The Best Summer Films On Netflix
Mr Jesse Eisenberg in Adventureland, 2009. Photograph by Kobal/REX/Shutterstock
From City of God to Wet Hot American Summer – what you should be streaming this season.
What to do when summer is blustery and drizzly? When your barbecue plans involve having a rain radar bookmarked? In Britain, it’s regrettably often the case that the best summers are vicarious, cinematic (as in spent inside a cinema) ones. A good job, then, that summer always makes for a good story. In fact, in films, summers often represent a self-contained zone of potential; a period which can’t go on forever, but in which normal rules no longer apply and anything is possible. Everyone stays out later. Everyone takes more risks. Everyone wears fewer clothes. And events have a way of corresponding to that freedom. All this means that if your summer isn’t as sun-soaked and idyllic as you’d like, Netflix has you covered. Scroll down for our top five summer films currently available to stream on the platform.
Wet Hot American Summer (2001)
Messrs Michael Showalter, Christopher Meloni and AD Miles in Wet Hot American Summer, 2001. Photograph by Ms Amy Rice/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock
A comedy that has its cake and eats it, simultaneously spoofing and subverting every US teen drama cliché while still shamelessly mining them for emotional impact. It’s 1981 and mullets, soft rock and double-denim abound. It’s the last day of summer camp and everyone wants to get high or get laid. And that’s just the counsellors, who are considerably less responsible than the pre-teens in their care. It’s relentlessly daft, compulsively watchable and fascinatingly starry – Ms Amy Poehler, Mr Bradley Cooper and Mr Paul Rudd are among the ensemble cast who used the film as a launch pad for future fame.
Gimme The Loot (2012)
Ms Tashiana Washington and Mr Ty Hickson in Gimme The Loot, 2012. Photograph by Everett Collection/Alamy
On the face of it, this is a film about graffiti tagging wars in New York. But the plot, such as it is, is something of a red herring. Really, Gimme The Loot is a film about street life and summer in the city. The Big Apple’s stoops, pizza joints and bodegas are practically a character in themselves here as teenage artists and small-time weed dealers Malcolm and Sofia negotiate the pleasures and pitfalls of living on the edge and getting by on their wits. A beautifully drawn portrait of both teen friendship and a sizzling city.
Ms Kristen Stewart and Mr Jesse Eisenberg in Adventureland, 2009. Photograph by Miramax Films/Collection Christophel/ArenaPAL
“Summer in Pittsburgh? That’s harsh”. Earnest, virginal, comparative literature graduate James Brennan’s rich friend Eric might not see the appeal as he prepares to jet off to Europe. But over the duration of an initially aimless but eventually transformative summer, James (Mr Jesse Eisenberg) finds his life changing after taking on a dead-end job at an amusement park, embarking upon a a summer-long education in love, sex, pool-party etiquette and above all, reality. Funny, charming and with a cute, rites-of-passage love story at its centre, this is a slice of small-town Americana with a big heart.
City Of God (2002)
City Of God, 2002. Photograph by Kobal/REX/Shutterstock
It’s permanent summer in the favelas. And the heat accentuates the feverish intensity of Mr Fernando Meirelles’ furious Rio crime thriller. We see the action through the eyes of Rocket (Mr Alexandre Rodrigues), a calm, thoughtful and well-intentioned teenager who finds himself caught up in the perpetual turf wars bedevilling his impoverished neighbourhood. And yet in Rio, there’s always respite; amid the carnage, Rocket and friends lounge on the beach where they are free to behave like the kids they still are, drift into the orbit of luckier, wealthier Rio residents and start to dream of escape.
Hunt For The Wilderpeople (2016)
Messrs Julian Dennison and Sam Neill in Hunt For The Wilderpeople, 2016. Photograph by Moviestore Collection
Alternately sweet and savage, this antipodean oddity (from Mr Taika Waititi of What We Do In The Shadows fame) sees delinquent teen Ricky Baker (Mr Julian Dennison) abandoned to the reluctant mercy of Mr Sam Neill’s hilariously grumpy Hec after his foster mother dies. It sounds bleaker than it is, though; what emerges is a funny and eventually delightful odd-couple saga during which the pair go on walkabout through the verdant New Zealand countryside. A film that makes you want to run away from home with a packed lunch, explore your nearest woods and sleep under the stars.