20. Super 8 (2011)
Director: J. J. Abrams
Stars: Joel Courtney, Elle Fanning, Kyle Chandler, Riley Griffith, Ryan Lee, Ron Eldard
Vacation destination: A small town in Ohio
Abrams' sci-fi coming-of-age story feels like a exhilarating mash-up of Steven Spielberg classics (E.T., The Goonies) and it should—Spielberg executive produced the flick.
It's 1979. School is out and so is some elusive, supernatural presence, which is released after a train collides with a pickup truck. Budding filmmaker Joe (Courtney) is making a zombie movie at the train station and captures the horrifying scene on his super 8 camera. With his film crew friends, he decides to embark on the kind of adventure that only responsibility-free adolescents on summer vacation can. Only unlike ours, theirs involves evading government officials and taking on military forces. We weren't into that kind of stuff until we were at least 19.