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5 Throwback Movies That’ll Set the Scene for Summer

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at FSU chapter.

While it may feel like 2024 has just started, summer isn’t far away. Some of us may be procrastinating on final projects or simply just dreaming of the season. Regardless, we can always count on movies that are here to get the vibes started. I’ve created a list of nostalgic summer movies that’ll hopefully uncover some good memories or lead you to your new comfort movie. The summer vibes remain immaculate whether you’re on your first or fifth watch.

These movies are available to watch on Hulu or Amazon Prime Video (rental or subscription). Most are available across a variety of streaming services, but those are the only two that have all five movies if you intend on going through the entire list. Since these are older titles, you may be able to grab a DVD from a store for a cheaper price rather than through a streaming service subscription.

1. Hoot

While this movie features some scenes that take place in school, it’s too representative of Florida summer vibes to not be included on this list. Based on yet another classic elementary school read, Hoot is witty and entertaining. It focuses on three seemingly unlikely new friends who protest the construction work being done over an owl habitat. It’s honestly inspiring, and perhaps it’s to thank for the interest I now have in environmental conservation work.

2. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants

My personal favorite on this list, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, is an epic story of four best friends who spend a summer apart, connected only by a pair of jeans that somehow perfectly fit all of them. Even though the girls may be separated, you understand how strong their friendship is and get a feel for each of their lives through their four wildly different summers. Based on a book series, this movie has an amazing sequel, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2. I recommend binge-watching it immediately after watching the first movie, because how could you not?

3. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days

It would truly be a shame to not include this movie on the list. If you haven’t seen Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days, based on the book from the classic series, you still likely read at least one of the books throughout your time in elementary school (somehow, there are still new ones being written!).

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days has all of the plot points to make it a great summer movie: an unrealistic crush on a hot lifeguard, the reality that the public pool is crowded, your dad telling you to get a job, and an awkward family beach trip. While the main character, Greg, might be unlikeable at times (forgive him, he’s eternally in middle school), we have his older brother Rodrick to fawn over. Don’t act like you haven’t seen the TikTok edits.

4. Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer

Another novel-turned-movie, Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer captures the summer dilemma we all struggle with: it can get boring. Especially in our young adulthood, we can be so busy with jobs or life in general over the summer that it can be hard to feel like it’s a vacation lived to its fullest.

In the movie, Judy’s goal is to have the most “not bummer summer” of all time, despite being left with her younger brother and kooky aunt for her vacation. The movie revives what I feel is now the lost art of the bucket list (in the form of a dare sheet). While it’s geared toward a younger audience and perhaps corny at times, I thoroughly enjoyed it as a kid and would rewatch it now for nostalgia.

5. Because of Winn-Dixie

I find Because of Winn-Dixie to be such a comfort movie. Set in a small Florida town, Opal finds a dog lost in a Winn-Dixie grocery store and convinces her dad to let her keep it. There’s tension in the plot to keep things interesting, but not too much to make me anxious while watching. It’s such a heartwarming and classic story, and I feel it portrays the book of the same name very well.

If this helped you rediscover a favorite movie or find a new one that piqued your interest, add it to your summer watchlist! Cozy up while imagining your dream summer vacation, and happy watching!

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Harper West is a staff writer at the Her Campus at Florida State University chapter. She is double majoring in History and Environmental Science & Policy, and plans to graduate in the spring of 2027. Aside from HCFSU, Harper is part of the Presidential Scholars program at FSU, a member of Phi Alpha Delta (Pre-law fraternity), and serves as a research assistant at the FSU Marine Lab. In her spare time, she enjoys being in nature, running, and sewing new outfits.