Indian Summer (1993) Poster


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One of my all-time favourites
tower-618 January 2001
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 all, the cinematography. The beautiful golden tones of the exterior scenes draws me into the film like a sunset at the lakeshore draws me into my own summer memories.

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.
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One of my favorite movies!
Clancifer26 April 2003
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.
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incredible movie
emb80821 May 2003
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.
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Succeeds too well...
A_Different_Drummer15 October 2014
In Binder's quest to capture the essence of summer camp, he seems to have forgotten that, at its core, summer camp is boring. And campers therefore have to constantly create activities for themselves - activities outside the traditional camp schedule -- to stave off that boredom.

I tracked down a copy of this film (not easy) because of an interview with Kevin Pollack who said it was his fave. Don't agree. In fact it is not even Kevin's best work -- see THE LOST ROOM for that.

I am aware that several reviewers have given this film a 10 out of 10 and that is a little scary to me. It is meandering, it is wandering, it makes great demands on the viewer and gives little back.

I am also aware that this is a draw for Diane Lane fans, one of the great beauties of the era. At least THOSE viewers have their expectations contained before the first frame..
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Deeply humorous yet an honest comedy.
mhasheider16 July 2001
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.
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"Someone needs to tell Jamie not to over wind his toys."
TxMike7 July 2004
Warning: 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!!
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A perfect film for a Sunday afternoon.
ArosJohan31 August 2004
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.
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The movie ended with me in tears ...
Ravenswing8 May 2005
Warning: 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 there now.

(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.
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For those nostalgia buffs like me... this movie hits the spot
RP629943 September 2001
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
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real good feel good
Stefan Tetelepta27 September 1998
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
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I want my 2 hours back
sagehaven4 May 2008
Warning: Spoilers
I was looking over our DVD tower last night for something to watch. We were between NetFlix mailings and it was a quiet Saturday night. I pulled one out that I never heard of before and realized it was borrowed from a friend. From the jacket, it sounded like a rip-off of "The Big Chill" but, with the all-star cast, felt it might be worth watching. Boy was I wrong!!! Not only was it like "The Big Chill," it was a rip-off almost character by character. The Bill Paxton character was a copy of William Hurt ("where have you been all this time" role) -spoiler warning- and, lo and behold, he remains behind to take care of the old place(cabin/camp). Kimberly Williams = Meg Tilly; jerk womanizer Matt Craven = Jeff Goldblum etc., etc. I found myself wondering why I'm even watching these people. There was insufficient character development for me to find any interest in them. How did "Unca Lou" even find these characters after 20 years? Plus it wasn't even funny, except when Perkins fell, err 'flopped' out of bed the first morning, it was a sign and I missed it. After it was over, I asked my wife, "Were there any endearing characters in this film? ... Are you sleeping over there?" She replied, "No, I'm still thinking...No, none I can think of."
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Could there be a better feel good movie than this?
Dan Grant17 June 1999
I am a sucker for films like this. Films that take you back and let you relive your childhood. I'm a grown up now and have many grown up responsibilities like a mortgage, kids, dogs, a wife and a slew of others. I enjoy my life but it is not as innocent and carefree like it was when I was twelve. Mike Binder's Indian Summer knows this and explores this like he was twelve years old. It brings you back to a time when life was simpler and much more fun. It brings you back to a time when worrying about your first kiss and wondering if you could finish the camp marathon were important issues. Indian Summer is a fantastic film and it is one that should be watched at least once a year just so you can sit back and laugh...and reminisce.

The film stars Kevin Pollak, Bill Paxton, Diane Lane and Matt Craven (to name a few) as childhood friends that are being summoned back to Camp Tamakwa by their former Head Camp Counsellor, Uncle Lou. Uncle Lou is played perfectly by Alan Arkin. He is kind of guy who is the patriarch of the group. He is also all knowing and encompasses the true spirit of a father figure and someone who understands the simple things in life. He has a hard time relating to today's kids that need a walkman blaring in their ears when they are at a place of immense beauty like Tamakwa. This is a camp that has moose wandering through the camp, leaves turning colours that God gave them and water for as far as the eye can see. Uncle Lou yearns for the days of old and asks his former campers back to the camp to see one of them will take over the camp. While they are all together again, we get to see their trials and tribulations and perhaps a new love could spring between them.

As the adults return to the camp, it isn't long before they act like kids again as the typical camp pranks get played all over again. They take toilet paper out of the stalls, the put toothpaste on sleeping bags and so on. All of this is done hilariously and with actors like Pollak and Paxton, it is all very funny stuff.

