10 Summer Camp Movies We Love
Camp Movie: The Parent Trap
Every time we’re about to forget that Lindsay Lohan was once a promising young actress, we watch The Parent Trap and she steals our hearts all over again. Playing identical twins Hallie and Annie, LiLo makes us want to go back to camp with her secret handshakes, high-stakes poker games, and—duh—life-swapping. We can also thank this movie for introducing us to the truly mind-blowing idea of dipping Oreos into peanut butter.
Camp Movie: Wet Hot American Summer
What happens when Amy Poehler, Bradley Cooper, Elizabeth Banks, and about a hundred other funny folks team up to make a complete mockery of a camp movie? Cult-fave comedy Wet Hot American Summer is born, that’s what. Set in 1981 on the last day at a sleep-away camp (that could totally double as a hippie commune), this story of hopelessly in-love counselor Coop (Michael Showalter) is the perfect summer farce—as long as you’re completely prepared to hate Paul Rudd for a couple of hours.
Camp Movie: Moonrise Kingdom
Inthis film set in 1965, two preteen misfits decide to run away from their respective summer spots—including “Khaki Scout” camp—to spend time hiking and bonding. Thanks to the killer cast (Tilda Swinton! Edward Norton!) and clever script, this quirky-cool story of summer love might be director Wes Anderson’s finest film yet.
Camp Movie: It Takes Two
How cute were Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen in It Takes Two?! Before they were schlepping giant Starbucks lattes and taking the fashion world by storm, the Olsen twins were causing all sorts of shenanigans alongside Steve Guttenberg and Kirstie Alley as street-wise orphan Amanda Lemmon (Mary-Kate) and rich-girl Alyssa Callaway (Ashley). We aren’t certain if we would have preferred Amanda’s awesome camp or Alyssa’s upscale mansion, but one thing’s for sure: We’re still envious of that epic food fight between Guttenberg, Alley, and an entire mess-hall full of screaming campers.
Camp Movie: Little Darlings
Nineteen years before American Pie hit theaters, two teenage girls played by Tatum O’Neal and Kristy McNichol made a bet to see who could lose her virginity first. A recipe for disaster? Of course. A classic summer movie? Definitely. Even if you’re watching for the young—but surprisingly sexy—Matt Dillon or a pre-Sex and the City Cynthia Nixon, you’ll get sucked into this story of two girls discovering the real meaning of doing “it.”
Camp Movie: Fired Up!
Two womanizing football players join the cheerleading squad with one goal in mind: to hook up with as many girls at cheer camp as possible. But the plan goes awry when—gasp!—one of the guys falls for his own team’s cheerleading captain, Carly, who has a college boyfriend with a love of puns and Crocs. Between the two gorgeous, goofy lead guys (Nicholas D’Agosto and Eric Christian Olsen) and the hilariously exaggerated cheer drama, this movie got us, uh , fired up.
Camp Movie: The Baby-Sitters Club
Who didn’t have a favorite Baby-Sitters Club member in this flick about seven different friends opening a neighborhood day camp? Whether you were a fan of cool artist Claudia, tomboy Kristy or horse-lover Mary Anne, there was a baby-sitter counterpart for everyone. Plus, with ’90s stars Larysa Oleynik and Rachael Leigh Cook in the cast, The Baby-Sitters Club is summer movie nostalgia at its finest.
Camp Movie: Heavyweights
Admit it: Whenever you see Heavyweights on TV, you drop everything (except your sandwich) and watch. How could you not? With a borderline-psychotic Ben Stiller taking over the weight-loss camp and a young Kenan Thompson as one of the campers, this movie is pure awesomeness. Another reason you’re addicted but had no idea why? Judd Apatow was both a writer and producer.
Camp Movie: Camp
The ultimate flick for Broadway-lovers, Camp makes us sad we didn’t spend our summers at a place like Camp Ovation back in the day. When a group of teens from different backgrounds—including Fritzi (played by Anna Kendrick!) and Vlad, “an honest-to-God straight boy”—come together, you can count on plenty of teen angst amid the show tunes. And that, friends, is something you don’t need a degree in musical theater to appreciate.
Camp Movie: Troop Beverly Hills
OK, so Troop Beverly Hills may not technically be a camp movie, but it has all the essential components. When Phyllis (Shelley Long) volunteers to lead her daughter Hannah’s Wilderness Girl troop, the clan ends up just chillin’ at the Beverly Hills Hotel. When another troop leader tries to disband the poolside party, the girls are forced to face the actual wilderness, sans housekeeping but complete with water moccasins. Luckily, they make it through the challenges with their dignity—and permed hair—intact.