Nametapes ironed on? Bugspray and sunscreen packed? As kids depart for camp, it is fun to watch some classic movies about the joys and terrors of life among the bunk beds and color wars.
1. Meatballs Bill Murray was the counselor who teaches his campers to embrace their loserdom in this classic anti-hero comedy. (some mature material)
2. Camp Nowhere A bunch of kids with high-pressure parents invent a fake achievement-oriented camps (theater, fat camp, paramilitary, computer camp) and head off to enjoy themselves…until the parents all show up.
3. The Adventures of Spin & Marty Boomer parents will recall this Mickey Mouse club serial about the Triple R camp and the camper who arrived with his butler and learned a few things about roughing it. Watch for Mouseketeer Annette as a guest star.
4. Indian Summer A group of adults return to the camp that they loved as kids in this bittersweet midlife drama filmed on the site of the real-life camp attended by the film’s director.
5. Little Darlings There is some mature material in this very uneven story about two girls who make a bet at camp about which one will be the first to have sex, but it gets some credit for a more honest portrayal than most of the consequences of some of these choices. Watch for future “Sex and the City” co-star Cynthia Nixon as one of the campers. For a more family-friendly film, try The Baby Sitters Club, a sweet story about friendship and loyalty with our heroines creating a day-camp for younger children.
6. The Parent Trap Both the Haley Mills and Lindsay Lohan versions of this story of campers who discover they are identical twins are delightful family classics.
7. Space Camp The kids at space camp find themselves launched into space for real in this exciting family adventure.
8. Camp Based on a real-life camp attended by the film-makers, this is the story of an intense theater camp attended by talented, high-strung, insecure, and very ambitious teenagers. (Some mature material.) Stagedoor is a documentary about the real-life campers.
9. Summercamp Summercamp! is a documentary following the day-to-day drama of 90 kids let loose in the woods at Swift Nature Camp in northern Wisconsin. They go through the highs and lows of adolescent rituals: sing-alongs, talent shows, homesickness, counselor mutiny–and first love.
10. Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown Charles Schultz’s everyman comic strip hero goes to camp with all of his friends. Watch for Linus standing up to bullies and some nice lessons about teamwork.
This 2008 Australian film is one of my favorites of the past few years and I am very happy that it is finally available on a US-format DVD. It’s the story of the title character, Esther Blueburger (Danielle Catanzariti), approaching her bat mitzvah and feeling like a complete outcast among the confident and willowy girls at her school. When she meets the free-spirited Sunni (“Whale Rider’s” Keisha Castle-Hughes), daughter of an even more free-spirited single mother (Toni Collette), she decides to re-invent herself. Without telling her parents, she starts attending Sunni’s school, trying out a new, cool persona. And it works.
Until it doesn’t.
Yes, lies will be discovered and lessons learned. As coming of age stories go, this one is told exceptionally well, with verve, imagination, an outstanding visual sensibility, and a great deal of understanding and compassion for its appealing heroine.
Jennifer Aniston is a beautiful and talented woman, but this film had me thinking some very mean thoughts about her, thoughts like, “She is too old for this kind of movie” and “Probably not a good idea to make a movie that seems like a lesser version of Mr. and Mrs. Smith, best known for documenting her real-life husband falling in love with his co-star.”
If you’ve seen the trailer, you’ve seen this movie: battling exes squabble as he (Milo the bounty hunter played by Gerard Butler) tries to take her (Nic the journalist played by Aniston) to jail while she tries to persuade him that she’s working on an important and very dangerous story. Will they get shot at? Will there be chases? Will there be a romantic interlude interrupted by a mis-communication? You don’t even have to see the trailer to have seen this movie. You already know everything that’s going to happen.
Aniston is too old for this movie. Butler looks pudgy-faced and uncomfortable. Despite rumors of an off-screen romance, there are no sparks between them and we never get any sense of what brought them together or any relationship between what we are told about their issues and any aspect of their behavior toward each other or anyone else. This is one of those films where if anyone behaved in a rational manner, the whole thing would have been over in 20 minutes.
It does have a good chase scene at the beginning and a couple of briefly interesting goons (Milo owes some gambling debts). But it lets us down repeatedly by wasting the time and talents of the fabulous Christine Baranski (as Nic’s glamorous mother), SNL’s Jason Sudeikis as Nic’s co-worker, and Carol Kane (with a new set of teeth) and Adam LeFevre as bed-and-breakfast owners. It is supposed to be heartwarming and humorous that Nic’s mother has some boundary issues when it comes to Nic’s romantic life. It’s just icky. It’s supposed to be funny that her co-worker keeps trying to persuade her to get romantic with him. It’s just icky — until he is mistaken for Milo and gets beat up by the goons, when it becomes not just icky but ooky. It’s even supposed to be funny that Nic tases Milo. Nope. This falls into that category of movie that exists to be perpetually playing on airplanes — because when the pilot interrupts to tell you to look out the window you won’t miss anything.
Take your camera out on July 24 and make a movie about your life — your work, your family, your friends, your home, your passion, your fear, your inspiration, your challenges, your music, your cooking, what you think is beautiful, what you think is sad, what makes you happy, what makes you proud, what makes you laugh. Two of the greatest film-makers in the world, Kevin Macdonald (“The Last King of Scotland”) and Ridley Scott (“Blade Runner” and “Gladiator”) are going to take all of those movies and make them into one big movie snapshot of life on earth on that one day.
Google, which is sponsoring this project, said in its press release:
Kevin Macdonald, the Oscar-winning director of films such as The Last King of Scotland, Touching the Void and One Day in September, will then edit the most compelling footage into a feature documentary film, to be executive-produced by Ridley Scott, the director behind films like Gladiator, Black Hawk Down, Thelma & Louise, Blade Runner and Robin Hood. LG Electronics is supporting “Life in a Day” as a key part of its long-standing “Life’s Good” campaign and to support the creation of quality online content that can be shared and enjoyed by all.
The film will premiere at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival and if your footage makes it into the final cut, you’ll be credited as a co-director and may be one of 20 contributors selected to attend the premiere.
Want to take part? Here’s what to do.
1. Visit the “Life in a Day” channel and learn more about the project. Be sure to read through the steps you need to take to participate and the guidelines for creating your video(s). Also check out some of the sample videos for inspirational ideas.
2. On July 24, capture your day on camera.
3. Upload your footage to the “Life in a Day” channel any time before July 31.
Regardless of whether your footage makes it into the final film, your video(s) will live on on the “Life in a Day” channel as a time capsule that will tell future generations what it was like to be alive on July 24, 2010