Weekend Film Recommendation: Wet Hot American Summer (2001)

6 May

The year, 1981.  The setting, the last day of summer at Camp Firewood, a Jewish summer camp.  Wet Hot American Summer takes a similar premise to Dazed and Confused and places it in a more absurd setting.  The movie really isn’t about anything, instead it showcases a group of camp counselors and their efforts to fulfill all the ambitions they had set out at the beginning of the summer (mostly hooking up).

Almost always involving Paul Rudd

This parody of 1980’s summer camp movies like Meatballs and Porky’s boasts an A-list cast before they broke out.  Accompanying Rudd in the shenanigans are: Janeane Garofalo, David Hyde Pierce (Frasier), Michael Showalter and Michael Ian Black, Molly Shannon, Joe Lo Truglio, Amy Poehler, Kyle Gallner, Bradley Cooper, and Elizabeth Banks (pictured above).  The show stealer, however, is Christopher Meloni (from Law and Order fame) portraying a schizophrenic Vietnam veteran turned cook who has visions of a talking can of vegetables.

Warning: You'll never look at Detective Elliot Stabler the same again.

Wet Hot American Summer still remains a hidden gem in my film collection, turning all the nostalgia you start to feel about your favorite summer camp movies and turning it on its head.  No 80’s parody would be complete without  a sci-fi twist, 80’s montage, or a hopeless romance; but just when you think you know where the film is headed quickly flips the script (no pun intended).

Allow me to remind you again that Wet Hot American Summer chronicles the last day at a Jewish summer camp, something I failed to realize upon first viewing but subtly enhances the film’s flavor.  Though Memorial day is still a few weeks away, it’s starting to feel more and more like summer and a viewing of Wet Hot American Summer is the perfect way to kick off everybody’s favorite season.

Click here to add Wet Hot American Summer to your Netflix Instant Queue.

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