Which Summer Camp Movie Is Right For You?
True confession: We never had the cajones for sleepaway camp. At least not in real life. But we’ve always been obsessed with books (There’s a Bat in Bunk Five, Holes), TV shows (Salute Your Shorts, True Life: I’m Going to Fat Camp), and most of all, movies about what we can only assume is a life-channging experience. With the official launch of summer less than a week away, we felt like it was time to revisit some of our favorite summer camp flicks. Click through to find out which one is right for you.
Camp Inch – The Parent Trap (1961)
Sharon and Susan are twins who were separated as babies and unwittingly reunite at summer camp. Each girl wants to meet the parent that she’s never known, so they decided to switch places, with Susan in Boston pretending to be Sharon, and Sharon in California as Susan.
Perfect for: Adult children of divorce; people who always wanted a twin; anyone who has only seen the Lindsay Lohan version; fans of Miss Bliss
Camp Northstar – Meatballs (1979)
Tripper is the prank-happy head counselor at a low-budget camp. He forms a relationship with a lonely kid who doesn’t fit in named Rudy. They start jogging together. Tripper helps Rudy build self-esteem; Rudy convinces Tripper to pursue his crush on the female head counselor, Roxanne. And then there’s an Olympiad that pits them against the neighboring rich kids camp…
Perfect for: Bros; people who are obsessed with Bill Murray; victims of childhood depression; fiercely competitive types; Canadians
Camp Little Wolf – Little Darlings (1980)
In what many consider the female response to Meatballs, Tatum O’Neal and Kristy McNichol play a pair of 15-year-olds from two different worlds who meet at summer camp and make a bet about who will lose their virginity first. Before long, the whole camp is taking sides.
Perfect for: Matt Dillon fans; smokers; fans of black high top chucks and/or denim on denim; your friend who is kind of a slut; your friend who is kind of a prude
Camp Crystal Lake – Friday the 13th (1980)
A woman’s son drowns in Crystal Lake because the counselors who were supposed to be watching him were too busy having sex. Now, almost 30 years later, she stalks and murders the horny teenagers who are prepping the camp for its grand re-opening on a dark and stormy night.
Perfect for: Superstitious types; mama’s boys; people who think that bad things only happen in the woods; fans of decapitation and/or Kevin Bacon
Camp Cucamonga (1990)
Camp Cucamonga was a made-for-TV pre-teen camp flick that blew our minds because it starred so many of our favorite ABC stars of the moment: Jaleel White (Family Matters), Josh Saviano (The Wonder Years), Danica McKellar (The Wonder Years), and Candace Cameron (Full House). Jennifer Aniston (pre-Friends) and John Ratzenberger (Cheers) were also in the cast, but we didn’t care much about them because she wasn’t famous yet and he was old.
Perfect for: Anyone who never missed an installment of ABC’s TGIF; people who are obsessed with the ’90s; fans of Aniston’s original nose
Camp Chippewa – Addams Family Values (1993)
This sequel to The Addams Family opens with Morticia giving birth to a baby boy, Pubert. Wednesday and Pugsley want to kill him. As a result, Morticia and Gomez are convinced by the new nanny that it’s best to send them away to camp for the summer, where they’re social outcasts.
Perfect for: Recovering goths; anyone with sibling rivalry issues; people who have a hard time smiling or need to spend some time in the “Harmony Hut”
Camp Hope – Heavy Weights (1995)
Heavy Weights is about a weight-loss camp for boys that’s taken over by a psychotic fitness guru named Tony Perkins. When the kids start gaining weight just to spite him, he takes them on a 20 mile hike. They trick him into falling into a deep pit, and basically hold him hostage. Pat, a counselor who has been going to the camp since he was 10, steps up and teaches the boys that being healthy can actually be fun.
Perfect for: Fans of the Stiller family (all three are in it) and/or weight-loss Before and Afters; people who enjoy watching chubby kids binge eat; anyone who wishes that the larger child actors in The Mighty Ducks movies had gotten more screen time
Camp Firewood – Wet Hot American Summer (2001)
A spoof that’s based on David Wain and Michael Showalter’s real life experiences, this one is about the last day of a Jewish summer camp in 1981. Translation: There’s a big talent show to prepare for and everyone is looking for someone to hookup with.
Perfect for: People who were obsessed with The State and/or Stella; hipsters nostalgic for a time before they were born; anyone who wonders why Bradley Cooper is famous; Jews
Camp Ovation- Camp (2003)
The film centers on the experiences of several teenagers at a performing arts camp that puts on a new play or musical every two weeks. There’s a lot of backstage drama: Tween actors slipping each other with Woolite mickies; a gay camper who is rejected by his parents; an overweight camper whose jaw is wired shut; and a drunk old composer who’s bitter about his one-hit wonder status.
Perfect for: Former theater geeks; people who are obsessed with Glee; anyone who knows what Stephen Sondheim actually looks like; gays