My kids are all back at home, all in the house and we have 62 days (all of July and August) until potentially we’re split up again. I remember when they were young looking at the six weeks of summer holidays with a strange blend of excitement and anxiety. Would the weather be good or bad? Did I have enough cash to stretch to everything we wanted to do? (answer: no, never) Was there enough excitement in the weeks ahead and enough boredom sessions so that we all learned to cope with not doing everything at 100 miles an hour?
I loved the untimetabled way of life that was summer. All the activities ended, very often the cousins and friends were away (one memorable year everybody I hung around with went away at the same time, and we had three weeks of no contact with anybody except the five of us in the house. I think my eldest was only five, while the youngest was barely 16 months. That was a long summer) and we had time to do something or nothing as the mood took us. I would plan possible trips, crafts and ideas to fill up a really bored moment, but we used to just hang and do our own things, gather for lunch, watch TV, walk and play.
Life is still pretty much the same for them, but I lost my summer holidays when I agreed to work full time with the husband. I miss it, yes, but I find I really appreciate the times when I do get to be off now. This year I will get more time at home than previously, because Sarah the Daughter is covering for me a few days to earn extra money. Days at home: yummy! What shall I do with my free time?
Well, of course, it’s not really free. I have a few cupboards and room areas that need proper clearing and a decent clean. The garage, for one. The garden needs some TLC although I’m tempted to cry ‘Enough!’ and find a gardener. But whether I’m working at home or in the office, my evenings are mine and I have a hankering to find some decent summer movies to put me in the summer mood. Romances, horror, musicals, drama, actions, arthouse…. I went trawling to find a selection that would suit me. I have over 95 possible choices! And, with football and a weekend away biting into those 62 days. I won’t need all of them. In fact I will probably not get even half way along my list. I do, however, have my top ten must watch movies for 2021. And, rather fortuitously, they even fit in with some of the lines in Phineas and Ferb’s theme song above. In no particular order, they are:
Stand By Me (1987) River Phoenix and Wil Wheaton in a fantastic movie directed by Rob Reiner. I haven’t watched it in ages, but I remember crying buckets. Time for another roadtrip with the four boys searching for a missing boy’s body.
Point Break (1991) I saw this on a date with my then-boyfriend, and the combination of Patrick Swayze and Keanu Reeves did not over power my love for that man. Reader, I married him. The film is a great adventure-action-heist movie, with Keanu Reeves as an undercover FBI agent sent in to expose surfers who commit their heists wearing presidential masks. Due another remake, now President Trump could be one, I think.
Jaws (1975) I was too young to see this at the cinema originally. I mean, really too young. I was only 7. When I did eventually get to see it on the small screen, it was fantastic. Not for the plastic shark which, let’s face it, works better in long distance but for the interplay between Roy Schneider, Richard Dreyfuss and Robert Shaw. In the folly of youth I thought Richard Dreyfuss was the best: now, I’d pick Robert Shaw every time. And the film? The music does me. Goosebumps.
Roman Holiday (1953) Every summer needs a little black and white romance, and even better if that romance is as beautiful as Carey Grant and Audrey Hepburn. A princess, dogged by reporters and gossip columnists escapes for a brief flirtation with a handsome reporter who is tired of Rome and dreams of escaping back to the US. It’s lovely. To enjoy with a good gin and tonic or Aperol spritz. There is a 1987 TV movie remake which I have always managed to miss and a modern version with the President’s daughter and Prague, called Chasing Liberty.
Fools Gold (2008) A couple on the verge of splitting find a map and the lure of hidden treasure and set off to find it. It’s not high theatre, but sometimes the best movies aren’t. It’s enjoyable escapism with Matthew Mahogany and Kate Hudson. Matthew Mahogany is in Sahara as well, another adventure story with buried Nazis, instead of treasure, and a desert instead of tropical islands.
