Endless Summer

The 15 Funniest, Sweatiest Summer Camp Movies

Wet Hot American Summer

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Ah, summer camp. There’s something about being away from Mom and Dad and under the supervision of a bunch of college kids who really couldn’t care less that sets the mischief and the hormones raging.

With Wet Hot American Summer airing this month on IFC, let’s take a look at the ten summer camp movies that capture the hilariously awkward moments we all remember from long summer days of swimming, hiking, and raiding the girls’ bunks.

1. Meatballs

A young Bill Murray anchors this classic ’80s summer camp flick where he spends the season in pursuit of a lovely co­counselor. There’s remarkably no actual nudity in this puppy (the many sequels more than made up for that), but lots of babes in bikinis and some very frank discussion about the birds and bees (and we’re not talking about the ones on nature walks).

2. Wet Hot American Summer

[brightcove video=”4470554594001″ og=”false”/]

David Wain and Michael Showalter’s cult comedy perfectly spoofed the amped up hormonal campers and counselors from ’80s summer camp movies. Whether it’s Victor trying to get his swerve on with Abby or Gene’s dick cream issues, this one is dripping with sexual and comedic tension. (Click here to see all airings of Wet Hot American Summer on IFC.)

3. But I’m a Cheerleader

This underrated comedy stars Orange Is the New Black inmate Natasha Lyonne as a lesbian cheerleader sent by her parents to conversion therapy camp. The result is a fun and uplifting story about finding your true self with Cathy Moriarty in a hilarious turn as the insane camp leader.

4. Addams Family Values 

This sequel to the ’90s favorite sends the Addams kids to rich kid summer retreat Camp Chippewa with darkly humorous results. You’ll never look at aquatic life saving lessons the same way again.

5. Moonrise Kingdom

Is this the best movie about Boy Scout Camp? Probably. It also captures the awkwardly hilarious pangs of your first summer love.

6. Heavyweights

Judd Apatow cowrote this raccous ’90s comedy about a fat camp that features a memorable turn from Ben Stiller as a fitness guru who takes weight loss to the extreme. He’s basically Derek Zoolander’s evil twin brother.

7. American Pie Presents: Band Camp

Yes, they’ve stretched this franchise well past the breaking point (this one stars Stifler’s little brother, for God’s sake), but we all know what happens at band camp: sexy shenanigans. This one features a scheme to make a Girls Gone Wild­-esque video series of music geeks getting their swerve on.

8. Camp

The generically­ titled Camp aimed to bring the ’80s summer camp comedy into the 21st century with same-­sex relationships and a performing arts angle. There’s a whole ton of sexual tension and laughs in this film, and it all boils over at a benefit concert for Stephen Sondheim.

9. Little Darlings

In hindsight, this 1980 flick seems more than a little creepy. Tatum O’Neal and Kristy MacNichol play a pair of 15 year old girls who battle to be the first to pop their cherries at summer camp. But honestly, if it were dudes it would seem completely normal, so loosen up.

10. Party Camp

Vestron Video

Vestron Video

When slacker Jerry spots the girl of his dreams working for a summer camp, he takes a counselor’s job to get close to her and sexy hijinks ensue. All of the soft­porn tropes are here: hidden cameras in the girls’ locker room, aphrodisiac herbs and more. If you’re a fan of ’80s Skinemax movies, this is the flick for you.

11. Fired Up!

A pair of high school football players skip out on the off-season to spend the summer at a cheerleading camp. Of course, the duo end up developing actual respect for the art of the cheer and all that feel­-good horsecrap, but until then there’s plenty of short skirts to go around.

12. Ernest Goes to Camp

The movie that launched the Ernest franchise is still his best big screen outing. Which isn’t saying all that much, but we enjoyed it when we were in first grade.

13. Camp Nowhere

’90s kids probably remember this wacky comedy where some students bribe their teacher (Christopher Lloyd) to help them start a camp where anything goes. Except time travel. That’s a different Christopher Lloyd movie.

14. Gorp

Distributor American International Pictures was a mainstay of the exploitation era, so it’s somehow fitting that their last flick was this 1980 sex comedy set at an all ­Jewish summer camp. The main characters are cooks who are all looking for love while contending with the stuck­up camp director.

15. Oddballs

Almi Pictures/Vestron Video

Almi Pictures/Vestron Video

This Canuck take on the sexy summer camp flick hits all of the bases — a hot nurse with lots of cleavage, a pact to lose your virginity, and an evil businessman who wants to bulldoze the camp and turn it into a shopping mall. Oddballs is a unique flick that’s so choked with lousy jokes it becomes a surreal experience.

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Weird Roles

Anthony Michael Hall’s Most Rotten Movies

Catch Anthony Michael Hall in Weird Science on Friday at 8P on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Universal/Everett Collection

Anthony Michael Hall was the quintessential ’80s nerd. We love him in classics like The Breakfast Club and National Lampoon’s Vacation. But even the brainiest among us has his weak spots. In honor of Weird Science airing this Rotten Friday, we analyze Hall’s worst movies.

