If you haven’t been outside lately, congratulations. It is freaking freezing in most parts of the country right now. An expected 120 MILLION people are facing bone-chilling temperatures this week. As one Weather Channel reporter put it, the current temperature is “ridiculously cold.” Oh dear. When winter comes on this hard, there’s only one thing to do: trick your brain into thinking it’s summer.
When I was younger, and the winter months started to take their toll, my sister and I would whip out the bathing suits and beach towels and create our own summer scene on my bedroom floor. Sure, the bright lights of my desk lamp could never match the warmth of the beach, but it was, and is, possible to stir up a little summer cheer in the midst of winter. As an adult, I think the easiest way to do this is with weather-inappropriate entertainment. I’m talking summer movies, people. So while the snowstorm outside is frightful, let these super-sunny summer movies transport you to a world of tan lines and flip-flops — even if only for 90 minutes.
Now and Then (1995)
Let’s pretend it’s the summer of 1970 and the only thing we care about are seances, tree-houses, and riding our bikes. This is the ultimate girl coming-of-age movie, and real-life besties Gaby Hoffman and Christina Ricci make it even better. We know you’ve probably seen this movie a million times (because it’s that good), but if you haven’t watched it in the dead of winter, you need to get on that. It’s the visual equivalent of hot cocoa.
Dirty Dancing (1987)
During my senior year of high school, this was my absolute favorite movie. I wanted Jennifer Grey’s high-waisted jeans and beat-up sneakers, and most of all I wanted to jump into Patrick Swayze’s arms for that seemingly impossible lift maneuver. Dirty Dancing tells the story of Baby (Grey), who’s vacationing with her family in the Catskills and, in the whirlwind of activity, stumbles upon an after-hours dance scene that — this being the ’50s — is as scandalous as a strip club. She quickly becomes enamored of the most talented of the bunch, dance instructor Johnny (Swayze). Some awesome dance numbers and even awesome-r outfits follow, and for being PG-13, this movie is pretty H-O-T. You’ll spend the rest of the day flouncing around in jean shorts and shouting, “Come here, loverboy!” while the snow piles up outside your windows.
500 Days of Summer (2009)
While this movie, as you may have guessed, takes place over the course of 500 days, there’s enough summer for all of us. Get it? Because the main character’s name is Summer (Zooey Deschanel)? But the Technicolor cuteness of Deschanel and Joseph Gordon-Levitt falling in love is the perfect movie to hibernate with during these drab days.
Moonrise Kingdom (2012)
Wes Anderson is the Marmite of the film world — an acquired taste, and kind of kitschy — but I think it’s safe to say that everyone loves Moonrise Kingdom. Sam and Suzy will make you feel like a kid again as they plan their wild adventure, like two crushes at summer camp (except without their parents’ permission). The film practically smells of mosquito spray and Bactine — and brings back memories of all the tactile pleasures of young summer fun.
Some Like It Hot (1959)
We all like it hot when it’s freezing. This classic comedy has it all: the beach, Marilyn Monroe, the mafia. What says summer like the mafia?! OK, don’t be fooled — while this movie begins with a murder, what follows is a hilarious tale of mistaken identities and a whole lotta jazz.
The Parent Trap (1998)
It was between this and It Takes Two, the Mary-Kate and Ashley equivalent, but nothing says summer quite like two Lindsay Lohans (or Haley Mills, if you remember that version). This is both a timeless camp movie and a classic switcheroo in which two identical sisters hatch a plan to bring their estranged family back together. Nothing reminds me of summer so much as bunk beds.
Camp Takota (2014)
Speaking of camp, this Netlix movie is perfect for anyone who thinks of their camp days as the best of their lives. Elise (Grace Helbig) has to return to Takota as a counselor after her current life falls apart. Back at her childhood haunt, she reunites with friends she hasn’t seen in years. Although much older, the three friends work together to save Takota from being taken over by an unlikeable new owner and learn to embody the spirit of camp in their everyday lives.
Little Darlings (1980)
You’re 15, you’re at sleepaway camp, and Matt Dillon is there. Feel better now? This is a total classic camp movie that tackles everything from friendship and virginity to the joys of tube socks.
Wet Hot American Summer (2001)
You haven’t seen this movie in 10 minutes, right? OK, you’re good to watch it again. This Amy Poehler-Paul Rudd (and a million other funny people) parody of ALL the camp movies ever made is so funny you’ll forget how awful it is outside. There’s lots of swimming, short-shorts, ‘gournal’-writing, and awkward camp make-out sessions (see the super-cut). So crack out those flip-flops and let’s play movie pretend.