16 & 17: My Summer MUST List

It’s Memorial Weekend here in the states, which for many people (and especially Hollywood), signals the beginning of summer.  Despite the cooler, somewhat dreary weather here in my part of Missouri today, I can’t help thinking about the things that excite me most about summertime.

My Personal Must-List for the Summer

1. Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows: Part II  (out July 15) This is my biggest MUST.  Sadly, this summer brings the official end to all things Harry Potter with the last film of the series.  It’s highly emotional for me because I’ve spent more than half my life with Harry.  I graduated from high school the same year the last book came out, and now the last film comes out the summer after I graduate from college.  I’m not sure how it worked out that way, but it’s really beautiful.

2. Super 8 (out June 10) This film, directed by J.J. Abrams and exec-produced by Steven Spielberg, is going to be the film people talk about all summer long.  The plot has been kept extremely secret by everyone involved, but from the trailers, it looks like the Goonies meets Close Encounters of the Third Kind.  The film has an old-school Spielbergian feel.  I’m digging the trailers and the use of mostly no-name actors (save for Kyle Chandler of Friday Night Lights fame).  This is a must-see for me.

3. So You Think You Can Dance (Wed & Thurs 8/7c on FOX) I don’t watch a lot of TV in the summer, preferring to hit the movie theatre instead, but my can’t-miss-it-TV-show is So You Think You Can Dance.  I haven’t missed a season since this show started.  As a dancer, I love the way it celebrates all styles of dance, introduces America to some of the world’s best choreographers, and showcases some of the best, hardest working dancers I’ve ever seen.  Not to mention I love host Cat Deeley and judge Mary Murphy.  All aboard the Hot Tamale Train!!!

4. Mad Men season 4 (on DVD) I usually don’t have time to watch this when it actually airs on AMC, and because of lengthy contract negotiations, season 5 is on hold until 2012.  That being said, I’m using this summer to catch up on the fourth season of my favorite TV drama.  Why Jon Hamm hasn’t won an Emmy yet for Best Actor baffles me, and in this season of change both personally and professionally for Don Draper (and his Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce ad firm), Hamm is at his most superb.  There isn’t a better-written, better-acted, more stylish show on television.  Period.

5. Born This Way by Lady Gaga (available now) I fully admit to being a “Little Monster,” and I am always intrigued and excited to hear and see what Gaga has come up with.  I admire her not only for her musical abilities but also her dedication to her craft.  No other musical artist out there pushes more boundaries.  She is a true performance artist.  Love her or hate her, you can’t deny she has a complete vision for her art.  The track I’m most digging?  The 1980s saxophone-tastic “Edge of Glory” featuring Clarence Clemons of the E Street Band.

6. Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares (in stores June 14) At age 22, I am not even remotely embarrassed to want to read this fifth entry in the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants book series.  This book checks in on the fabulous Tibby, Bridget, Carmen, and Lena ten years after the fourth Sisterhood novel.  The Traveling Pants series has always been one of my favorite summer reads over the years, and though this new novel may not exactly be marketed to my age group, I’m still planning on catching up with my girls this summer!

7. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (available now) It’s the book series (and future movie series) everyone is talking about.  I figured this summer is the perfect time to investigate this dystopian novel trilogy about a girl forced to fight for her survival.

8. JAWS (available on DVD) Summertime always makes me think of Spielberg movies, and this is one of my all-time favorites.  Everyone knows it’s all about a shark that terrorizes a resort-town, but it still never ceases to thrill and engage me.  And who doesn’t love Roy Scheider, Richard Dreyfuss, and Robert Shaw chasing down the giant killer shark while drunkenly singing not to mention John Williams’ epic score?

9. Raiders of the Lost Ark (available on DVD) My all-time favorite summer movie.  It has everything: action, adventure, romance, mystery, John Williams music, shirtless Harrison Ford, and Steven Spielberg’s masterful eye behind the camera.  The opening sequence with the idol and the rolling stone ball is absolute perfection and STILL one of the best action sequences ever filmed.  Indiana Jones never disappoints.

10. Now & Then (available on DVD) One of my favorite movies growing up in the 1990s.  I still get nostalgic watching this movie about four friends coming of age in the early 70s one summer.  From Roberta’s first kiss with Scott Wormer and Chrissy getting bird poop in her hair to Sam and Teeny’s treehouse confessions, I think anyone will find it hard not to think back on their own adolescence without laughing and maybe a few tears.

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