The sights and sounds of summer

For many students, the Florida heat has made it seem like summer has been burning on for quite some time now. Yet, according to the calendar, summer just began Tuesday.

For those looking to escape the blazing sun until they can make their way to the beach or cooler states, there are plenty of summer-suitable films, music and television episodes to indulge in.

The Oracle offers a few of its favorite summer entertainments that can be enjoyed in the air-conditioned confines of your home, and will prolong the seasonal fervor even past the final days of summer classes.


Many college students – especially recent graduates – can relate to Jesse Eisenberg’s character, James, in Greg Mottola’s “Adventureland.” James’ plans of backpacking across Europe are shattered when his father’s demotion at work means there is very little money waiting in his graduation card.

After his parents encourage him to get a job and save money for graduate school, James is forced to settle for a position at his hometown’s rundown amusement park. While spending time there, he encounters the sort of romance, drama and heartbreak he’s avoided all his life.

“Adventureland” left theaters almost as soon as it arrived, but the critical adoration and subsequent success on DVD has made this a modern cult hit.

The movie is both funny and heartwarming, but most of all, it evokes a sense of optimism about a summer that could lead to infinite possibilities.

-Benjamin Wright

“White Water Summer”

As far as summer coming-of-age films are concerned, there are a whole lot of them. From 1971’s “Summer of ‘42” to the previously mentioned “Adventureland,” characters have been transitioning into adulthood through summer flings, breakups and family discrepancies for decades.

1987’s “White Water Summer” is a little more fun and much simpler than all of that. The film follows a young homebody named Alan (Sean Astin) who is pushed to his physical limits during a summer mountain trek.

A determined trek leader named Vic is set on making sure Alan breaks his lazy ways, even if it costs Vic his own life.

Ruthlessly played by Kevin Bacon, Vic proves that summer can occasionally be a challenge in the best of ways, and while it’s far from a great film, “White Water Summer” delivers a message that is certainly durable.

-Benjamin Wright

“Wet Hot American Summer”

Not all summer movies take themselves seriously, as evidenced by “Wet Hot American Summer,” a parody of 1980s summer camp sex comedy romps.

The story follows camp director Beth (Janeane Garofalo) and counselors such as Coop (Michael Showalter) as they try to navigate summer romances. However, the loose premise frequently derails into absurdity, such as a “going into town” musical montage of increasingly drugged-out depravity.

Though it was widely ignored upon its initial release, “Wet Hot American Summer” has since gained a cult following and features several current celebrities such as Bradley Cooper and Amy Poehler.

Director David Wain even recently suggested on the Q&A Podcast that he’d like to make a prequel set during the same summer with “40-year-olds playing 16-year-olds.”

-Jimmy Geurts

“Summer of 4 Ft. 2”

In its examination of nearly every cultural phenomenon imaginable, “The Simpsons” finally turned its eyes to summer traditions with the season seven episode “Summer of 4 Ft. 2.”

With a title that’s a takeoff on “Summer of ’42,” the episode centers on Lisa as she tries to find popularity in a beach town far from her “teacher’s pet” reputation in Springfield.

From there, the “Simpsons” writers tackle every summertime topic from sprinkler sounds to illegal fireworks in the Cape Cod-esque surrounding of Little Pwagmattasquarmsettport.

“Summer of 4 Ft. 2” evokes its original airdate of the ’90s with Christina Ricci’s turn as slacker girl Erin – as well as the ’50s and ’70s with several “American Graffiti” references – but its observations about the sunniest season remain timeless.

-Jimmy Geurts

Best Coast, “Crazy for You”

Best Coast arrived on the scene with a substantial amount of buzz in the press and a nauseating amount of distortion from their guitars. Shedding their heavily distorted ways for a cleaner sound was a wise choice, because “Crazy for You” stands as a great summer album.

Between fast-paced jams like “Boyfriend” and more leisurely tracks like “Summer Mood” and “The End,” Best Coast tap into a very specific and, at times, droning summer rhythm.

That’s not to say droning is a bad thing – on the track “When I’m With You,” Bethany Cosentino’s lazy vocals make you want to skip the summer monotony and hold hands with a special someone.

While Best Coast’s songwriting formula is at times predictable, “Crazy for You” is 32 minutes of simple pop pleasure that’ll keep you listening long into the summer’s nights.

-Benjamin Wright

Hsker D, “New Day Rising”

If you’re looking for another Beach Boys alternative, Hsker D’s “New Day Rising” can work as a fuzzed-out, melodic summer album – the cover even displays two dogs playing in an ocean.

The album’s seasonal standout comes about midway with “Celebrated Summer.” With lyrics about spending a summer lazily and an acoustic bridge, the song is the band’s most accessible up to that point.

Though tracks like “How to Skin a Cat” may be less fitting for a beach setting, the acoustic guitar of “Celebrated Summer” and jangly piano of “Books About UFOs” shows Hsker D’s transition between hardcore and fuzzed-out bubblegum pop.

-Jimmy Geurts