Indian Summer is a great film that hits all the right notes. It not only brings out the nostalgia for anybody who has attended summer camp but the story is well rounded with the right balance of comedy and drama. The cast is also pitch perfect with the highlights coming from Bill Paxton, Diane Lane and Alan Arkin.
Genre(s): Drama, Comedy
Mill Creek Entertainment | PG13 – 97 min. – $9.98 | October 11, 2011
Directed by: Mike Binder
Writer(s): Mike Binder (written by)
Cast: Alan Arkin, Matt Craven, Diane Lane, Bill Paxton, Elizabeth Perkins, Kevin Pollak, Vincent Spano, Julie Warner, Kimberly Williams
Theatrical Release Date: April 23, 1993
Number of Discs: 1
Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 2.0)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 2.35
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
THE MOVIE – 4.0/5
Plot: Unca Lou (ALAN ARKIN) has invited a select group of Camp Tamakwa campers for a reunion after 20 years, during which romances are rekindled and nostalgia takes hold of the group as they reminisce about the old times and find out where others are now. The camper ensemble include Jamie Ross (MATT CRAVEN) and his 21-year-old honey-bunny girlfriend, Gwen (KIMBERLY WILLIAMS); Beth (DIANE LANE) whose husband, whom she met at camp, had passed away a year earlier; married couple Matthew (VINCENT SPANO) and Kelly (JULIE WARNER) whose marriage is on shaky ground; Jennifer (ELIZABETH PERKINS) who might have a thing for Matthew dating back to their camping days; and businessman, and cousin to Matthew, Brad (KEVIN POLLAK), the camp’s master prankster.
Writer/Director Mike Binder’s nostalgic drama-comedy Indian Summer reaches most demographics as I think most people at some point in their childhood attended summer camp. Released in 1993, the film hardly made a splash at the box office taking in $14.9 million in receipts but in the 18 years since, it has gathered at least a decent following online. I can’t say it’s a great film as the plot can get a tad melodramatic at times but the fun this incredible ensemble cast has with one another more than makes up for any flaws the plotline has.
When it comes to the cast, I’d say its pitch perfect. First, the bigger central characters are Diane Lane and Bill Paxton and both give well rounded performances and, don’t mean to give anything away, share a great on-screen chemistry. The two have the more dramatic background with Lane’s character losing her husband while Paxton plays her husband’s best friend who didn’t attend the funeral. Both are great, but not to be outshined, we do get a couple other solid performances with the married couple in the more clichéd aspect of the film and yet Vincent Spano and Julie Warner are convincing in their parts.
The other standout is, of course, Academy Award nominee Alan Arkin as the heart and soul of the entire picture. As Unca Lou, he not only gives the film a certain weight, but you feel his passion for the camp and the sorrow that he’s giving it all up as he cannot connect with the new generation of campers.
I should also give kudos to the outlier of the group in the character Stick Coder, the son of the camp’s groundskeeper back in the day. The part is played by now famous director Sam Raimi providing the more slapstick element to the film.
Indian Summer was written and director by Mike Binder who went on to helm the superhero comedy Blankman as well as decent dramas The Upside of Anger and Reign Over Me (he has yet to direct anything else after that). It’s a well organized, finely paced direction that makes use of every minute, though I think the film could’ve been two hours…
All in all, this is a well crafted and vastly underrated movie that I think has been largely forgotten over the years. It features a well rounded cast of characters that while somewhat clichéd, doesn’t go overboard. The performances are all well done and wide ranging from the simpler comedic relief by Raimi and, for the most part, Kevin Pollak to more dramatic turns from Diane Lane and Bill Paxton.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 0/5
No features have been included.
VIDEO – 4.0/5
Mill Creek Entertainment has once again given some of the smaller, mostly forgotten films, a Blu-ray release so fans of such films can now enjoy in high-def. The latest is Indian Summer and presented in its original 2.35 widescreen aspect ratio, this 1080p HD transfer looks solid all around, though when you get into more distant shots, things aren’t quite as sharp. However, the close-ups are well detailed and the picture itself seems to be void of dust or scratch-marks. It’s a clean looking transfer and a good improvement over the DVD version.
AUDIO – 3.5/5
Although the back cover states the audio is Dolby Digital 2.0, the actual encoding is a lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Surround track which, while obviously not great, is still pretty good and more than adequate for a film of this genre. The dialogue levels are good while any background noises are fairly flat.
OVERALL – 3.0/5
Overall, Indian Summer is a great film that hits all the right notes. It not only brings out the nostalgia for anybody who has attended summer camp but the story is well rounded with the right balance of comedy and drama. The cast is also pitch perfect with the highlights coming from Bill Paxton, Diane Lane and Alan Arkin. The Blu-ray, while barebones, still features a very nice 1080p high-def transfer and an adequate lossless track.