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9 Movies and Shows to Watch This Summer

Culture

We often spend our vacations traveling to exotic locations or playing out in the sun, but when we inevitably find ourselves wanting to relax and wind down for a bit, there really is nothing better than curling up with a good old summer flick. Whether it be set during the season itself or simply shares the warm, self-indulgent feeling that comes with the break, summer movies and shows are an absolute must. If you’re not sure where to start, here’s a list of the best ones I’ve seen— and believe me, I’ve seen a lot.

1. The Summer I Turned Pretty

Based on the trilogy of the same name, this show features an iconic love triangle with a twist: the two love interests, Conrad and Jeremiah, are brothers. Fifteen-year-old Isabel “Belly” Conklin has spent her summers at Cousins Beach with them both for as long as she can remember. They’ve always been best friends, nothing more, but one fateful summer, everything changes. Not only is the story emotional and heartwarming, but it perfectly captures the feelings of growing up and falling in love for the very first time.

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 90%

Watch it now on Amazon Prime Video.

2. Call Me By Your Name

Taking place in 1980s Italy, this film centers around the all-consuming romance that blooms between seventeen-year-old Elio and Oliver, the summer guest in his family’s villa. While hardly the most lighthearted romance, the film encapsulates the intense longing that comes with first love while simultaneously showcasing the painful consequences that come with falling too hard. Even as it is set in a whimsical town with dazzling views, the movie feels grounded in reality. For anyone with a love for sad, beautiful romances, Call Me By Your Name will almost certainly leave you reaching for the tissues.

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 94%

Watch it now on Amazon Prime Video.

3. The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants

Next is another brilliant story about female friendships. Bridget, Carmen, Lena, and Tibby have been best friends for as long as they can remember. They've never truly been apart for too long, yet the summer before senior year, they find themselves separated for the first time. To stay connected, they decide to take turns sharing a pair of pants that mysteriously fits each of them perfectly. The film manages to be simultaneously heartbreaking and delightful as it navigates through each girl’s coming-of-age story.

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 77%

Watch it now on HBO Max or Amazon Prime Video.

4. Jaws

Even if you haven’t yet seen Jaws, you’ve almost certainly heard the haunting, two-note shark attack music used throughout the film. If you’re looking for a thriller that remains within the realm of summer movies, it is definitely the perfect choice. Taking place on a quiet beach town, trouble arises when swimmers are violently murdered by what seems to be an enormous shark. The police chief, an oceanographer, and a shark fisherman are left to hunt down the creature before any more damage is caused. Despite the shark’s absence for the majority of the film, it always seems to be looming in the background, waiting to strike.

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 98%

Watch it now on Peacock or Amazon Prime Video.

5. Mamma Mia

The inclusion of Mamma Mia on this list hardly needs an explanation. One of the most iconic summer rom-coms ever made, the film centers around Sophie, a soon-to-be bride, as she attempts to find her father in time for him to walk her down the aisle. Without her mother’s knowledge, Sophie invites the three men who she believes could be her father to the event. Featuring a fabulous cast, a ton of ABBA, and spectacular scenery, there’s nothing more one could ask for in a summer movie.

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 55%

Watch it now on Peacock or Amazon Prime Video.

6. The Parent Trap

Identical twins Annie and Hallie meet for the first time at summer camp, having grown up living opposing lifestyles, completely unaware of the other's existence. After uncovering the truth, the two engineer a clever plan to reunite their parents: they swap places and pretend to be each other. The film is, at its core, a sweet and funny rom-com, and it doesn’t pretend to be anything deeper than that, which only serves to make it even more perfect as a summer movie.

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 86%

Watch it now on Disney+ or Amazon Prime Video.

7. Crazy Rich Asians

Crazy Rich Asians was one of the first rom-coms I truly loved. Rachel Chu and her boyfriend, Nick Young, travel to Singapore so the former could be introduced to the latter's family. Rachel soon discovers that Nick’s family is among the richest in Singapore, and that they are far from accepting of their relationship. Filled with hilariously quotable lines from the amazing Awkwafina (“They’re so posh and snobby, they’re snoshy!”) this movie simultaneously managed to make me laugh until my stomach hurt and bawl my eyes out. It’s the perfect feel-good movie to watch in the summertime.

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 91%

Watch it now on Apple TV, HBO Max, or Amazon Prime Video.

8. Aquamarine

Aquamarine centers around another fantastic portrayal of the power in female friendships. After discovering Aquamarine, a mermaid who washed ashore during a storm, best friends Claire and Hailey decide to help her on her quest to find true love. The movie is laugh-out-loud funny, but also a definite tearjearker towards the end. Most important, however, are the outfits. I guarantee that immediately after watching the movie, you’ll wind up raiding your closet for oversized t-shirts to fashion into a replica of Aquamarine’s gorgeous blue halter dress. It's been seven years since I first watched the movie, and I have yet to figure out how exactly she did it.

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 51%

Watch it now on Apple TV, Hulu, or Amazon Prime Video.

9. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle

Last on the list, but most certainly not least, is Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. The movie centers around four teenagers who are sucked into a video game and forced to best it in order to make it back to the real world. Despite the dire circumstances the characters are in, the movie remains lighthearted and hilarious. It’s perfect for anyone who wants to watch something a little more adventurous, but still remain in the easy comfort of summer.

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 76%

Watch it now on Apple TV, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video.

Whether it’s a sugary-sweet romantic comedy or a terrifying thriller, there’s something for everyone on this list. These movies and shows might not have incredibly deep messages, but they’re certain to make you laugh and cry the whole way through!

Angeline Zhao
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Angeline Zhao is a tenth-grader at Phillips Academy Andover. She loves journalism, competition math, teaching, and playing card games. Angeline often spends hours overanalyzing books and binge-watching shows like Gilmore Girls and Brooklyn 99.