Summer can be a great time for movies that are entertaining, light, fluffy, fun, and don't necessarily require a lot of thought. Watching diverting summer movies on DVD is a great way to relax and keep cool. Listed in alphabetical order, here are a few suggestions.
'American Pie 2'
American Pie 2 is a mindless, good-natured comedy, and in some ways it is even funnier than the original American Pie. This time around, Jim and his buddies have just finished their first year of college, and the sex-obsessed guys rent a lakeside house for the summer. This is a sequel, and much of the humor revolves around jokes that spark off the earlier film. But I'll admit I laughed myself silly, so I'm not really complaining.
'Austin Powers in Goldmember'
I enjoyed all three Austin Powers movies, and I think this is the best of the bunch. Mike Myers again stars as randy British super-spy Austin Powers in this zany comedy that spoofs James Bond films. Austin's archenemy Dr. Evil (also played by Myers) teams up with a peculiar Dutchman named Goldmember (Myers in a third role) in an attempt to acquire a device that will allow him world domination.
Mel Brooks' Blazing Saddles is one of the most hilarious movies I've ever seen. What passes for narrative is driven by the premise that an African American man becomes the sheriff in a racially prejudiced town in the Old West. This serves as a situation in which Brooks strings together a series of comedy sketches parodying Western movies. Among the most memorable of the sketches are cowboys eating beans and breaking wind and Lili Von Shtupp (Madeline Kahn) performing "I'm Tired."
'A Mighty Wind'
Christopher Guest skewered dog competitions in Best in Show, community theater in Waiting for Guffman, and in A Mighty Wind his target is folk music. Three groupsthe Folksmen, the New Main Street Singers, and Mitch and Mickeyare brought back for a concert to honor a legendary impresario who died. There are lots of laughs in "A Mighty Wind," but the humor in this movie is a little gentler than in some of Guest's others. He's made funnier films, but this is one of my favorites.
Set in contemporary Delhi during the summer rainy season, this enchanting movie is a joyous celebration of life. The film centers around the wedding of the only daughter of Lalit and Pimmi Verma, an upper-middle-class Punjabi family. I found Monsoon Wedding to be a feast for the eyes with its dazzling color palette that uses lots of oranges and reds. Also, I liked the Indian music used in the film; it very nicely complements the visual style and subject matter.
'Ocean's Eleven' (2001)
Danny Ocean (George Clooney), assisted by his old buddy Rusty Ryan (Brad Pitt), assembles a team that consists of eleven men, and they set out to rob three Las Vegas casinos. There's more than just money at stake for Danny: he also tries to win back his ex-wife Tess (Julia Roberts). I usually don't like heist movies, but I loved Ocean's Eleven. This film is not high art, but it is pure entertainment, and watching it is a terrific way to forget about the summer heat.
'Singin' in the Rain'
Singin' in the Rain has long been one of my favorites. It's arguably the greatest screen musical of all time, and it's also one of the best comedies ever. In addition to Gene Kelly's iconic rendition of the title tune, I always enjoy Donald O'Connor's energetic "Make 'Em Laugh," as well as those two male performers teaming up with Debbie Reynolds for the cheerful "Good Morning." I think Jean Hagen is hilarious as the actress with the unpleasant nasal speaking voice.
In this diverting mix of action, drama, and romance, Spider-Man faces a new enemy: the demonic, powerful, part-mechanical, part-human, octopus-like creature known as Doc Ock. But Spider-Man also has problems in his personal life. Peter Parker, Spider-Man's alter ego, is madly in love with Mary Jane Watson, but in Spider-Man 2, she is about to marry another. Peter has an identity crisis, and at one point, he gives up crime-fighting and throws his Spider-Man costume in the trash.
'Star Wars Trilogy'
I've always found George Lucas' first three Star Wars films, now collectively known as the Star Wars Trilogy, to be lots of fun. I see these three moviesnow individually called Episode IV: A New Hope (1977), Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980), and Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (1983)as forming a unified whole. They are set in some distant galaxy during a civil war, and I would say they tell an elaborate coming-of-age tale about the maturation of Luke Skywalker.
Tom Hanks and Catherine Zeta-Jones star in this lighthearted movie directed by Steven Spielberg. An Eastern European named Viktor Navorski (Hanks) lives at New York's JFK Airport for months due to a military coup in his home country and bureaucratic regulations. Hanks is at his charismatic best in this delightfully diverting film that has just the right mix of comedy, drama, and romance. What I enjoyed about this movie was becoming immersed in a Spielberg world filled with possibilities.