Somethings Gotta Give (2004) I have a confession: I missed this movie when it was first out as well. Too busy with those children. I’ve never caught up with it since, but I think now might be the time. It has, apparently, a beautiful beachside house in the Hamptons. I don’t care what the story is, this might be one of those movies you watch for the background. What do you mean, Keanu Reeves is in it as well? Double bonus.
Eat Pray Love (2010) I watched this early one morning on holiday in Wales (you all know I love Wales, right?) and really loved it. From New York to Italy and Thailand, the locations are fabulous, but the life message that we only get one life, so live it well: that’s priceless. And Julia Roberts is just a star.
The Mummy (1999) and The Mummy Returns (2001) are my Daughter’s favourite stress-relieving movies. When she moved away to University last year, these were the two first purchases she made on her own Amazon account. Thanks to her, we’ve seen these hundreds of times and they are still cracking adventures. And young Brendan Fraser… enjoyable.
Nights In Rodanthe (2008) is another one of the movies I missed out on as a young Mum. I mean, when it came out in 2008 I was 40 with three children aged 10 and below. Escaping to a seaside inn? Meeting a divorced doctor? Starting a new life? They weren’t even on my fantasy list. Diane Lane and Richard Gere star, but the North Carolina coast, and the power of nature, make excellent co-stars.
Under the Tuscan Sky (2003) Also starring Diane Lane, also about a woman who makes a big change in her life to escape from her problems and also a film where the location makes a starring role. I could have chosen A Good Year, Letters to Juliet, Chasing Liberty or Wine Country. All (most) strong female leads, all strong movies on location. When the grey clouds of August hit, I will be in Italy, France, Spain or somewhere sunny. In my mind, at least.
Extra Easter Egg: The Twilight Saga: New Moon (2009) I know the Twilight films are like Marmite for people, you either love them or loathe them, but bear with me for this one. Even if you do nothing else, fast forward to the Italian scenes at the end, filmed in Montepulciano, Italy. Another one on my must-visit list, and the area that produces my favourite wine, Montepulciano D’Abrusso.
Those are my ten (eleven) must-watch movies this year. Which movies put you in the vacation vibe? Do you have a favourite escape? Let me know either in the comments below or in the comments on social media. I look forward to hearing from you!
The header today is Florence, by Y. Peyankov on Unsplash. I loved the evening light, the pinks and wispy blues, and the mellow golden yellow buildings to either side. I’d like a table by the river, a bottle of fruity red and a peach, fresh, juicy and ready to eat. Oh, and a towel to wipe myself clean afterwards.
How to Hygge the British Way is my gift to the world. I don’t get paid for writing it, I’m not in it for the kudos, financial rewards, to become an influencer, work with brands or otherwise make any money from the blog. That’s why there are no ads, and any products I mention and recommend have either been gifted to me or bought by me with my everyday wages or donations from supporters. Every book I review has been bought and read by me, unless stated otherwise.
I do get a couple of pennies each time someone buys from the Amazon links on my page, as an Amazon Affiliate, but otherwise if you’d like to support me, I like to give something back in return. That’s why I write books. It always feels good if you get a book back in return for some money. You can find a full list of my books at my Author’s Page on Amazon, but especially recommended for this time of year are:
Happier: Probably my most personal book, it’s the story of how I used hygge and the little things in life to help boost my happiness. I still go back and reread to remind myself what I need to do to be a happy human.
Cosy Happy Hygge: Setting up a rhythm to life and rituals to enjoy it to make for a more balanced life that handles waves and storms better.
How to Hygge Your Summer: Hygge isn’t just about candles, throws and fireside cuppas (if indeed it is ever actually about them) and this book gives you ideas for creating hygge ready spaces and paces of life throughout the summer.
If you’d like to support me, but don’t want to buy a book, I have a Paypal.Me account as Hygge Jem. Every little helps, so even a few pence goes towards the books, goods and courses I use and recommend on the site. I’m grateful for every little bit that brings me closer to my dream of full-time writing, and I know I couldn’t still be writing if it weren’t for the support of many readers and friends out there. Thank you all for every little bit of support, emotional, physical and financial, you give me.
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