friends pool watching movie

While summer doesn’t officially start until mid-June, many regard this weekend as the unofficial beginning of the season. If you’re not spending the next few days at barbecues or Memorial Day parades – maybe because you’re saving money, or you’ve got too much work to do, or perhaps you’re just more of a homebody – why not get into the summer mood in the comfort of your own abode?

Since your schedule is likely to be full of social get-togethers the next few months, these might be your last few days to chill on the couch and stream movies without your phone blowing up with pool party and outdoor trip invites. So take advantage of the calm before the summer (that’s not quite the saying, but just go with it), with this list of movies to get you ready for our favorite season of the year.


Blue Crush

Kate Bosworth plays Anne Marie, a girl in her 20s living with her best friends in paradise (Hawaii) and surfing every single day – but it isn’t all as fun as it sounds. She struggles to get by on little pay and is responsible for her younger pre-teen sister as her parents are no longer in the picture.


This all changes when she meets a dreamy football player vacationing on the island who treats her to a luxurious escape from her reality. While this may sound a little reminiscent of Pretty Woman, Anne Marie isn’t looking to be rescued. Without giving away too much, we can say that this is not a Cinderella story, but it does have a happy – and empowering – ending, all against the beautiful backdrop of crashing waves and beautiful sunsets.


Make a night of it: Get the girls together and start with some pina coladas! A short list of ingredients – cream of coconut, rum (although, just as delicious without alcohol), and fresh pineapple chunks – blended together makes a simple and refreshing treat. Prepare some Hawaiian pork tenderloin and guava cake for dessert and you’ve got a mini (and simple) Hawaiian vacation right at home.


Couples Retreat

Vince Vaughn, Jason Bateman, and Jon Favreau are just a few of the big names you’ll find in this hilarious movie. It’s about four couples who signed up for the island trip of a lifetime, but are unknowingly forced into therapy instead.


Many of the issues they face are pretty typical of LTRs but you’ll still be laughing until you cry at some of the hilarious (some likely ad-libbed) portrayals of them. You’ll also become more and more obsessed with the idea of visiting French Polynesia as the movie was shot almost entirely in Bora Bora.


Make a night of it: If you’re part of a couple, this is a funny one to watch with – you guessed it – another couple, or a few. Throw together some Bahama Mamas, another uncomplicated tropical drink. Since you’ve got a group, take the opportunity to play some games that work best with multiple people. A simple one to put together without anything more than some paper and pens is Pictionary (like Vince Vaughn did in another of his hilarious movies, The Breakup, albeit unsuccessfully in the film).

Make your game island themed! Just write down anything island-related you can think of on different pieces of paper, split teams up, and take turns pulling from a bowl. The Bahama Mamas won’t make you any better of an artist but you’ll certainly end up with some amusing depictions of hula girls at the end of the night.


I Know What You Did Last Summer

The 90s were great for scary movies, and everyone we know saw (and loved) I Know What You Did Last Summer. It was scary, it was funny (the killer had a hook for a hand and the movie itself was a “lesson” in teen responsibility), and it had all our favorite 90s actors, like Sarah Michelle Gellar, Freddie Prinze Jr., Ryan Philippe, and Jennifer Love Hewitt (her, spinning in circles yelling “What are you waiting for!?” is something 90s kids will never forget).


It did so well, they even made a sequel, with an exceptionally imaginative title, I Still Know What You Did Last Summer. There was even a third, straight-to-DVD film, I’ll Always Know What You Did Last Summer, but we didn’t see that one. Heck, just watch them all; it’s a long weekend!


Make a night of it: Get your friends together, because scary movies are more fun with people to scare, and turn the lights down low. If you’re the inspired type of host, theme it up with Blood Orange Margaritas (killers are out for blood, you know) and treat your guests to a frightening dessert with a Red Velvet Slaughter Cake.


Dazed and Confused

It’s the 70s and school’s out for summer (or forever?) – what are you going to do? The same question runs through every high school kid’s mind, whether you’re a jock, a stoner, a cheerleader, a freshman… the list goes on.


With an all-star cast (Matthew McConaughey, Ben Affleck, Milla Jovovich, Parker Posey, and Joey Lauren Adams, to name a few) and just as star-studded and amazing a soundtrack, the film is one of our favorite summer movies ever. Even Quentin Tarantino has it on his list of the 10 Greatest Films of All Time.


Make a night of it: This isn’t a night for fancy drinks or hors d’oeuvres, and you don’t need a keg; but you might want beers and plain old relaxation on the couch with your buddies. Don’t bother inviting your stuffy friends; they just won’t get it.


Eat, Pray, Love

If warm weather makes you feel like traveling, this film may add some places to your bucket list. In Eat, Pray, Love, a film adapted from the novel of the same name by Elizabeth Gilbert, Julia Roberts plays Liz (yes, the author), a woman who seemingly “had it all” who becomes lost in her own life through a series of life-altering events and travels the world to find herself.


The title refers to how she split up her time, with “eat” being in Italy (yum!), “pray” in India, and “love” in Bali. Eat, Pray, Love covers the span of more than one season, but it all feels very summer to us. Plus, even just dreaming of a few months in some of the most amazing places on the planet is enough to make it on this list of must-see pre-summer movies.


Make a night of it: You’ve got so many options with this one, but you’re likely going to enjoy this most with one of your best friends, perhaps one with whom you could see yourself traveling the world! Start with Amaro al Frescos, a cocktail made with Peroni (a beer brewed in Roma, Italy). Then, try your hand at Indian food for your entrée with Lamb Vindaloo. Finally, satisfy your sweet tooth (and end your around-the-world journey) with some Indonesian Banana Fritters.