less Than Zero”, too, but couldn’t put it down because while there is a graduation scene, the majority of the scenes happened months later at Christmas. Wah wahhhh…
    @stef – Peter Gallagher’s eyebrows haunt my dreams…

  3. Fantastic list! I’m surprised by how many of those I own and watch frequently (especially Caddyshack!).

    I’ve only known Peter Gallagher as an adult and always thought he was smoking hot. I am going to have to Netflix Summer Lovers!

  4. @kellie76 – If you knew how many movies I’ve watched just to fact check for this series. This list started out probably 20-25 movies strong and got whittled down. I haven’t been able to even watch television for almost 2 weeks because I’m so burned out on movies :)
    Just an aside–how great did Patrick Dempsey grow up? You never would have guessed he would mature into how he looks now. It’s like he WILLED himself to be hotter…

  5. Great list @Krista ! It’s kinda funny, I saw the title, began reading, and immediately thought of IKWYDLS, Ghost World, and Superbad. Great minds! Though I would skip Caddyshack, if only because I can’t stand Bill Murray. I just want to strap him down and wash his damn face, LOL! Maybe a little microdermabrasion, too…

  6. @Krista I LOVE this post!

    Peter Gallagher will always be the dad from The OC to me, so seeing his bare butt just traumatized me a little bit! Summer Lovers just jumped to the top of my must-see list.

  7. Love that you have one of my very favorite teen movies covered – Can’t Hardly Wait. Roomie Eric and I actually went and saw that in the theater and have probably watched it 100 times since. It has such a John Hughs feel to it, has tons of cameos and is actually pretty darn funny.

    Now I must got find a copy of Summer Lovers! Nothing like a cheesy 80’s romance and I love me some Peter Gallagher – and his eyebrows.

  8. Love your movie lists @Krista! Say Anything is one of my favorites. Just watched it again recently. I don’t think I’ve seen Summer Lovers, but it looks like something I should Netflix.

    1. “Summer Lovers” is one of those movies that’s unintentionally hilarious. There’s SO much nudity in it. I imagine the director is like, “I need more boobs here. MORE BOOBS!!!” *claps commandingly*
      It’s also funny seeing how they piece together a semblance of plot around the 3-way scenes. Bless their hearts, they tried, but not very hard. Definitely worthy of Netflix :)

  9. Best summer graduation type movie is Dazed and Confused. Me and my best friend cant recite the whole movie word for word we have watched it since we were 14 and our now in our 30’s. it is the best!

    1. I LOVE that movie…no graduation in it though. Don’t fret, this movie definitely makes the cut in my Summer Movie Series. Stay tuned! :)

  10. Pingback: Shhhh….. | Kind of a Mess

  11. I recently saw Get Over It for the first time. Seriously one of the funniest movies ever. And the best part of it is seeing all the minor characters who grow up to become MEGA famous (Like Zoe Saldana) mixed in with people like Sysqo. Seriously this is one of the best teen comedies I have ever seen. The opening titles alone are worth it.

    1. How have I never seen or heard of this movie??? It has Ben Foster in it, who played the dude w/ wings in one of the X-men movies and the creepy guy in “30 Days of Night” who is helping the vampires. He’s all “I don’t talk to dead men!!!” with spittle everywhere. The hubby and I occasionally quote movies in conversation and that one really creeped him out. I did it will full spittle and the accent. I’m committed to my craft.
      I’m totally going to have to catch this movie. Thanks for the tip! :)

  12. I also loved Reality Bites! That soundtrack was one of my favorites. And it certainly had summer, graduation, and Ethan Hawke!!(Don’t F with Uma) But now I probably like Steve Zahn even more!! Oh, how we change!!

    1. I loved that movie, too! If you like Steve Zahn, you need to see “A Perfect Getaway” (coincidentally a movie that will be mentioned in a later post).
      Thanks for mentioning “Reality Bites” b/c now I have “My Sharona” stuck in my head :P

  13. HEADS UP! “Summer Lovers” is on Xfinity OnDemand under the Free Movies section right now…Do you hear that sound like rolling thunder in the horizon??? That’s Peter Gallagher’s eyebrows and they’re coming for YOU!!!!

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