Top Picks: Coming-of-Age Movies for Summer

Summer is a nostalgic time for me. I remember long days and warm nights riding bikes with friends, playing ball, and getting lots of mosquito bites. Later, we enjoyed the freedom of getting driver's licenses and first jobs. Even though many of those friendships have faded over time, the memories stay with us. When you think of summer movies, you might think of Jaws, but if you're feeling sentimental like me, here are some movies that transport you to the summers of your youth when friends were everything, first love bloomed, and the future seemed wide open.

The Way, Way Back and The Inkwell both focus on awkward teen boys who find friendship and connection over the course of a summer trip, the former on vacation with mom's despicable new boyfriend and the latter to the upper-class beaches of 1970s Martha's Vineyard. The Way, Way Back offers warm-hearted, fresh takes on what is a fairly predictable plot and The Inkwell is an underrated classic of #BlackBoyJoy.

A group of best friends must part ways for the summer but keep their strong bond by sharing a pair of seemingly magical jeans. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants is a great example of girlfriends helping see each other through heartbreaks of all kinds.

90s style is back, so why not re-watch Good Burger with your kids? This slapstick comedy plays upon the all-too-true tragedy of not going on vacation but having to get a summer job instead. Scheming teen Dexter learns about friendship and doing the right thing while trying to keep up with Ed, Good Burger's most loyal and goofy employee.

Two films that beautifully capture the melancholy transition after high school graduation are Ghost World and American Graffiti. There's a pressure to make the most of the summer after graduation. You're still a teenager, you've still got your best friends nearby, but what happens next? The teens in these movies seek fun and adventure in different ways but must choose what kind of adults they want to be. 

So, what movies remind you of summer? Let us know in the comments!