Spring break is a little over a week away, and if you’re feeling particularly stressed in the midst of midterms, it’s a great time to relax with a handful of movies about that which we are all looking forward to desperately: vacation. Sure, this list may include everything from a creature feature to a meditative Mexican teen road movie, but all of these films are terrific, and as we near a period of much needed rest, they’re all quite appropriate in helping us further anticipate the occasion.
From the director of Animal House comes the story of two backpacking NYU kids unlucky enough to face a nasty beast one evening on the English moors, and that’s before all the Nazi-heavy nightmares, decomposing ghosts, and residual college-age anxieties come into play.
Is it the funniest horror film ever made, or rather, the most frightening comedy? No matter your read John Landis’ genre-defying 1981 classic, the transformation sequence still looks tremendous, and the soundtrack inventively loads up on every imaginable pop song with the word “moon” in the title. If you’re a fan of Shaun of the Dead (a film notably inspired by this one), then this is definitely a must watch.
Edited down from an award-winning six episode BBC sitcom, The Trip stars Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon as fictionalized versions of themselves traveling through the north of England to sample some great restaurants, engage in increasingly contentious banter, and contemplate their lives thus far with a surprising degree of thoughtfulness. Think Sideways with a dry British wit and dueling Michael Caine impressions, and you’re on the right track.
This movie’s not for everyone, but if the idea of an absurdist romp featuring Christopher Meloni as a Vietnam-scarred cafeteria worker who learns valuable life lessons from a talking can of vegetables makes you giggle even in the slightest, you may be in a position to appreciate the unique brilliance of Wet Hot American Summer.
A parody of 1980s summer camp sex comedies (a particularly obscure subgenre in its own right), Wet Hot American Summer remains completely disinterested in basic narrative logic throughout its pursuit of laughs, but if you’re on the comedic wavelength of the people behind “Stella” and “The State,” then this stream-of-consciousness quality somehow makes it even funnier. Also, there’s a part where Paul Rudd spends a minute defiantly trying to pick a plate up off of the ground that’s one of the funniest things we’ve ever seen. Followed closely by his epic double take from later in the movie. The point we’re trying to make is that Paul Rudd is awesome, and for that matter, this movie is too.
Alfonso Cuaron can do just about anything. He’s given us the best Harry Potter movie (Prisoner of Azkaban), one of the absolute best films of the past decade (Children of Men), and this road movie gem, which follows a pair of teenage boys who abscond with an older woman for a weekend trip to a Mexican beach. But it’s also so much more than that, with the initial hedonistic impulses of the kids dissipating as Cuaron beautifully manages to capture one of those strange summers where nothing really happens but everything changes. There’s plenty of room for it to become trite, but the possibility never emerges as Y Tu Mama Tambien effortlessly balances its tone amid meditations on life, death, sex, youth, class, and change.