In many places throughout this great and sweltering nation, the thermometer now sits at 100 degrees or higher. Glands that normally don’t sweat are currently sweating. The eight portable fans propped up in your cubicle no longer serve any function. Before you could collect the change from your mid-afternoon popsicle purchase, the whole thing melted in your hand, leaving behind a forlorn stick and a hand that is now cold and orange-flavored.
If I may quote Kool & the Gang, which I enjoy doing frequently: “It’s too hot. Too hot. Too hot, lady.”
So what could be better on a weekend like this than to stay inside where it’s air-conditioned and watch movies about other people perspiring? (That’s assuming you have power, of course, which is an assumption. If you don’t, you can’t watch movies because: a. no electricity; b. laptop battery is depleted; or c. you’ve already gone blind with rage over your power company’s inability to just FIX IT. Not that I know anything about this.)
Sorry, back to the point: Here’s a list of 10 great movies about unbearable heat, a few of which were suggested by Celebritology readers who clearly haven’t let the inhumane temperatures affect their ability to recall excellent films.
“The Long Hot Summer” (1958)
The title pretty much says it all. But so does the image of a smoldering Paul Newman — who plays a guy who drifts into a Mississippi town and falls in love with Joanne Woodward — without a shirt. (Suggested by loyal Celebritology reader epjd.)
“In the Heat of the Night” (1967)
Another classic set in steamy Mississippi, it won the Academy Award for best picture and delivered Sidney Poitier’s memorable insistence that we call him Mr. Tibbs. “Rod Steiger at his best,” says reader Russ Bradley.
“Off the Map” (2003)
A gem of an indie directed by Campbell Scott, starring Sam Elliott and Joan Allen, and set in the palpably hot and gorgeous middle-of-nowhere, New Mexico.
“Y Tu Mamá También” (2001)
That little threesome that Taylor Kitsch, Aaron Johnson and Blake Lively have got going in “Savages”? It has nothin’ on the sultry, NC-17 rated trio of Gael Garcia Bernal, Diego Luna and Maribel Verdu in this beautifully shot breakout from Alfonso Cuaron.
“A Streetcar Named Desire” (1951) and/or “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” (1958)
Both are adaptations of Tennessee Williams plays. Both were released in the 1950s. Both feature fine actors parading around in skimpy clothes in an attempt to beat the Southern heat. Instead of choosing which one to include on the list, I slapped them together as one humid, uber-dramatic double feature. (Thanks to Beth Caputo for the “Hot Tin Roof” recommendation.)
“Biloxi Blues” (1988)
“This is like Africa hot. Tarzan couldn’t take this kinda hot.” You got that right, Matthew Broderick. (Thank you, Michele Moore-Hirata, for reminding me how much I love this movie.)
“Body Heat” (1981)
Kathleen Turner was at her sexiest in Lawrence Kasdan’s neo-noir libido elevator, which treated moviegoers to the sight of Turner and William Hurt taking a bath in a tub filled with ice cubes. Oh, and having lots of sex. (Props to Beth Caputo and td_in_baltimore for noting this one.)
“The Help” (2011)
If you missed last summer’s box office hit about the civil rights movement and Bryce Dallas Howard eating the world’s grossest piece of pie, now is the chance to luxuriate in its fine performances and many shots of fans waving on hot summer days.
“Rambling Rose” (1991)
I absolutely adore this movie, which features a magical, fragile Laura Dern as a loosey-goosey Southern girl whose milkshake brings all the boys to the Hillyer family’s yard. Problem is it’s the 1930s, and Mr. Hillyer (Robert Duvall), for whom Dern’s Rose carries an inappropriate torch, is not at all down with the Kelis lifestyle.
“Do the Right Thing” (1989)
This definitive Spike Lee joint is, to my mind, the most effective depiction of summer’s oppressive heat ever captured on film. I need a cold cloth on my forehead just thinking about it.
This is obviously not a definitive list. What else belongs on it? Post a comment to suggest more summer-heat movies worth watching this weekend, and thanks to all the readers who e-mailed or posted on the Celebritology Facebook page with suggestions.