By Haylee Thorson
Summer 2020 has not felt like summer at all. Luckily, here are nine movies, songs and shows that will make you feel like it is.
1. Mamma Mia
There’s something about a massive group of women belting out ABBA’s “Dancing Queen” on a tiny fictional Greek island that just puts a smile on your face. Maybe it’s the catchy tunes, the outlandish plot or the iconic Meryl Streep, but “Mamma Mia” feels like a fever dream in the best way possible. The sparkling blue water, idyllic scenery and passionate romance in this flick are guaranteed to make it feel like summer every day.
Theme parks have a great way of transporting us straight back to our childhoods. The scent of sweet funnel cakes in the air, the sound of sheer excitement as a roller coaster twists and turns, the feeling of pure and unadulterated content at the end of the day. Even though “Adventureland” is shown from the perspective of a recent college grad who is forced to work for minimum wage at a theme park, the film is still bound to spark old memories of a hot summer’s day.
3. Forgetting Sarah Marshall
What better way to soak up the final few weeks of summer than indulging in a movie about a tropical vacation? While the premise of the film doesn’t sound super lighthearted, it actually ends up being quite hilarious. When Peter Bretter gets dumped by his famous girlfriend after five years of dating, he decides to embark on a grand trip to Hawaii to get away from it all. What follows is a hysterical sequence of events that is bound to lift your spirits.
4. Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp
The best way to conjure up nostalgic feelings of vacation as a child is by watching anything summer camp related. A prequel to the 2001 cult class “Wet Hot American Summer,” this series stars the same iconic cast playing even younger versions of themselves than they did nearly 15 years ago. While the thought of Paul Rudd as teenage camp counselor sounds kinda absurd, this series will definitely bring back memories—especially if you’ve seen the original movie!
5. Outer Banks
This show was all the rage at the beginning of quarantine and for good reason. A hot North Carolina summer, buried treasure and high school drama is enough to take anyone’s mind off of daily stress. While a lot of us would rather be boating around and drinking beer with our buddies, watching the infamous Pogues do it is the next best thing. Even if you already binged this show a few months ago along with everyone else, give it another watch for a nice boost of serotonin!
6. Stranger Things
Similar to “Outer Banks,” you’ve probably seen this series before too. However, if you’re looking for a heavy dose of ’80s summer nostalgia, give season three another watch! Possessed lifeguards, angsty teen romance, bitchin’ fashion—what could get better than that? Whether you watch for the mysterious sci-fi plot or immaculate retro vibes, “Stranger Things” season three will definitely put you in the mood for summer.
7. “Island in the Sun” by Weezer
If you ever want to feel like you’re laying on a sunny beach without a care in the world, close your eyes and listen to “Island in the Sun” by Weezer. The upbeat tempo, the carefree lyrics, the “hip hip” at the beginning—magnificent! If you find yourself looking at pictures from old vacations and developing a serious case of FOMO, just throw this song on and all of your worries will drift away.
8. “Cruel Summer” by Bananarama
2020 is a “Cruel Summer” indeed. While this song definitely doesn’t transport you to a tropical island with a pina colada in hand when you listen to it, it is still a pretty iconic summer anthem. A song about a singer who finds out her boyfriend has left her in the middle of a city on a hot summer’s day, “Cruel Summer” might take you back to your one of your old high school flames that just didn’t work out. Even though it was tough at the time, the nostalgia is bittersweet.
9. “Surfin’ USA” by the Beach Boys
It’s literally impossible to listen to “Surfin’ USA” by the Beach Boys and not feel infinitely happier. According to Songfacts, the lyrics in the song are basically a guide for all of the best surf spots at home and abroad. What can get more summery than that? If you’re lucky enough to live near a beach with some killer waves, this song will definitely motivate you to get on out there. And if not, just make yourself a fruity cocktail and call it a day!
Haylee Thorson is an editorial writer who specializes in beauty, culture, and travel. Follow her on Instagram.