Baldwin: Summer cinema is almost gone

Greetings, my fellow cinephiles of Winchester.

Labor Day is approaching, school is back in session (you lied Alice Cooper) and, like Jim Morrison of The Doors sang out with a tone of melancholy, “summer’s almost gone.”

Summer is a time of long fun-filled days, vacations, adventures finished off with long nights of campouts, sleepovers and movies before falling asleep with a smile.

Summer is a chance for us to reconnect and rekindle our memories of when we were younger, more carefree and excitable before we lost our innocence to the world.

Today’s films are two end-of-summer features that speak to the observations and sentiment above, all along entertaining the viewer and leaving a lasting impact about the nostalgia of the last week of summer break.

Before George Lucas ruled Hollywood and the world with his chum Steven Spielberg, Lucas released the popular “American Graffiti” in 1973. “Graffiti” is the coming of age comedy drama of a group of high school grads spending one final night in 1962 cruising the strip in their California hometown blowing off steam, drag racing and finding themselves in comical happenings all the while trying to find themselves as they face the world upon the sunrise.

“Graffiti” was a huge hit and starred young talents such as Ron Howard, Cindy Williams, Richard Dreyfuss and introduced the world to up and comers Suzanne Somers and Harrison Ford.

“Graffiti” is full of laughs, great music with the accompaniment of Wolfman Jack and substance while allowing the viewer to hold reminisce for a bit about the transition and uneasy permission of freedom into the unknown after graduating high school.

“Stand by Me” (1986) is the tale of four 12-year olds played by River Phoenix, Will Wheaton, Corey Feldman and Jerry O’ Connell in 1959 who venture on one last summer adventure together along the railroad tracks through the woods to see the body of a fellow schoolmate.

Along the journey, they fight, joke, sing, cry and bond all the while coping with the awkwardness of growing up, the threats of a local hoodlum gang headed by Kiefer Sutherland and the death of their childhood before returning home.

“Stand by Me” was the screen adaptation from Stephen King’s novella “The Body” directed by Rob Reiner and narrated as a flashback by Richard Dreyfuss.

The end of summer is not the end of life, though as a kid it did feel like it at times.

Summer is a season of that is reminiscent of hugging a loved one and never wanting to let go, but you always must let go and the summer must end. That’s probably why folks move to California or Florida, they always feel like it is summer.

We all must grow up, move forward and learn to thrive in the world we live.

But that that doesn’t mean to lose your inner child.

So, spend the last week of August taking in the rays, the sights and sounds of summer and summer-themed cinema before Sept. 21 arrives.

Have a film-tastic day.

Rick Baldwin is a writer, filmmaker and film/music historian. He is president of the Winchester-Clark County Film Society. Find more from Rick on Facebook. He is on Twitter @rickbaldwin79  and can be reached by email at