There is something truly magical about going away to summer camp. From the fresh air in the great outdoors, to the fun-in-the-sun activities, and most importantly – the lifelong friendships it helps create. But just because most of us are spending summer indoors, doesn’t mean we can’t still have the camp experience. And thankfully, we don’t even have to leave our living rooms to do it. So here are some great movies to help you bring to life all of the fun camp feels you’re missing.
The Parent Trap
Is there a more life-changing camp experience than The Parent Trap? The movie that sent Lindsay Lohan into superstardom featured her in a double role at the age of 11 as twins named Annie and Hallie, who find out they are related when they meet for the first time at summer camp.
And like any true camp experience, pranks are a big part of their first encounter. While Annie manages to put everyone’s beds on the roof of the cabin (we’re not going to question logistics here), team Hallie retaliates by boobie trapping Annie’s cabin with strings, covering the floor in molasses, putting shaving cream on everyone – all of the the kid-prank works!
But while their relationship initially starts off rocky, summer camp is the place where Hallie and Annie grow close as they really get to know each other. And it’s where they start their scheme to get their parents back together, of course.
From rivalry, to friendship, and eventually sisterhood – summer camp is the one place that’s conducive to such a bonding experience, and it impacts their life paths forever.
Not all camps are all rainbows and butterflies though, and no camp is less fun Camp Green Lake in Holes. The award-winning book-turned-movie follows a young boy named Stanley, played by Shia LaBeouf, who’s wrongfully accused of stealing, and is sent to the desert camp as a form of punishment. But this isn’t your everyday camp – because the boys there have to dig holes all day, every day, and they’re not even told why.
The environment is harsh, hot and filthy, so Stanley’s camp experience is far from pleasant. But it turns out to be more worthwhile than he ever expected. Stanley finds out about his mysterious family history and what he’s truly physically and mentally capable of. And more importantly, he learns the value of friendship along the way too. This is one surprisingly heartfelt and meaningful camping experience you don’t want to miss.
Addams Family Values
Camp Chippewa is the place you want to go, not because of its fancy amenities or its flamboyant camp counselors, but because if its… unusual visitors. The obnoxiously bougie camp is the setting for a visit by the most morbid family we know in Addams Family Values. And the clash between these two contrasting worlds still holds up as must-see cinema.
Christina Ricci shines in all her dark glory as the witty Wednesday Addams, and some may argue she steals the show completely. At one point at the camp the kids go swimming in the lake, and Wednesday is paired up with her pretentious enemy, Sarah Miller. In true Wednesday fashion, she takes every chance to make lightning-speed comebacks following Sarah’s rudeness, and then some. The scene encompasses Wednesday’s unique charm and shows exactly why she’s such a stand-out in the best way possible.
And who can forget the Thanksgiving play that the kids so thoughtfully put together for their parents? What starts off as a typical Pilgrim and Native American feast play turns completely on its head when Wednesday, playing the role of Pocahontas, goes off the script. She brings due justice to the Pilgrims (including her mortal enemy, Sarah) with her sharp truth-bombs and impeccable deadpan comedic delivery. Oh, and she also sets the whole village set on fire because – why not?
This is one camp you’ll definitely want to visit, and maybe you’ll even make a brooding, good-natured friend or two.
Camp North Star is last on our list, but it’s certainly not the least. Bill Murray plays the role of the quirky head counselor, Tripper, in the lighthearted comedy, Meatballs. And there’s plenty to love about this film. From the heartwarming encouragement Tripper gives to the shy kid, Rudy, to the infamous Camp Olympic games that Camp North Star keeps losing to the rich-kid camp next door, Camp Mohawk. Their rivalry is a blast to watch, not just because of the games, but because of the universal battle of the ‘average’ kids versus the rich kids who cheat to win. You can’t help but root for the good guys to finally take the prize home.
But what may be the best part of the film is Tripper’s pep speech before the games even start. Everyone is feeling down because their camp has been losing the games for years. And Tripper manages to be encouraging and discouraging at the same time by just reminding the kids that whether they win or lose – it just doesn’t matter! Half the fun is watching Murray flail around and gauge the campers’ reactions as they start laughing, and it’s probably because he reportedly adlibbed over half of his lines in the film. In typical Bill Murray fashion, you just never know what to expect – but you know you’ll have a blast. And that’s exactly what Camp North Star is about.
If you’re looking for some wholesome encouragement wrapped up in a silly good time, this is the camp you need to visit.