But beyond the hilarity, we get to explore some very real adult emotion that anyone can relate to. In one of my favourite scenes, Kevin Pollak and Elizabeth Perkins are overlooking a bay where they used to go canoing as kids. Pollak can't get over how small it all looks and Perkins finally tells him that the bay didn't get smaller, they just got bigger. It doesn't hammer the point home, but it does it subtly. We all grow up, we all move on and we all unfortunately can't live like we did 20 years ago. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Indian Summer is a character driven film and it is written beautifully by Mike Binder who actually did attend Camp Camp Tamakwa, (as did Sam Raimi, who played Stick in the film) and it is his fond and vivid memories of his experiences that fuel the film. There are many touching scenes and there are many hilarious ones also. Both are perfect.

I love this film. I love everything about it and it is a true hidden gem.

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Great Summer Camp Reunion Movie
Randy Price1 August 2005
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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Not completely Binder...
jpschapira29 May 2008
I still can't figure out why someone would think the premise of this movie is good enough to make a ninety-minute…movie. Considering it came from writer/director Mike Binder, the man behind "The Upside of Anger" and that this was his first film, I was drawn to it even when it was Matsan (and Tomilon) who rented it.

Take a look at the title, "Indian Summer". Doesn't it sound like one of those movies they show on Fox Kids on a Sunday afternoon? And I'm not talking about the animated ones; I mean live action. Well, in fact, "Indian Summer" looks like one of those films and, even when it's bad, it finds a way to be not as bad.

The issue is that a movie with a title like "Indian Summer", one would assume, should involve little children spending a summer pretending they are members of an Indian tribe or whatever. Guess what? Binder's film is exactly about that, except for one little detail: it involves adults. Adults that, as children, spent their summers pretending there were members of an Indian tribe and did all sorts of activities and played all sorts of games related to that.

The reason why these adults get together for this 'Indian summer' has to do with the fact that Uncle Lou (Alan Arkin) is closing the camp that made them all happy as kids and wants them to join him for a last reunion. They're not a lot and they are written as stereotypes: the bad boy, the innocent guy, the daring girl, the joker; even the assistant of Uncle Lou, who's not in the main group but fulfills the role of the stupid man that can't complete any task and falls into the water in scenes that are everything but funny. As it has to be in a film of this type, some of them share a past: a forbidden love that could never be, an old rivalry…Some come with a burden from their present.

Binder puts these adults together and makes this summer function as a 'therapy'. This is where I must assume that "Indian Summer" is highly autobiographical. How else could an original writer like Binder have fallen into the level of predictability and lack of emotion and, more importantly, interesting dialog this movie presents? How else could he have come up with the words and definitions Uncle Lou uses to refer to punishments and the different games and tribe names for that matter?

If you've seen Binder's work, you would question this and try to defend him by saying that you know he could have perfectly invented all this things in an original context; but there's another fact that backs my assumption. During the whole film, the characters appear to be immerse in a world of their own; leaving the viewer completely out of their interaction.

Matsan didn't feel it that way, but I can assure some things: you won't laugh at the jokes they make when they're together, neither you'll laugh with the repetition of some of them; you won't connect with any character because they won't let you. Binder feels so related with the experiences the characters are living, that he completely forgets about including the viewer in them. If you laugh, you'll laugh with images and actions but not with words; if you connect, you'll connect because there's a little of nostalgia inside all of us.

That nostalgic feeling that Binder wants to transmit is the only message that gets through (and gets through the performance of Alan Arkin) and turns "Indian Summer" into something better than a terrible movie. Even if I didn't want to admit it; there's something about the first scene and the very last that you can't deny. That moose is saying something, because this time images and contemplation worked better for Binder than words. It still looks like one of those Fox Kids movies, though.
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Unbelievably insipid pabulum
Wonderful cast wasted on worthless script. Ten or so adults reunite at the summer camp they attended as juveniles. Could this ever happen in a million years? It's simply a fantasy, and a boring one at that. Do they become teenagers again? Do they reenact their pranks, games, good times? They may try but ultimately the answer is: No. Is there any intrigue? Any suspense? Horror? Comedy? None of the above. How anyone can be entertained by this drivel is beyond me. I wanted to like this movie; I tried to like this movie, but my brain refused.
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Indian Summer
Coxer9911 August 1999
Arkin and a great supporting cast make this nostalgic look at life from all angles an appealing treat. Lots of gags and pranks keep the film going, plus lively characters and a quick, witty script. Directed by former stand up comedien Binder.
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Crazy Little Thing Called Life
Raul Faust5 September 2015
Warning: Spoilers
You know, I've always enjoyed these old movies that bring some nostalgia to the spectator. Even thought I haven't ever heard about this film before seeing it, this watch brought me a lot of missing. While watching "Indian Summer", I missed jumping in the river; camping; talking normally to people, without a smart phone ringing all the time; talking to people indeed, instead of paying attention to quickly internet videos in their phones. I missed the world without a bunch of unnecessary news screaming at you from everywhere. I missed the time in which sex could be done without worries involving diseases. This film, technically, isn't anything marvelous-- in fact, it's overlong--, nor does it have the handsomest actors as every recent film has, but it's very interesting to be seen in a immediatist decade like the 2010's. Take some time off and, please, give it a chance!
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Reminds me of camp
SnoopyStyle14 June 2015
Unca Lou Handler (Alan Arkin) runs Camp Tamakwa in Algonquin Park, Ontario, Canada. He invites some of campers from the golden age of the camp. Matthew Berman (Vincent Spano) is married to Kelly (Julie Warner) and runs clothing company Roots with his cousin Brad Berman (Kevin Pollak). Jack Belston (Bill Paxton) is drifting and holding an old grudge. Jamie Ross (Matt Craven) is dating 21 year old Gwen Daugherty (Kimberly Williams-Paisley). Jennifer Morton (Elizabeth Perkins) is single and Beth Warden (Diane Lane) is still struggling after her husband's death a year ago. Stick Coder (Sam Raimi) is the bumbling handyman. The group reminisce about the past, pulling pranks and reconnecting with each other. However a dark episode from the past with counselor Sam Grover haunts Jack and Unca Lou. It's also the last summer for Lou who can't seem to connect with today's kids.