Weird Science (1985) 56%

A low point for John Hughes, Weird Science is way too wacky for its own good. Anthony Michael Hall’s Gary and his pal Wyatt (Ilan Mitchell-Smith) create the “perfect woman.” Supernatural chaos ensues. The film costars a young Bill Paxton, floppy disks, and a general disconnect from all reality.

The Caveman’s Valentine (2001) 46%

This ambitious drama starring Samuel L. Jackson couldn’t live up to its rich premise. Jackson plays Romulus, a Juilliard-educated, paranoid schizophrenic who lives in a cave. Hall co-stars as Bob, a rich man, who wants to see Romulus play the piano. The plot centers around Romulus investigating a murder, but with so much going on, the movie never quite finds its rhythm.

All About the Benjamins (2002) 30%

Ice Cube plays a bounty hunter who teams up with Mike Epps’ con man to catch diamond thieves. Hall plays Lil J, a small-time drug dealer. It’s definitely a role we’ve never seen Hall in, but overall the movie isn’t funny or original enough to justify its violence.

Freddy Got Fingered (2001) 11%

This showcase for Tom Green’s goofy gross-out comedy is often hailed as one of the worst films of all time. Green plays Gord, a 20-something slacker, who dreams of having his own animated series. Hall is Dave Davidson, a CEO of an animation studio who eventually helps Gord find success. Too bad Tom Green wasn’t so lucky.

Johnny Be Good (1988) 0%

Hall plays against type as Johnny Walker, a star quarterback. Robert Downey Jr. is his best friend and Uma Thurman plays his devoted girlfriend. Despite the support of a future A-list cast, the movie lacks central conflict and charm. Or, as TV Guide put it, “Johnny be worthless.” Ouch.

Catch the “Too Rotten to Miss” Weird Science this Friday at 8P on IFC.

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Season 6: Episode 1: Pickathon

Binge Fest

Portlandia Season 6 Now Available On DVD

The perfect addition to your locally-sourced, artisanal DVD collection.

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End of summer got you feeling like:

Portlandia Toni Screaming GIF

Ease into fall with Portlandia‘s sixth season. Relive the latest exploits of Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein’s cast of characters, including Doug and Claire’s poignant breakup, Lance’s foray into intellectual society, and the terrifying rampage of a tsukemen Noodle Monster! Plus, guest stars The Flaming Lips, Glenn Danzig, Louis C.K., Kevin Corrigan, Zoë Kravitz, and more stop by to experience what Portlandia is all about.

Pick up a copy of the DVD today, or watch full episodes and series extras now on IFC.com and the IFC app.

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Byrning Down the House

Everything You Need to Know About the Film That Inspired “Final Transmission”

Documentary Now! pays tribute to "Stop Making Sense" this Wednesday at 10P on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Cinecom/courtesy Everett Collection

This week Documentary Now! is with the band. For everyone who’s ever wanted to be a roadie without leaving the couch, “Final Transmission” pulls back the curtain on experimental rock group Test Pattern’s final concert. Before you tune in Wednesday at 10P on IFC, plug your amp into this guide for Stop Making Sense, the acclaimed 1984 Talking Heads concert documentary.

Put on Your Dancing Shoes

Hailed as one of the best concert films ever created, director Jonathan Demme (Silence of the Lambs) captured the energy and eccentricities of a band known for pushing the limits of music and performance.

Make an Entrance

Lead singer David Byrne treats the concert like a story: He enters an empty stage with a boom box and sings the first song on the setlist solo, then welcomes the other members of the group to the stage one song at a time.

Steal the Spotlight

David Byrne Dancing
Cinecom/Everett Collection

Always a physical performer, Byrne infuses the stage and the film with contagious joy — jogging in place, dancing with lamps, and generally carrying the show’s high energy on his shoulders.

Suit Yourself

Byrne makes a splash in his “big suit,” a boxy business suit that grows with each song until he looks like a boy who raided his father’s closet. Don’t overthink it; on the DVD, the singer explains, “Music is very physical, and often the body understands it before the head.”

View from the Front Row

Stop Making Sense Band On Stage
Cinecom/Everett Collection

Demme (who also helmed 1987’s Swimming to Cambodia, the inspiration for this season’s Documentary Now! episode “Parker Gail’s Location is Everything”) films the show by putting viewers in the audience’s shoes. The camera rarely shows the crowd and never cuts to interviews or talking heads — except the ones onstage.

Let’s Get Digital

Tina Weymouth Keyboard
Cinecom/Everett Collection

Stop Making Sense isn’t just a good time — it’s also the first rock movie to be recorded entirely using digital audio techniques. The sound holds up more than 30 years later.

Out of Pocket

Talk about investing in your art: Talking Heads drummer Chris Frantz told Rolling Stone that the members of the band “basically put [their] life savings” into the movie, and they didn’t regret it.

Catch Documentary Now!’s tribute to Stop Making Sense when “Final Transmission” premieres Wednesday, October 12 at 10P on IFC.

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