Hang in there, Quakers. While it might not feel like it judging by the weather outside, summer vacation is only a couple of weeks away. As you begin to struggle through projects and finals, you might already feel like you need a respite from school. Consider putting off your work to watch one of these movies that could provide you with some much–needed escape.
If you’re planning a summer back home: American Graffiti
If you’re headed back home to a boring small town or drab suburb come May, you might feel like you’re missing out compared to your friends with more exotic plans. But if you want a high–powered dose of nostalgia and a reminder of teenage summer shenanigans that could actually make you excited to head back, American Graffiti is your movie. While the story of four high school graduates driving around their town before they head off to college and stirring up trouble all night long might sound too familiar, this George Lucas and Francis Ford Coppola film did it first—and did it best. American Graffiti is such unabashed fun that it might actually make you want to call your high school friends up and relive some of your glory days.
If you’re dreaming about a European getaway: Before Sunrise
We’d all rather be touring Europe and falling in love than taking midterms and writing papers. Regardless of where you’re headed this summer, if you want a little bit of escape to somewhere far away and a damn good love story to boot, try Before Sunrise. The first movie in director Richard Linklater’s innovative trilogy that tells the story of a relationship over the course of two decades, Before Sunrise is the charming and giddy start of the relationship, in which the American Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and French Céline (Julie Delpy) meet on a train and get off at Vienna together, trying to make the most of what they assume will be their only night together. It’s a sweet and riveting story about what it means to be alive and in love, and it might just have you looking up plane tickets by the movie’s end.
If you’re looking for a different kind of trip: Y Tu Mamá También
Of course, maybe you have something a little less wholesome planned for your vacation. If you have an absolutely crazy summer in store, wish that you did, or just want a grittier and sexier take on the road trip movie, watch the Mexican drama Y Tu Mamá También. The story of two teenage boys (Diego Luna and Gael García Bernal) who meet an older woman (Maribel Verdú) at a wedding and convince her to accompany them on a road trip through the country, Y Tu Mamá También does not shy away from copious sex and drug usage, but it also provides deeper commentary on the social and economic realities of Mexico.
If you’re looking forward to festival season: Woodstock
Already got your tickets for Lolla? Counting down the days until Outside Lands? If you’re a music lover who looks forward to summer for the music festivals, and you haven’t seen the definitive documentary about the most historic festival of all, then Woodstock is a must. From Jimi Hendrix to Joan Baez, Woodstock captures legendary performances from the storied 1969 event, but Woodstock is as much about the people who came to listen as the music itself. While Woodstock itself might be long gone, the cultural moment that this movie captured lives on, and it’s well worth coming back to.
If real life is about to hit: The Graduate
Whether you’re a senior who's gearing up to face the “real world” after May 14th, or an underclassman spending your summer bringing coffee to executives, the next few months might be less about having fun and more about worrying over the looming realities of adult life that lie ahead. If this sounds like you, you’re not alone—and there’s no better on screen role model than The Graduate’s Benjamin Braddock (Dustin Hoffman), who is also “a little worried about his future.” The Graduate is a classic tale of a recent Williams graduate who, lost and adrift after returning home to Southern California, lets himself be seduced by an older woman, Mrs. Robinson (Anne Bancroft). Whether you’ve seen this movie a hundred times or are just finding it now, it remains hilarious, charming, and real—and there is no better time to watch it than when you’re feeling that sense of uncertainty yourself.