One not-so-long-ago summer day, back when I was spending my September-May as an overworked BA-pursuer/perpetual stress-monkey and my summers as a comparatively calm video-store employee, I met a man I didn't understand. I was trying to sell him a summer-fun video-rental coupon book; he wasn't having any of my ace sales pitch. "I don't watch that many movies in the summer," he said.
"Summer is the only time that I get to watch movies," I replied, incredulous.
So: Consider this a list for students and their teachers/professors; for MPs, the photosensitive, cinephiles and heat-haters; for anyone who gets their only downtime in the summertime and plans to spend at least part of it curled up in a cool basement, with a fan and some DVDs.
While patio-lovers patio-lounge with tall glasses of patio-drink, I'll be kicking back with a Glass of my own---Ira Glass, naturally. Season two of the TV version of the bespectacled host's long-running doc-and-essay radio show This American Life hits DVD on July 21. Or, if Glass and company's episode-long ruminations on a theme aren't for you, but you're still jonesing for a doc, try Strip Club King: The Story of Joe Redner, about the man Wikipedia lovingly describes as "the father of the nude lap dance" (August 4). Other docs with promise: love letter to Steve Jobs Welcome To Macintosh (July 14); Oscar-nominated Hurricane Katrina doc Trouble the Water (August 25); Resolved (July 7), about high-school debating; Outrage (September 1), a takedown of closeted anti-gay politicians, and Louise Bourgeois: The Spider, the Mistress and the Tangerine (June 23), a movie about the sculptress of giant spider statues that's sure to delight art fans and movie-producer Jon Peters (Wild Wild West) alike.
None of the season two songs on HBO's singing-New-Zealanders-in-NYC series Flight Of The Conchords (out August 4) were as good as season one's "Cheer Up, Murray" and "Business Time," but the season had enough odd character moments (Bret's gloves that look like hands and man-woven pants come to mind) and weird, hilarious lines ("Boys, you can't go stealing cushions. Imagine how you'd feel your whole life," band manager Murray admonishes) to make up for it---plus, Jemaine in an Art Garfunkel wig.
Prefer your entertainment delivered with a British accent? The comedy on Channel 4's The IT Crowd is sometimes broad, but the show is geek-friendly and frequently hilarious, and its second season's out June 30; the British Life On Mars is apparently much better than the American spin-off---check out its first season July 28; all three seasons of the odd British sketch/"fantasy show" The Mighty Boosh hit stores July 21. Or, you could always get ready for a Big Bouncy British Boobs Bonanza (apparently out July 14---I certainly won't be joining you).
If that news about Mighty Boosh DVDs got you jazzed, listen up: there's tons more weird comedy on DVD coming soon: MTV's early-'90s sketch show The State finally gets the complete series release fans have long-hankered for, July 14. The show starred much of the cast of RENO 911! and Michael Ian Black, Michael Showalter and David Wain (AKA the comedy group Stella. Bonus: Stella: Live in Boston hits stores September 1).
And just think about it: Along with those DVDs you also get $240 worth of pudding. Also out this summer, on August 4: Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! Season 3 (featuring Tim Heidecker's mind-tigers and Patton Oswalt).
Plus: On July 28, Joss Whedonites can pick up season one of Dollhouse and catch that never-aired season finale; then, let's all show Pushing Daisies and Ned the dead-waking piemaker some post-mortem love by picking up that series' final season (July 21). Wanna get your Criterion on? Check out extras-packed restorations of My Dinner with Andre (June 23), space doc For All Mankind (July 14) and Polanski's Repulsion (July 28); then, to cap your summer off, see some of 2008's reputed best---Waltz with Bashir (out June 23) and The Class (August 11).