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I have watched this movie well over 100-200 times, and I love it each and every time I watched it. Yes, it can be very corny but it is also very funny and enjoyable. The camp shown in the movie is a real camp that I actually attended for 7 years and is portrayed as camp really is, a great place to spend the summer. Everyone who has ever gone to camp, wanted to go to camp, or has sent a child to camp should see this movie because it'll bring back wonderful memories for you and for your kids.
This movie is by far one of my favorites. I saw it while in college in the early 90's, and while I couldn't identify with the thirtysomethings in the film, I felt that the story, characters, and movie in general were top notch. To the people who spoke negatively of Indian Summer, feel free to stick to your overblown Armageddon-type movies and leave the movies with a great, wholesome story to those who can appreciate them.
Deeply humorous yet honest comedy about a bunch of grownups (Bill Paxton, Julie Warner, Kevin Pollak, Elizabeth Perkins, Vincent Spano, Matt Craven, and Diane Lane) who are invited back to spend a week to Tomawka, a camp in (Ontario) Canada by their former consuelor (Alan Arkin). Writer/director Mike Binder drew upon his experience at the same camp as the main source of creating a gentle and understanding yarn that makes sense. Also, the movie has plenty of funny moments, some of which are completely bizarre like my favorite, the one involves using masking tape. Newton Thomas Sigel ("The Usual Suspects", "Three Kings") provides the film with some impressive shots of the Canadian wilderness. Among the cast, Sam Raimi, director of "THE EVIL DEAD" films and "The Gift", appears here as Arkin's bumbling right-hand man. One more thing, this film reassured me that a camp doesn't have to be a site of bloody murders.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
We saw 'Indian Summer' as part of a quest to see most Diane Lane movies. She
is superb as always. The movie has "Big Chill" feel to it, but is a quite
different story. Here a group of 30-somethings get together in 1992 at the
Canadian summer camp they all were at 20 years earlier. Which would have
made all the characters born around 1960 or so. In fact, the actors were
born between 1955 and 1965, Lane being the youngest and Paxton the oldest.
Alan Arkin is great as the camp master, for the last 43 years. A former
champion boxer, he runs a tight schedule and seems to always know what is
going on. This is a movie about relationships, and in some cases healing old
wounds. We found it mildly entertaining, but a bit disappointed in the
story. Sam Raimi, of late directing the Spiderman movies, plays "Stick", the
hapless camp assistant, and plays him very humorously.
SPOILERS follow, please quit reading. Turns out that was to be the last summer for the camp. At the end, the characters played by Paxton and Lane, having discovered each other over the seven days, decide to take over the camp, and ask what it would cost. "Nothing. You can have it. Nothing here but old buildings." The movie ends with a scene of the next batch of kids rushing ashore to meet the new camp masters. In the middle, one husband/wife relationship is healed. A man who used his fiancee (Williams) as his personal "toy" was put in his place as she broke off the engagement (subject line quote). A long-buried boxing trophy was dug up and given back to Arkin.
Saw it on VHS from the public library. Sure makes one appreciate DVD!!
I thoroughly enjoyed this film overall, but four things really stand out:
Sam Raimi's perfect comic timing and performance as the camp handy(?)man,
Alan Arkin's wonderful characterisation of the camp owner, and best of
the cinematography. The beautiful golden tones of the exterior scenes
me into the film like a sunset at the lakeshore draws me into my own
The dialog and mood feel very natural and believable. Some reviewers criticise the lack of a more "profound" script. To me, it is exactly that lack that makes this film work. The characters and their problems seem real and because of that, I care about what happens to them.
The bottom line is that all the parts come together to create a whole that feels right.
A quiet, sweet and beutifully nostalgic movie on how it is to be confronted with old friends and surroundings from your youth with all that memories and the problems and sorrows of the present with you. A movie that makes you feel good. All the ingredients are here: old jelousy, rivalry, friendship and loyalty. Mischief, nightly fridge-raids and all the other fun stuff that we all remember from our summer camps. All the characters get the opportunity for a week to experience this again as the old camp-leader now is retiring and want to meet the children from the golden years of the camp. All of them are now in their thirties and in the middle of their careers.
Not a 4**** but then again it doesn't try to be... it simply surfaces those fond memories of camp, those early teen years... growing up... yep the good old days... but it also is moving in that just like me in mid-life....each has moved on to adulthood and the ups and downs that life provides.... and each time I go back for High School reunions or to my home town these are the kind of warm feelings I have... the pranks are funny but more importantly the looking backward of "remember when".... also the beautiful shots remind me of summer camp in Waupaca, WI on an island just as they were... so I can relate to this quite well... the kind of movie you pull out when you want to feel good\sad and evoke emotions about the good old days.... like the Big Chill and St Elmos Fire where the kids still want to maintain their college friendships but are moving on to young adulthood and it's new challenges... this movie fits right in there..... this movie is not for movie Oscar buffs but romantic nostalgics like me. russ
Great cast, good acting. Its a real video-movie. Play it when you are feeling sad, missing the good old days. This movie makes you realize that these days aren't that good after all. But don't expect a movie with a great story. It's just funny and entertaining. Laugh and cry if you want. Because you will if you open your heart to this Indian Summer
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
There is this private campground in Plymouth, Massachusetts, that's
been around since 1959. My grandparents were among its founders, my
parents had a site starting in 1965, and my two brothers have sites
(This doesn't have anything directly to do with the movie; bear with me.)
I spent summers at Blueberry Hill from when I was five years old to when I was eighteen, and it is to people like me to whom this film speaks: the ones for whom a group camp in the woods was, as my fiancée tells of me, "the good and happy place." If you've never experienced the lifestyle, Indian Summer will probably be lost on you; don't bother. It's not quick-paced, it doesn't have rapid cuts, the plots aren't in the least bit convoluted, it has no explosions, such dramatic tension as exists is mild, there aren't any A-list actors, there are no rapid-fire quips just to show off how clever the scriptwriters are (other than, perhaps, Kimberley Williams' killer line about how her fiancé shouldn't "overwind his toys.") That is not the least degree what this movie is about, any more than The Godfather is a slasher flick just because it has a lot of on screen gore.
But Indian Summer is Godfather's polar opposite. If you have experienced the lifestyle, see this movie. Don't read any more, just do it.
For me, this is a 9/10 film.
I rented this movie when it came out on video tape and really enjoyed it. I had the opportunity to purchase it on DVD a few weeks ago and have watched it several times since. I would have to agree with others when they said Indian Summer was nostalgic film. When I watch it I wish that I could be 10-14 again. I think that is why we all like the movie to some extent. We all at times wish that we could relive our lives as children with the wisdom/knowledge of adults. Wouldn't it be nice to have all your friends/parents be young again? To not have to worry about your job, being a parent etc...??? I know that I would like to jump into a De Lorean and go back in time. While I enjoyed the film very much my all time favorite camp film though is Meatballs with Bill Murray. I wish that they could make an Indian Summer version of that.
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