Watching movies while the air conditioning blasts away is one of the loveliest (and perhaps guiltiest) of summertime pleasures. Sometimes it’s just too darned hot to be outside playing volleyball and eating watermelon.
Films that feature heat waves are always are an entertaining choice while you’re sitting in the dark on a lazy afternoon, and there are so many excellent scorcher films to choose from — from Hitchcock’s REAR WINDOW (1954), with its absolutely perfect cinematic portrayal of summer, to Spike Lee’s very sweaty DO THE RIGHT THING (1989). It’s so hot in SEVEN YEAR ITCH (1955) that Marilyn Monroe suggests she leaves “the icebox door open and soak the sheets in ice water.” She decides against cold, wet sheets, but she does stand over the subway for a cool breeze. What people did before a-c.
It may not be easy, but if you provide copious amounts of cold beer or shandy, home-made sangria, frozen margaritas, or other icey concoctions, you may be able to get your friends out of their own air-conditioned environments and over to your place to enjoy a cool lineup of films during these dog days of summer.
In memory of author Ray Bradbury, who wrote the original story, you may want to consider the sci-fi classic, IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE (1953). It’s hot out there in the Arizona desert. In a memorable movie line, Sheriff Matt Warren says, “Did you know, Putnam, more people are murdered at ninety-two degrees Fahrenheit than any other temperature? I read an article once — lower temperatures, people are easy-going. Over ninety two, it’s too hot to move. But just ninety-two, people get irritable.” (And remember that 92 degree threshold if you’re tempted to make an insulting hand gesture when someone cuts you off in traffic on a 92 degree day.)
A campy little gem, with a few great songs like “Banana Boat,” is CALYPSO HEAT WAVE (1957). This one is worth a watch, especially because of appearances by Johnny Desmond, Joel Grey, and Maya Angelou. Yes, Maya Angelou.
And then there’s Lawrence Kasdan’s sexy and suspenseful BODY HEAT (1981), a noir homage to THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE and DOUBLE INDEMNITY. Sure, it’s the 1980s during a heat wave in Florida and no one turns their air on. No matter. Kathleen Turner provides some shocking smolder, and William Hurt is an excellent sleaze. Mickey Rourke and Ted Danson also appear. The film still holds up as a compelling thriller, and it’s steamy enough — really, really steamy — that you might want to select your at-home viewing audience carefully.
Have a Happy Fourth. Turn off the lights and turn down the thermostat. When the temperature soars, what will you be watching?