Fresh Peach

If your idea of a long hot summer spent drowsily meandering through rolling hills, catching the gentle breeze through light linen layers then 2019’s Midsommar is probably half the movie you would like to watch. The other half is a modern-day Wicker Man that pitches European paganism with outright cultist insanity. Its sun-soaked landscapes are the backdrop to an unwinding nightmare pitched against a coming of age romance. If you are familiar with Director Ari Aster’s previous film Hereditary then you will have some idea what to expect.

Midsommar is the antithesis of what a summer themed movie should be about whilst languishing on the high that the season dictates.

Whether it is the city rats of Dogtown and Z-Boys (2001) or the watery wasters of The Endless Summer (1966), the bleached out film aesthetic sticks with us no matter how sweltering it may feel.

Take 2001’s Y Tu Mamá También, blisteringly filled with Mexican ultraviolet energy of carefree exploits fuelled by raging hormones, intense friendships, and a headlong rush into adulthood, that filters into your subconscious as if this is how all days in the sun should be.

The same can be recalled by Call Me By Your Name (2017). Whilst on a family vacation to an Italian countryside retreat Timothée Chalamet as Elio meets Armie Hammer as Oliver and the enticement of being removed from the every day allows for sophisticated sensuality to blossom into blissful abandonment, elevated by 80’s period styling. The outcome is if you don’t forget yourself you won’t forget the memory of summer. If you didn’t have a romance like this when you were a teen, you can retain the memory of it through the scintillating gleam of the silver screen.

Fending off romanticism and finding your self before you know yourself embodies the adolescence of Stand By Me (1986). Intrepid adventure with the uncertainty of youth goes hand in hand with nothing more than not-so-innocent innocence as the last days of naïveté start to give way to the terrible truths of the grown-up world.

For some adult asides, set a reminder to watch 2004’s Sideways starring Paul Giamatti. It is ultimately superior to Amy Poehler’s 2019 jaunt Wine Country even if the perfect scenery is comparable. The end of a long drive resulting in lazy days and an escape from the complications of responsibility allows for definite swerves into realising more about yourself. Mid-life crises ensue. Wine helps.

It is within the same realm we find La Dolce Vita (1960), where a handsome, weary, desperate man, who dreams of someday doing something good, is trapped in a life of empty nights and lonely dawns. It is a world beyond Audrey Hepburn’s princess struck with boredom in her luxurious confinement, escaping from her guardians as she falls for the charms of Gregory Peck in Roman Holiday (1953). Both are cautionary summer romances but the howling of wild dogs is what Roman Holiday lacks and La Dolce Vita’s seven nights are filled with.

Even with self-discovery and romantic notions or the imperfection of the ideal at the core of a good summer movie, the heat is best turned up when danger lurks just beneath the surface.

In 1975, a reinvention of the summer movie took place as Spielberg’s shark reared its toothy head (technical limitations of the time only allowed for half an animatronic shark) above the otherwise calm waters. It was and still is the stuff of PTSD inducing nightmares. A day at the beach now comes with a daring grace to put aside the fear of being dragged violently back and forth by an unseen and silent underwater assailant. Night swimming fans are a rarer find. Not only did Jaws define the parameters of the movie sensation, it also brought about a genuinely different summer experience.

Thankfully, there has only been one sighting of a Great White anywhere near Ibiza in the past 100 years. Yet, you never know. Long may the mythology of the next bite prevail.

Explore these and more of our favourite summer themed movies on the Summer Essentials playlist on