This week, I have had the fortune of working from a cottage, surrounded by trees, birds, and a large and peaceful lake (as well as insidious horse flies, determined mosquitoes, and about 50 million caterpillars). In between the work and the sun, I've mused about cottages and movies. There's not many cottage-based films out there -- at least not ones that are about the actual experience, rather than something about a scary killer, or maybe a campfire ghost story.
But there are a lot of camping movies. You have color wars, swimsuits, canoes, trees, and all of that big nature-on-the-water stuff. I wanted to include Poison Ivy tonight, the awesome TV-movie camp fest that stars Michael J. Fox and Nancy McKeon, a counselor and camp nurse who team up with the kids to face off against Adam Baldwin's evil Ike Dimick. However, I can't find so much as a trailer for that.
So instead, whip up some smores and check out an old classic and newer gem -- Meatballs and Happy Campers.
Ah, Meatballs. This is the film that almost made me reconsider my distaste for summer camp after a particularly not-fun stint at a Girl Scouts camp. The thought of new friends and fun in the sun is good and all, but I was all over the idea of Bill Murray as camp counselor. Much of my admiration came from this scene, where the typical, rousing speech that wouldn't have worked on anyone in real life was replaced with Murray's laid back sarcasm.
Bill plays Tripper, the head counselor of Camp Northstar, where a melange of misfits are spending the summer in Haliburton, Ontario. There are counselors, romance, practical jokes, the shy kid who struggles to find himself, and the obligatory camp games, which pits Northstar's campers against the athletically superior Camp Mohawk kids.
And while Poison Ivy might be out of my reach, the television movie is pretty much a rip off of Meatballs anyway. Except, instead for a soccer-deficient shy kid, there's the boy who can't swim.
What $1,000 a week will buy you.
Meatballs: I Know What You Did 28 Summers Ago
The campfire song.
Hiyah! ...on a motorcycle.
No trailer this time around, but check out the clips below.
From the pen and directorial eye of Daniel Waters (the brain behind Heathers), Happy Campers is the darkly comedic approach to camping -- with less of a teen angst body count. It all takes place at Camp Bleeding Dove, where Oberon (Peter Stormare) rules with an iron tongue, and a collection of recognizable actors work through their dysfunction in the trees -- Brad Renfro, Dominique Swain, Justin Long, Keram Malicki-Sanchez, Emily Bergl, James King, and Jordan Bridges.
This isn't like Heathers, and it's certainly not as much of a classic as Meatballs, but its got its Waters' charm -- in a more youthful package. And the writing, no matter what it looked like on the big screen, is 100% Waters:
"Life sucks - in a good way. Falling in love, falling in hate, getting laid, getting hurt - what's one without the other? When it comes to the ritual of growing up, sometimes you smile because you're happy. Other times, you smile just because you've survived. But hey, a smile is a smile. "
Warning: This isn't family fare, so some of these clips are NSFW.
The lascivious bet.
Girlish forays in the night.