Indian Summer (1993)

indian summer

“You know who I feel sorry for? All those guys who had vasectomies in the 70s. Now with safe sex, they still gotta wear condoms.”

The Scoop: PG-13 1993, directed by Mike Binder and starring Elizabeth Perkins, Bill Paxton, Kevin Pollak, and Alan Arkin

Tagline: A Comedy About Eight Friends Who Return To The Best Summer Of Their Lives!

Summary Capsule: In their thirties, friends reunite at their childhood camp

Andie’s rating: Hello Muddah, Hello Fadder…

Andie’s review: Not a lot of people have seen this movie, but it is fantastic. It stars Elizabeth Perkins, Bill Paxton, Kevin Pollak, and Alan Arkin, among others. It’s about seven adults who return to their childhood summer camp, Camp Tamakwa, to spend a week swimming, canoeing, trying not to get eaten by bears, etc.

They all come back because of some peace they have to make with being a kid, like two of the adults are married, but the old flame of the husband is also returning to camp. And Bill Paxton comes back to make peace with the camp director, Alan Arkin, from getting kicked out of camp when he was 14. One guy brings his 21-year-old fiancé to the reunion and wonderful sparks fly from them. I know it doesn’t sound like much and it also sounds kinda boring, but it’s not. It’s really funny.

As adults, they’re up to all the old tricks, like camp schrecks (gags) they play on each other, kitchen raids, smoking pot, and remembering stuff that happened at camp, like a first kiss, a marathon called a Tamakwathon, and a first boner. It makes for an interesting movie about how people change over 20 yrs and how they also stay the same.

Justin’s rating: Want some bug juice?

Justin’s review: By definition, dramas are designed to appeal to a wide range of people, most of which consist of women blowing into Kleenex and men wistfully holding the Kleenex. Which is why we don’t have a lot of dramas on this site… they tend to be rather lacking in chainsaw hilarity and random musical numbers highlighting the secret life of cockroaches. However, I will admit that I have a soft spot for a good drama or two, when I’m in a mellow mood, tranquilized to the eyebrows, and chained to my sofa.

Indian Summer is a drama. It’s got a really big moose, which bookends the movie at the beginning and the end, but is never really introduced as a plot point. Is his name Bruce the Moose? Is he watching us as we are watching him? Is he seeking bloody revenge for years of moose oppression? Alas, these questions were not answered.

Between the majestic moose is a film about a bunch of older-type people (our thesaurus department has labeled them “adults”) who return to their childhood summer camp for one last fling of nostalgia. It’s really an odd concept, when you think about it. Other than short flashbacks, we never get to see what these childhood experiences consisted of. Yet, the entire film boldly assumes that we’ve already seen part one (“The Wonder Years”), so that the ensuing story of reconciliation with the past will make more sense.

Happily, we’re privy to a lot of great stories… in fact, a bulk of this movie is Mr. Rogers’ storytelling land. But they’re darn entertaining, so it works. I also think that we all have our own camp memories, and they transfer well into the movie.

Is our childhood lost forever when we, as Allison said in The Breakfast Club, “grow up and our hearts die?” I don’t think so (heck, I run one of the most childish sites on this cozy community known as the internet), and neither do the characters in this movie. The likes of Bill Paxton and Kevin Pollak are given a huge playground to rediscover what they once thought was gone. Grown adults play tricks on each other, host midnight raids on the kitchen, and work out their love lives to the bittersweet memories of days left behind.

In the end, Indian Summer has enough elements of fun and jocularity to keep this film from sliding into the abyss of Sappydom. I liked it, and so should you.



  • Look for Sam Raimi, director of the Evil Dead series and For Love of the Game, in a great role as the camp maintenance man. He’s a riot!
  • Camp Tamakwa is a real camp in Canada. Check out Jason Biggs in American Pie, as he wears the shirt of this camp.
  • Filmed at director Mike Binder’s childhood summer camp
  • Stick stares into the camera for the entirety of the credits.

Groovy Quotes:

[about his fiance]
Jamie: Uncle Lou, look at that. 21 years old. How am I gonna go six nights without that?
Lou: You probably won’t Jamie. Just try not to kill an wild animals in the process.

Bradley: Is it me? I don’t remember it smelling this much like urine.
Matt: The cabin always smelled like urine. That’s how you found it when you came up the hill in the dark.

Bradley: You know who I feel sorry for? All those guys who had vasectomies in the 70s. Now with safe sex, they still gotta wear condoms.

If you liked this movie, try these:

  • Beautiful Girls
  • Now and Then

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