It's almost July, which means its time to give up on any semblance of productivity at work and start plotting your escape. If you're half a couple, this list should guide you in your quest to make your relationship last through summer vacation. If you're single, or if, like us, your bank account balance won't get you past the 101, why not use it to plan a film festival sponsored by Netflix and located on your living room couch?
5. Bonjour Tristesse (1958)
If you're a fashion designer recently invited by your wealthy lover to summer on the French Riviera — and really, these days, who among us isn't? — check out Otto Preminger's adaptation of Françoise Sagan's novel Bonjour Tristesse. Jean Seberg plays Cecile, a spoiled only daughter intent on ending her father's engagement to the elegant but strict Anne (Deborah Kerr). Watching her, you'll want to cut off all your hair and spend the rest of your life swanning about in a yellow bathing suit, too. So much of Preminger's film is beautifully surreal: Seberg's face set against the Mediterranean, Kerr in a white pantsuit tied with a scarlet bow. The movie also offers an important real life lesson, which is that if you're planning to actually marry your wealthy, villa-owning boyfriend, you should make sure his daughter isn't a gifted psychological terrorist first.
4. Everyone Else (2010)
Say you're a young woman of unconventional beauty and tempestuous nature, happiest poolside in a bikini top and plastic shorts. Say your uptight boyfriend brings you to his family's vacation home in Sardinia. He befriends another couple there, and their accomplishments throw the flaws in your own relationship into sharp relief. If Everyone Else were a Hollywood movie it would star Reese Witherspoon and Justin Long and end with one or all of of them crying in an airport. Instead, German writer/director Maren Ade leaves Gitti (Birgit Minichmayr) and Christopher (Lars Eidinger) to work out complexities familiar to anyone who's ever been twenty-something and dumb and in love.
3. Twentynine Palms (2003)
Aspiring model/actresses and photographer boyfriends alike, take note: if you're headed west this summer, avoid the 29 Palms exit off the 62E. In Bruno Dumont's 2003 movie, David Wissak and Yekaterina Golubeva drift aimlessly in Joshua Tree having sex, snapping at each other and then having more sex until the moment you're ready to claw your own eyes out with boredom, at which exact moment something unspeakable happens. Dumont combines limitless ennui and motivationless violence to create a horror movie that might have you rethinking next year's trip to Coachella.
2. Two Days in Paris (2007)
If abject terror isn't your thing, you might check out Julie Delpy's painfully accurate depiction of reasons not to travel with your significant other to a city where you have lots of ex-significant others. Delpy is marvelous at imagining exactly what might happen if you did, from Adam Goldberg — her real life ex-boyfriend — trying to interpret her French text messages, to Delpy's failed attempt to get back at him by sleeping with an old boyfriend. If you go to Paris you'll get rained on, spend too much money, and run into exes who might sext you. The only risk you run by watching this movie at home by yourself is accidentally having too much fun.
1. The Trip (2011)
There are worse fates than to be employed by a newspaper to eat food and write about it, but to watch Michael Winterbottom's latest, you wouldn't know it. Steve Coogan and his number one frenemy, Rob Brydon, motor through the countryside for a food criticism assignment, trying to outfunny and outfamous each other to greater and greater degrees of awkwardness. Ultimately, Brydon, the less successful of the two, returns home to his wife and child, while Coogan's left with an ambivalent girlfriend. The lesson here, we're led to believe, is that fame means nothing when compared to family and security. The one we take away instead is that Steve Coogan is kind of a drag.
To recap: Make sure his kids don't hate you, don't go to Sardinia or Joshua Tree, don't bring him to Paris, and try not to date Steve. Anything we forgot?