"End of Summer Essential Films"

Ends are always the worst. The same goes for the end of Summer, even if that means nothing really changes for some of you; in honor of Labor Day (since we’re not going out anyway) and celebrating the end of the warm season, I’ve compiled some films I really enjoy watching when I’m feeling a bit wistful. Here are my end-of-Summer essential films to watch!

This classic 1986 Rob Reiner film is an essential must see if you’re feeling a bit of youthful nostalgia. As the sweltering heat of the Summer subsides and we celebrate our Labor Days in (social distancing-yes!), we all deserve a respite, and I find mine in this coming-of-age classic. As the film is adapted from Stephen King’s The Body, there’s plenty of darkness and grit surrounding the core story, resulting in a more dimensional movie than other films with a similar trope. The relatable melancholy of Stand By Me gets me everytime.

One of my favorite Takeshi Kitano films, Hana-bi is one of Kitano’s most impulsive and provocative films I’ve ever seen. Following the same vein of his other films, Hana-bi is nothing but conventional in its storytelling; it is a film about different states of mind and consequences. The beautiful and mundane scenes of ordinary life are splintered and contrasted by the protagonist’s abrupt episodes of violence and Horibe’s colorful and disturbing pictures. The person who you think is hopeless, depressed, and resigned is not who you expect.

There’s always a twinge of sadness at the end of Summer; I don’t know if it’s the end of those warm, Summer nights or the loss of the feeling that you can get away at any time. If you’re like me and you feel a bit down, watch Mike Judge’s first live-action film, Office Space. The hilarious satire of mundane and dreary office life in combination with the film’s surreal humor are what make Office Space a cult classic and as relevant as ever, even 20 years later. Also, the white-collar angst scenes juxtaposed with a hard-core rap soundtrack is reason enough to catch this movie.

When I think about the end of Summer, that sweet spot where everything seems still and lazy, I often find myself feeling like I did as a young girl. And for whatever reason, that inquisitive innocence brings me immediately to Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away. Probably the most well-known of the Studio Ghibli films, Spirited Away is, without a doubt, one of the most visually striking films of all time. If you want to be taken away to a beautiful land that is probably always in Summer, then this is the film for you. Miyazaki’s seamless knack of combining mysticism, boundless imagination, and visually rich details make for a captivating viewing experience. You will not forget the tiny, minute details that Miyazaki hand-drew or the enthralling and complex narrative; Miyazaki is a master.

With love,
Hailee

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