As of June 20 the Summer has officially begun, and though the summer of 2020 will likely be a doozy, some parts of summer never change. Here are six coming-of-age movies that have timeless summer themes.

The Sandlot

This is one the all-time nostalgia greats. Though this movie takes place during the Summer of ‘62, well before my time, anyone who grew up playing outside with the other kids in the neighborhood can relate to this timeless Summer tale. 

When a geeky Scotty “Smalls” moves to a new town at the start of Summer, his mother encourages him to go make friends and “get into trouble.” When Bennie – de facto leader of the neighborhood’s unofficial baseball team – takes him under his wing, he finds his group of friends and finally gets out of the house. Only Smalls gets them into the “biggest pickle any of us have ever seen.”

Stream: Starz

Rent: Microsoft $2.99, Redbox $2.99, Amazon $3.99, Google Play $3.99, YouTube $3.99


A 90s comedy classic, Heavyweights is maybe the best Summer camp movie ever made. The movie follows 11-year-old Gerry Garner after his parents send him to Camp Hope for the Summer, a “fat camp.” Reluctant at first, after consulting with his fellow campers, he quickly realizes he’s in for fun judgement-free Summer among his peers.

Enter Tony Perkins (Ben Stiller), the brand new owner of Camp Hope, and wannabe fitness guru. He’s determined to slim down campers and goes to extreme measures. The campers are determined to rebel against him and enjoy their Summer. Tensions run high and insanity ensues. Ben Stiller is in full-fledged 90s comedy glory as the neurotic Perkins.

Stream: Disney+

Rent: Amazon $2.99, Google Play $2.99, Apple $2.99, YouTube $2.99, VUDU $3.99

The Parent Trap

Another Summer camp flick, this adorable family movie tells the story of a unique Summer of love. It doesn’t matter if it’s the 1961 or 1998 version, the story is the same, and I love both versions.

A pair of twin girls, separated at birth, develop a Summer camp rivalry, only to find out that it’s actually a sibling rivalry. They quickly make a strong bond, and hatch a plan to swap places when they return home from Summer camp. Ultimately, their plan will bring their estranged family back together.

Stream: Disney+

Rent: Amazon $2.99, Google Play $2.99, Apple $2.99, YouTube $2.99, VUDU $3.99

Stand By Me

This movie takes us back to the Summer of 1959 in Castle Rock Oregon. Four 12-year-old boys set off into the wilderness in search of the body of a missing boy. 

This isn’t the same kind of feel-good Summer movie like the others on the list, and there are definitely fewer laughs. But this coming-of-age story is full of raw emotion as these young minds are shaped by a cruel world. And if you don’t think four child actors have the acting chops to make you well up, you’re mistaken.

Rent: Amazon $2.99, Fandango Now $2.99, VUDU $2.99, Apple $3.99, Microsoft $3.99

The Way Way Back

The Way Way Back (2013) is hilarious, heart-warming and a little uncomfortable at times, just like the protagonist 14-year-old Duncan. The movie follows Duncan and his mother as they vacation at her boyfriend’s summer home along with her boyfriend’s daughter. But not even a beautiful beach house could make this a good summer under this oppressive family dynamic.

This is a perfect summer movie with a star-studded cast, but the cherry on top is Sam Rockwell, who plays the charismatic young-at-heart, Owen, manager of the local water park. Owen gives Duncan a summer job at the water park. He also offers him mentorship, but more importantly friendship. By the time summer is over, Duncan has self-esteem and Owen has learned about his own capacity for maturity.


Rent: Microsoft $2.99, Redbox $2.99, Amazon $3.99, Google Play $3.99, Apple $3.99


This is another movie about getting a summer job, though I’ll admit, maybe with the exception of Stand By Me, this is the grimmest movie on the list. It’s a story about the time in your life when you’re technically an adult but you’re just barely figuring out how the world really works. For that reason it’s a relatable story, and because we’ve all had that summer where our parents made us get a summer job.

Adventureland takes us back to the summer of 1987, and James is forced to take a crap job at the rinky-dink amusement park after returning home from an Ivy league college. He doesn’t just learn the plight of the worker, but a workplace romance will lead him on a path that teaches him about sex, love and relationships. In a way, he learns more during his summer job than his entire college career.

Stream: Hoopla, Starz, DIERCTV

Rent: Amazon $3.99, Google Play $3.99, Apple $3.99, YouTube $3.99, Fandango Now $3.99