Writer/director Mike Binder brings his childhood memories to the screen. It's 'The Big Chill' with a little bit of Meatballs. It's high on nostalgia especially for adults who had camp experience. It is a bunch of middle age white people who are reminiscing about their youth and that's the Big Chill part. I can do without the Roots product placement which takes me out of the movie sometimes. It's not as bad as Bud Light in Transformers but that's the worst of the lot. The story is nice and I like most of the actors. Sam Raimi tries to be funny and does his best. Alan Arkin is absolutely great. It's a very good time at camp and reminds me of my camp experience.
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Nostalgia Personified
The_Triad22 January 2007
Indian Summer is a warm, multi-character film, that would make a fine afternoon film (with a bit of editing).

The film begins in the past with a group of children being shown a moose, which sets the tone perfectly before cutting into the present, when a group of adults from the "golden age" of the camp are invited back again to spend a few weeks holiday by the head of the camp, Uncle Lou. The film then allows the viewer to spend time with these characters as they remember their times at the camp, and form new memories in their latest stay.

The film succeeds in the great way it brings across its characters in this gorgeous setting, and allows them room to develop without having to worry about plot developments. Watching these people reminisce, and their relationships with each other is what the film is all about and why it works so well. It never goes to over the top and melodramatic, always keeping its warmth, charm and realism. I've never seen a film where nostalgia is captured so well, and found myself getting drawn in despite never having been to one of these camps as a child myself.

For a warm, nostalgic character movie, I sincerely recommend.
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A great little movie
greg robinson21 October 2002
I watched this last night after not having seen it for several years. It really is a fun little film, with a bunch of faces you didn't know were in it. Arkin shines as always. Check it out; you won't be dissappointed. By the way, it was just released on DVD and contrary to its packaging, it IS widescreen. The transfer is rather poor, but at least the WHOLE movie is visible. ;-)
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A must see movie about summer camp, friendship and reality!
michaelbien13 October 2002
A must see movie for anyone who ever went to camp, or wanted to. This film captures the absolute essence of what summer camp is all about. It is funny, it is compassionate it makes you want to watch more about the characters once the credits begin to role. If you have not seen this movie..what are you doing? get off you butt and run the video store. Have a great summer :)
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Could This Movie BE Any Better?!
jesteed5 April 1999
I swear I could watch this movie every weekend of my life and never get sick of it! Every aspect of human emotion is captured so magically by the acting, the script, the direction, and the general feeling of this movie. It's been a long time since I saw a movie that actually made me choke from laughter, reflect from sadness, and feel each intended feeling that comes through in this most excellent work! We need MORE MOVIES like this!!! Mike Binder: are you listening???
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Made me feel good.
Peach-226 December 1998
Indian Summer is a good film. It made me feel good and I thought the cast was exceptional. How about Sam Raimi playing the camp buffoon. I thought his scenes were very funny in a Buster Keaton-like performance. Solid directing and nice cinematography.
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The wackiest summer camp since Meatballs
huttfam511 November 1999
A great ensemble cast! A fond remembrance of younger carefree days. This movie takes me back to when I went to summer camp. Indian Summer, while full of practical jokes and pranks, is about growing up and coming to terms with life with middle-age life. My family & I thoroughly enjoyed this movie.
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