I’m on vacation! Technically I’m writing this a week early, but the new releases this week (June 28th) kind of suck when it comes to thinking of an idea for a 5 For Friday, so I’ve decided to do a summer theme. Some pretty iconic scenes take place around a swimming pool; more than I even thought about before I settled on this topic. They are scenes of good times and internal reflection… and girls in bikinis. All good things, really.
5. The Sound of Silence Montage, The Graduate
The summer after I graduated college, I didn’t do much: I drove around aimlessly, I read a few books, I hung out with my dog. And it was awesome. So I could imagine how much more awesome it would have been had some hot older woman made me her own personal sex toy. Heck, I can just imagine how awesome it would have been if I had a pool that summer. That lucky Benjamin Braddock just so happens to have both in The Graduate. In film class, we analyzed this scene to death, and guess what: the fact that he’s drifting in the pool is some symbolic shit if there ever was any. Benjamin is pretty content with wasting away the summer working on his tan and giving Mrs. Robinson his Simon & Garfunkels on the reg. It’s exactly what the summer should be all about before you get a job and basically suck all the fun out of your life. Play on, Benjamin. Play on!
4. The Baby Ruth, Caddyshack
Public pools are kind of gross, right? Can you imagine sharing bath water with 30-50 people that you don’t know? Why is it okay to share a pool, then? When we use public pools, we try not to think about the possibility that someone has just peed in it, but the true horror show would come about if someone dropped a steaming log in your pool fun. Wouldn’t that just ruin your day? To swim around in what someone basically made their own enormous toilet? Well, luckily for the members of Bushwood Country Club, the long ropey dookie just so happened to be a Baby Ruth that was carelessly tossed into the pool. That doesn’t mean that the fear wasn’t real, however. Just ask Spaulding how close he came to touching someone else’s steamer. The ending of the scene perfectly caps it off the way this ridiculous scene could only end. And thus, “It’s not that bad,” echoes an eternity.
3. Phoebe Cates in a Bikini, Fast Times at Ridgemont High
If I came of age during the 1980’s, I’m sure this scene would have an astronomical lead over the second best swimming pool scene in film. But the truth is, I wasn’t born until 1985 and Phoebe Cates, as adorable as she is in the movie, is just another actress that popped her top off that one time in her career. And now she spends her days in Kevin Kline’s attic, playing out her own personal Flowers in the Attic while popping out babies. I’ll give credit where credit is due, though, as I do love this film. It’s an iconic moment in one of the most important teen movies of the 1980’s and is a good reminder to lock the door when you’re polishing your own silver.
2. “I am a Golden God!”, Almost Famous
No movie has quite captured the importance of music to the lives of both the fans and musicians like Almost Famous has, and it could probably only be conveyed by the mind of Cameron Crowe, the man in which the film is semi-autobiographical. We experience rock and roll, both the genre and the lifestyle, through the eyes of innocent outsider, William Miller. We see the good and the bad of the business: the endless flow of booze and women and the shallowness of an existence as a commodity. Russell Hammond’s life is on the upswing as the lead guitarist for Stillwater, and his fame has become a problem for him and his band. The band is jealous of every move he makes, as he is, through no fault of his own, overshadowing the rest of him. The fans hang on his every word, look up to him like the second coming, and cheer whatever bullshit comes out of his mouth like it’s some sort of revelation. (Though they don’t cheer “I dig music”, which I thought was the most inspired thing he ever said.) The fact that he is cheered for his declaration of his divinity is ironic, as it merely points out that they’d follow him over cliffs, off of roofs, and into pools, merely because they like his music. The fact that the scene is the precursor to one of the most powerful scenes depicting the importance of music just gives this scene extra weight.
1. Wendy Peffercorn, The Sandlot
Personal bias aside, as The Sandlot is one of my all-time favorite movies, Squints gets to play out one of the most sinister fantasies-turned-schemes that has ever been brought to film. Feminists will probably have a field day with how immoral the kiss is, but let’s be honest: Squints knew how fucked up the move was. But he went for broke, planted a good one on an older woman, and was ready to face the consequences. Sure, if not shrouded in the innocence of youth, Wendy Peffercorn would have probably had a restraining order drawn up faster than Benny the Jet could pickle the Beast, but Squints has brass ones, and that has to be saluted. The film itself is basically a kid’s fantasy come to life: an endless summer where basically the only thing that needs to get done is to make your way over to the local ball field and take some swings with your best friends. Think of your best memories from your summers as a child. Then, put them back-to-back for 90 minutes. That’s The Sandlot and for Squints, kissing the hot lifeguard is just a piece of the memorable tapestry.