Summer is coming to a close. Commercials for back-to-school sales are pervasive, families are back from their vacations, and schools around the nation are re-waxing their tile floors because they will soon be packed with students. For those of us who just got back from camp, the adjustment to school will be especially difficult. It is not easy to go from a day structured around activities and playing to a day structured around focusing and hard work. As the first day of school approaches, you might find yourself longing for Summer camp in a very serious way. There are many reasons to look forward to school, but I guarantee that you will have trouble focusing on the positives of school if you allow your “campsickness” (comparable to homesickness) to fester. Luckily, there are plenty of movies that will let you relive parts of your summer just enough to cure the sad feeling of being separated from your beloved home away from home.
Here are my recommendations:
Heavyweights: This 1995 cult classic takes place at a weight loss camp that has been taken over by a somewhat psychotic fitness guru, played by Ben Stiller. Although the premise of this film makes it seem like it won’t be relatable, watching the characters develop close and powerful friendships will bring you back to the highest points of your summer. Furthermore, the kids pull off a number of pranks and tricks that are likely highly exaggerated versions of camp antics you played a part in. Heavyweights is by no means a realistic representation of most summer camps, but watching a community of children gain confidence and pride through overcoming adversity is reminiscent of the best aspects of camp. Definitely worth the watch.
Moonrise Kingdom: This recent masterpiece will be especially appealing for those of you who had a camp romance this past summer. Set in the 1960s, 12-year-old pen-pal-protagonists Sam and Suzy make a pact to run away together during the summer. Sam runs away from scout camp, and Suzy escapes from her home to go on an outdoor adventure together. The film follows the two young lovers on their journey, as well as the surrounding events at Sam’s scout camp and in Suzy’s town. This film is great for a variety of campers- those who spent the summer at a single gender camp, those who had an outdoor travel experience, and even those who spent their time at camp carrying out a classically hopeless romance.
Meatballs: Much like Ben Stiller in Heavyweights, this film features the breakout role of a legendary comedian. If a young Bill Murray playing a head counselor in a camp-comedy is not enough to bring you out of your post-camp rut, I’m not sure what will be! This movie is a classic within and outside of camp communities throughout America. It is pure fun, and gives a glimpse of what camp life was like decades ago. Overall, Meatballs will make your feeling of nostalgia transform from burdensome to enlightening. I recommend watching it with your parents, chances are they’ve seen it before and will be happy to reminisce on their own days at camp with you.
The beginning of school is a fun time. You share stories with friends that you haven’t seen all summer, you get to meet all of your new teachers, and you get started on new and interesting subjects. Understandably, it can be hard to appreciate this time if your heart is still in a totally different place because of how impactful your time at camp was this past summer. Don’t think you’re bound for a disappointing school year because it won’t compare to camp. Instead, sit down and watch one of these funny movies. It’ll help you stay optimistic about staying in touch with the friends you made over the summer, and it will bring you close enough to your camp memories where you won’t be caught up in missing them too much.
Enjoy the show, and have a great year. I’m sure your camp is looking forward to seeing you come next summer!