We start the Top 7. You finish the Top 10.
This week’s “Question of the Week” on Jeff Bayer’s “Movie B.S.” podcast is inspired by all summer movies, including those like Savages that feature scenes with beaches and stuff.
In honor of the movies that give a specific focus to the sweaty times we live in now, it's time to take a look at the best film scenes set in the summertime. These are the moments that capture a certain essence of the season, while also being memorable on their own. This particular list features pies, riots, and a fond remembrance of that near-date rape scene in Beethoven's 2nd.
Here are my Top 7 Favorite Summertime Movie Scenes ...
7. Stand by Me (1986)
Summertime Scene: The pie eating contest, which turns into a melee of barfing. You remember this moment, even if you don't want to. Reason: Sure, this is a really gross scene. But damn all things American if this isn't a classic moment for all pie eaters to be proud of. In such a summer movie, what better encapsulates the innocence of indulging of certain foods in this time of year, along with the joy of barfing directly into someone's face? Similar to how the rest of Stand by Me feels, this story becomes a memory for something you didn't actually experience. Unless, well, this has ever happened to you. If so, gross.
6. Boogie Nights (1997)
Summertime Scene: In this movie about the porn industry, Mark Wahlberg pays a young man who is paid to stroke his ego in the adult film business. Though this film features many gatherings, nothing stands out as much as the relaxed moment in which we see this "family" hang out by director Jack Horner's (Burt Reynolds) pool. Reason: As far as '70s California parties go, this one blows the one from Annie Hall (which features Jeff Goldblum) out of the swimming pool water, and then some. Plus, this scene from Boogie Nights does provide the sweaty summer viewer with a teasing immersion into the film's pool. Also, you get to watch John C. Reilly (playing a man named Reed Rothchild) make pina colatas. Aside from the cocaine, the porn star guests, and the masturbatory long-takes that capture such an event, does this not seem like the best pool party to attend?
5. Do the Right Thing (1989)
Summertime Scene: After racial tensions reach their peak in the New York neighborhood of Bed-Stuy, violence becomes the form of expression for citizens rioting at Sal's Pizzeria. Reason: In a more serious list, Do the Right Thing might be the ultimate summer movie. This is the best scene from such a film, a great summation of its outraged spirit. The whole film really uses the brutal temperatures of the summer's hottest to show the discomfort between all, equating Fahrenheit with emotional tension. But this is is one summer moment where you want things to cool down, and not just "by any means necessary."
4. Point Break (1991)
Summertime Scene: The surfing robbing jig is up when blonde crook Bodhi (Patrick Swayze) is finally handcuffed by undercover FBI agent Johnny Utah (Keanu Reeves). However, it's now time for the "50 Year Storm," a set of waves that is said by Bodhi to be once-in-a-lifetime. Utah frees Bodhi, allowing him to meet an uncertain fate in the waves, and then frees himself, as he throws his FBI badge into the water. Reason: Summertime achieves striking bro-etry with Point Break throughout, but this is the movie's best moment, and emblematic of its spirit. It maintains that cliche summer vibe of giving away your cares and getting lost in the waves, dude. Because that's kind of what summer is all about. That, and cameo appearances by Flea.
3. Beethoven's 2nd (1993)
Summertime Scene: In this sequel to a movie about a St. Bernard that doesn't compose music, title character Beethoven finds himself in a unique moral situation when one of his masters, Ryce (Nicholle Tom), is invited to a friend's party at his parent's summer house that overhangs a beach. When she is invited upstairs by the "friend," she ties Beethoven to a support post. Before she goes upstairs, she secures her large dog to one of the house's support beams. Left to his lonesome, Beethoven finds himself tormented by partygoers on the level above, who taunt him and pour their underage beers on his head. At the same time, innocent Ryce finds herself in a situation that can only be defined a "date rape," as her friend has cornered her in his room with the door locked behind her. Hearing the squeals of Ryce and fed up with becoming a sink, Beethoven decides the only thing this doggy can do is yank himself free from the beam that he has been chained to, possibly not considering the consequences of such an action. Beethoven finally gives a good tug from the support beam, which causes the entire porch with the beer-pouring teens to collapse, not to mention the entire front structure of the house, which takes down numerous teens with it as their bodies crash to the water below. The not-so friendly "friend" takes a dive himself, falling into the water, only to look upon Ryce as she congratulates her dog for its heroism. In his embarrassment, we see him go under water. We don't see him come back up. I swear, it's really a great scene. Reason: Nothing more distinctly demonstrates the impending horror of summer more than this scene (OK, or the ending to Friday the 13th). It's a sequence full of such bizarre violence you'd think Beethoven's 2nd had actually borrowed a couple pages from a sex comedy written by Daniel Tosh. Plus, who wouldn't want to go to a summer party where a St. Bernard destroys the entire front structure of some kid's summer house, probably severely injuring a group of dumb '90s teens in the process? America.
2. Wet Hot American Summer (2001)
Summertime Scene: In this parody of all your awkward teenage camping experiences, camp counselors played by Michael Showalter, Janeane Garofalo, Michael Ian Black, Amy Poelher and more go into town for a little afternoon R&R. Love is alright, tonight. Reason: Picking a favorite scene from Wet Hot American Summer is one that would make Sophie from Sophie's Choice cry even more than her original choosing, and then say, "Too soon." Which to pick? Paul Rudd's Oscar-worthy bratty picking up of his tray? The scene in which Bradley Cooper and Michael Ian Black make love in a shed? It's a tough one, but nothing explores the glory of summer more in this movie than going into town, eating McDonald's, stealing old lady purses, and OD-ing on heroin. "It's always fun to get away from camp — even for an hour."
1. Transformers (2007)
Summertime Scene: After saving the world from evil robots, dorky Strokes-loving hero Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) finally finds time to make out with lady friend Mikaela (Megan Fox) while on top of his friend, I mean car, Bumblebee. Reason: Somehow, Michael Bay was able to top the extreme romantic scenes of Armageddon that involved Ben Affleck and Liv Tyler bonding over sexual innuendo with animal crackers. This scene comes with the same aesthetic packaging, including a dramatic sunset that prepares characters for what is coming next. Though this is very, very far from my favorite movie, what could be a better summation of summer's frivolities and unpredictable nature than a scene which involves getting some after having saved the world and a few robots, and then foolin' around on said robot, while another robot sends a message to space?