Lists

Ten summer camp movies summer campers shouldn't see

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10. Wet Hot American Summer

Aside from the fact that the title itself sounds like something you might order off of soft-porn hotel pay-per-view, the movie promotes thinking of camp counselors as, you know, actual people. Which sort of bites, considering the fact that the movie also points out just how much camp sucks. So not only will kids not want to be at camp, they'll feel guilty for forcing their counselors to be there. Resentment, thy name is summer camp.

9. Meatballs

On the other side of the coin, parents won't want to make camp seem like an unending good time, full of wacky hijinx and Bill Murray. The actual comedy of summer camp is more along the line of seeing someone get de-pantsed in the light of a campfire or hearing a good fail tale from your buddy who struck out with a girl named Jenny.

Little known fact: Only girls named Jenny go to summer camp.

8. Parent Trap

Really, this movie is only a problem if you happen to be divorced. Then, it's pure, unfettered hell, as the kid you love becomes convinced that all they have to do in order to get you and your ex back together is to go to camp, find their twin, and hatch a plan. Freakin' Disney, ruining everything.

7. Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown

Granted, Charlie Brown is awesome. And since Charlie Brown's escapades tend to be low-key affairs -- trick-or-treating, putting on a Christmas pageant, that sort of thing -- it's easy to allow yourself to believe that there really isn't that much in the way of adult supervision. But this show? Really? Charlie Brown and the gang are in a week-long river rafting race. By themselves. They get lost, stuck in dangerous storms, and suffer attacks from evil rafters. What's next? "Linus Cracked His Head Open on that Last Rock, Charlie Brown"? "A Charlie Brown Drowning"? Complete autonomy at camp really shouldn't be possible. Or gently comedic.

6. Camp Nowhere Okay, you know how I was just complaining that Charlie Brown's summer camp might make kids think there's no supervision? This movie takes that concept and runs with it, exploring how kids can take their parents' cash, sit around and play video games all the time and profit from it. And that's just not what summer camp is about. College, definitely, but not camp.
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Teague Bohlen is a writer, novelist and professor at the University of Colorado Denver. His first novel, The Pull of the Earth, won the Colorado Book Award for Literary Fiction in 2007; his textbook The Snarktastic Guide to College Success came out in 2014. His new collection of flash fiction, Flatland, is available now.
Contact: Teague Bohlen