Prompted by nothing more than an episode of Planet Earth, I decided that my Memorial Day weekend would be spent camping in the Catskill Mountains and rappelling down waterfalls. Having never done any of these things, I must say I was a bit nervous. But being prepared for the outdoors is important so I got a pen and paper and turned on the only thing I thought would help: Wet Hot American Summer. Now I know what you’re thinking, what am I supposed to learn about camping from a bunch of oversexed counselors and a chef who talks to a can of vegetables? And you would be right, almost nothing. But anyone who has ever been a counselor knows that forcing a camper to shower after two months is more difficult than surviving out in the wilderness. If Tom Hanks can survive 6 years on some island with only a volleyball and a pair of ice skates, how hard could it really be? With that in mind, this week I have decided to list a few of my favorite camp movies to get everyone in the mood for the weekend.
One of my favorites is the 1995 classic, Heavyweights. With comedic gems like Ben Stiller, Tim Blake Nelson, Allen Covert, and a young Kenan Thompson, it’s hard to believe that Judd Apatow‘s first movie does not get more attention. The movie centers on a group of overweight kids who must face a psycho ex-fitness instructor (Stiller) who tries to turn the camp into a 2-month infomercial. From canceling lunch because of a lack of hustle to bribing kids with Hershey kisses, Ben Stiller embodies what a perfectly terrible counselor should be. If you haven’t seen the movie yet and can’t picture Ben Stiller as a maniac fitness buff, think of Paulie D’s blow out and tan but with Ben Stiller’s face – its genius.
Long before Lindsay Lohan was seeing double for reasons other than special effects, fans fell in love with her for the movie Parent Trap. While only a portion of the movie was shot at camp, it is worth mentioning the scene where the American Lohan pierces the British Lohan’s ear. Maybe it was just me, but was anyone else wondering what kind of camp would allow little girls to have needles in their bunk? Furthermore, what type of person would let a random girl stab her ear with a needle? I know they had just figured out that they were sisters, but couldn’t she have just said that the holes closed after taking her earrings out for the summer? Infection problem solved. I guess Lohan’s destructive behavior as an adult is not so surprising after all.
You cannot talk about camp without mentioning Wet Hot American Summer. As i mentioned earlier, Wet Hot is an outrageous comedy about counselors who care more about getting drunk and hooking up than they do about their own campers. Looking back at the cast list I challenge anyone to name a movie that has had more stars come out of it in the last ten years. Here is a quick rundown: Paul Rudd, Elizabeth Banks, David Hyde Pierce, Amy Poehler, Michael Ian Black, Janeane Garofalo, Christopher Meloni, Molly Shannon and Bradley Cooper. Yeah I know, craziness. From throwing kids out of moving vans, to cleverly naming a camper David Ben-Gurion, this low-budget comedy is a must see for anyone getting prepared for camp.
While there are millions of camp movies I could mention, I will leave you with one final recommendation: Moonrise Kingdom! Having already received rave reviews at Cannes Film Festival, Wes Anderson’s latest creation centers on a pair of young lovers who flee their New England Camp setting off chaos in the local town. Starring Ed Norton, Bruce Willis, Bill Murray, Jason Schwartzman, and Frances McDormand, this one is sure to be an instant classic. Since I should probably start studying real camping materials, I will end this blog with a quick poll:
The Parent Trap
Wet Hot American Summer