If the ridiculously hot weather we've experienced in the last few weeks has sent you retreating indoors with your proverbial tail between your legs, don't fret; summer is only a press of the play button away.
From The Beach Boys to "Dazed and Confused," there's just something about summer that resonates with producers of American pop culture. Sure, there are great songs and films about the other seasons, such as The Beatles' "Here Comes the Sun," and "In Bruges." Unlike summer releases, however, many of those tracks and films treat the other seasons as window dressing, rather than something of critical importance to the work.
The fact that I had to look up "Best songs/films of ..." on Google to come up with those examples is kind of a case in point. By comparison, I can -- without breaking a sweat or resorting to the Internet -- rattle off a handful of releases in which the fact that it's summer is critically important.
If you, like Eddie Cochran, are experiencing a bad case of the summertime blues, just queue up any of the following from the air-conditioned splendor of your living room:
1. "Falling Down." Michael Douglas portraying a vigilante office worker out for blood on a pleasant spring afternoon? Come on. That would have been a very different film, if not for a traffic jam on a sweltering summer afternoon to set off his rampage.
2. "California Girls" by The Beach Boys. The Beach Boys are pretty much the go-to band for musical summer homages. While the season is never explicitly mentioned, the song likely wouldn't have mentioned tanning and bikinis if they were talking about another season.
3. "California Gurls" by Katy Perry. OK, so she can't spell very well, and she's clearly ripping off the No. 2 song, but Perry makes an equally compelling case for enjoying the summer sun's ability to kiss exposed skin even as it lays waste to Popsicles the world over.
4. "Jaws." The summer isn't always an idyllic time, as evidenced in Steven Spielberg's summertime thriller has discouraged generations of beachgoers from doing anything more adventurous than wading in the shallows since releasing in 1975.
5. "Chattahoochee" by Alan Jackson. Jackson's single about living it up on the Georgia river technically was released in spring (May 17, 1993), but it was a summer song through and through. Everyone was singing the phrase "hoochie coochie" after the song hit the No. 1 spot on July 17, where it remained for three weeks.
6. "Caddyshack." Pretend the awful sequel never existed and revel in one of the best films about whiling away the summer, not to mention one of cinema's finest films about the links ever made. Na-na-na-na-na-na.
7. "Dazed and Confused." This is not just a great flick about rebellious teen summer revelry. It also features Matthew McConaughey as a grown man stuck in the past, one of his few roles that isn't so thin as to be immediately off-putting.
Heat too high? Dial down the thermostat, kick back in a recliner and thank me later.