What Makes a Summer Movie?

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Girl with popcorn watching movie in a movie theater.
Girl with popcorn watching movie (Klaus Vedfelt via Getty Images)

“Top Gun: Maverick,” the Tom Cruise-starring sequel to the 1986 Tom Cruise-starring classic, is topping this summer’s domestic box office — and it’s now the U.S.’ seventh highest-grossing film, ever. “Nope,” the third movie from horror visionary Jordan Peele, has friends swapping interpretations around the campfire. And “Minions: The Rise of Gru” wasn’t just a big hit with little kids, but also with teens who grew up with the franchise — and showed up to screenings in suits, calling themselves #GentleMinions. Whether it’s nonstop action, beach scenes or nostalgia, some films just scream “summer movie.” We want to hear from you: what makes a summer movie to you? Which movie do you revisit every summer? Why?

Caution: This episode contains spoilers for “Nope” in its last 10 minutes.


Kristen Meinzer, podcast co-host, Movie Therapy with Rafer and Kristen

Dave Schilling, contributing writer, LA Times Image

Felicia Viator, associate professor of History, San Francisco State University