Five Films That Will Make Your Summer Sizzle

From arthouse to camp, let the good times roll

Impossible to define or resist, summer movies are a special kind of cinematic indulgence that appeal to all of our sensations, be they silly, thrilling, or sultry.

So we’ve put together a slate of summer films that are sure to celebrate the season and keep you entertained.

The official trailer for Asteroid City

Liev Schreiber, Steve Carell, Stephen Park, and Hope Davis in Asteroid City

Asteroid City | A Summer Spectacle

Set in the summer of 1955, Wes Anderson’s Asteroid City is, according to The Film Stage, “a sultry, creamy western that feels more like a vacation.” An extraordinary group of characters—played by Scarlett JohanssonTom HanksJason SchwartzmanBryan CranstonJeffrey WrightSteve CarellHope Davis, and Maya Hawke, among others—gather in the desert whistle stop for the Junior Stargazer/Space Cadet convention and, quite by accident, share a miraculous experience together. Their surreal summer reverie is enhanced by Anderson’s impeccable production design. writes, “The orange of the desert and the cloudless blue sky create the visual equivalent of eating a Creamsicle on a sunny day.” For Pioneer Press, “Funny, profound Asteroid City feels like the movie of the summer.”

Get tickets For Asteroid City or watch it on demand now!

"School's Out!" clip from Dazed and Confused

Rory Cochrane, Sasha Jenson, and Jason London in Dazed and Confused

Dazed and Confused | School’s Out

Calling Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused “still the best summer movie ever made,” Digital Trends was highlighting the film’s full-throttle exuberance. Set on the last day of classes at Lee High School in 1976, the film interweaves the lives of various characters as they prepare for summer. From a fun-loving quarterback (Jason London) to a sadistic cheerleader (Parker Posey) to a perennial slacker (Matthew McConaughey), everyone is out for a good time. When the film was released in 1993, Entertainment Weekly wrote, “Once every decade or so, a movie captures the hormone-drenched, fashion-crazed, pop-song-driven rituals of American youth culture with such loving authenticity that it comes to seem a kind of anthem, as innocently giddy and spirited as the teenagers it’s about.”

Watch Dazed and Confused on iTunes or Amazon!

Learn more about how Focus Features is celebrating the film’s 30th anniversary.

"Paul Rudd's a Terrible Lifeguard" clip from Wet Hot American Summer 

Paul Rudd and Zak Orth in Wet Hot American Summer

Wet Hot American Summer | Pure Camp

Set in 1981 on the last day of Camp Firewood’s season, David Wain’s Wet Hot American Summer is a hilarious spoof of both the reality and fantasy of summer camps. While the film borrows from such adolescent fare as Meatballs, Wain told Vanity Fair, “Wet Hot was much more inspired by my and Michael Showalter’s real-life camp experiences.” With a stellar group of up-and-coming actors—including Paul RuddAmy PoehlerJaneane GarofaloMolly Shannon, and Bradley Cooper—the filmmakers let the cast go wild at an abandoned summer camp in Pennsylvania. The result is inspired mayhem. Entertainment Weekly gives the film an “A” for its “loving and meticulous re-creation of the last moment before American youth culture went permanently ironic.”

Watch Wet Hot American Summer on iTunes or Amazon!

Ludivine Sagnier and Charlotte Rampling in Swimming Pool

Swimming Pool | Heat Wave

In François Ozon’s sultry thriller Swimming PoolCharlotte Rampling plays a London mystery writer who borrows her publisher’s home in the south of France for a summer hiatus from her imaginative world of murder and mayhem. Instead, she finds unexpected inspiration in a mysterious young beauty (Ludivine Sagnier) whose uncertain background and seductive behavior spark the writer’s imagination, melting the line between fact and fantasy in the hot afternoon sun. For the Austin Chronicle, “Swimming Pool is as atypical a summer film as they come—no explosions, no car chases, no Arnold—but immensely more pleasing than films with all three of those summertime staples.” And like any good summer thriller, SFGate notes, it “mesmerizes long after the movie is over.”

Watch Swimming Pool on iTunes or Amazon!

The official trailer for Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris 

Lesley Manville in Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris

Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris | A Summer Delight

In Anthony Fabian’s Mrs. Harris Goes to ParisLesley Manville’s winning performance, according to Deadline, “shines in fashionably smart and stylish summer delight.” A charwoman in 1950s London, Mrs. Harris finds a purpose in her life when she spies a Dior couture gown one afternoon in a client’s apartment. Determined to have one for herself, she barrels past every challenge, from financial handicaps to a haughty design manager (Isabelle Huppert), to travel from England to Paris to realize her dream. Along the way, her infectious spirit convinces others, from a model (Alba Baptista) to an accountant (Lucas Bravo), to believe in her as well. Sumptuous, sweet, and stirring, the film, according to Vanity Fair, “is a nourishing, if fleeting, summer holiday that can be enjoyed for far less than the cost of couture.”

Watch Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris on iTunes or Amazon!