Your Top Three is a series here at Movies.com where we choose a topic and you give us your top three picks.
A lot of kids are starting summer camp this week, which should be a lot of fun. Not that I ever experienced it myself firsthand, but I have lived vicariously through all the movies made about and set at camp. I know that as long as there are no serial killers on the loose that it consists of activities like swimming and hikes and arts and farts and crafts. Fun, fun, fun.
There are the classics that show us the traditional camp experiences, including Meatballs, Little Darlings, Meatballs II, The Parent Trap, Meatballs 4, Ernest Goes to Camp and Lolita, as well as the horror flicks Friday the 13th and its sequels, and Sleepaway Camp and its sequels. There’s also Indian Summer for us adults who are nostalgic for the old camp (and camp-movie) days.
Now, though, there are all kinds of niche overnight camps, and occasionally we get movies specificaly tied to, say, fat camps (Heavy Weights), magic camps (Magic Camp) and musical theater camps (Camp). We’re even starting to get horror flicks tied to niche camps, a la this year’s Stage Fright.
And thanks in part to Mark Cuban, starting this year there are even niche camps devoted to scaring the pants of your kids.
My Top Three Summer-Camp Movies:
1. Wet Hot American Summer - Just as any great satire or parody film should, this anarchic comedy from David Wain has basically killed the serious summer camp movie for awhile. I always assume it’s making fun of actual camp more than movies about camp, but then I only know actual camp as the movies depict it.
2. Jesus Camp - As ridiculous as WHAS can get, it’s never as unbelievable as this Oscar-nominated documentary by Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady. The film delivers incredible access inside an Evangelical Christian summer camp, and while it’s sort of objective in its portrayal, that hasn’t stopped some viewers from seeing the place as scarier than Camp Crystal Lake.
3. SpaceCamp - This is the movie that both scared me more than any Jason Voorhees installment and sold me on the desire to attend Space Camp as a kid. Unfortunately my family couldn’t afford it. And unfortunately it wasn’t likely I would have wound up in space thanks to a chummy robot anyway.
Your Top Three Summer-Camp Movies (top three being Heavy Weights, Wet Hot American Summer and Camp Nowhere):
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