It is blazing hot outside this month. So much so that some days it is better just to stay inside and watch a movie. And what is a better way to relate to characters in a movie if they are also dealing with their own heat waves?
Here are some of the best movies about it being hot outside. These films can range from fun action films to engaging dramas, because every kind of situation happens under the hot sun.
1. ‘Do the Right Thing’
Probably the most obvious choice on this list is Spike Lee’s breakout hit “Do the Right Thing.” Set during a heat wave in Brooklyn in the late 1980s, the film focuses on race relations and violence. It is almost impossible to describe the plot of the film considering it is so sparse. It is fun nonetheless to watch these likable characters go through their problems covered in sweat just like you do every day in this heat. “Do the Right Thing” remains one of the most important dramas about race thirty years later.
2. ‘The Warriors’
Walter Hill’s 1979 cult classic may seem like a strange pick for this list, considering the entire film takes place at night. However, one thing that always sticks out in “The Warriors” is the sweat. The film takes place over one night in New York as a youth gang tries to make it back to Coney Island in one piece. The entire movie sees the gang glistening as they run and fight their way through the streets of New York. If there's one thing that “The Warriors” will make you want, it’s a shower.
3. ‘Dog Day Afternoon’
One of the most perfect thrillers from Sidney Lumet, “Dog Day Afternoon” is a pressure cooker of heat. The film shows a desperate man holding up a bank in the middle of a heat wave to pay for his boyfriend's operation, but that is only the start. The wonderful and memorable cast of characters and the nearly flawless screenplay make for an experience that cannot be easily forgotten. The suspense and the sweat make “Dog Day Afternoon” worth it for any suspense fan. Attica! Attica! Attica!
4. ‘Falling Down’
A film that has grown more and more relevant as the years progress, “Falling Down” is a contender for one of the best uses of heat in a film. The heat in the film is used as a narrative device to show the simmering rage of the man character who has had it with society and makes it his mission to make it pay. The main thrust of the film is Michael Douglas’ character trying to find a snowglobe for his daughter's birthday and, we assume, to cool himself off as well. Joel Shumacher’s film is still relevant in a time of rampant alienation and frustration. Plus the heat wave makes Los Angeles looks very cool.
5. ‘Barton Fink’
The Coen brothers’ very personal film about a screenwriter who gets writer's block is an unlikely pick for this list, but once one turns on the film it's obvious to see why it is here. As Barton dreams of a temperate beach that’s quiet and nice, his real world is a stuffy and hot apartment in Los Angeles where he can’t get any work done. The intensity from the heat slowly builds until a great inferno captures his building, and he is forced to confront his fears. The heat wave and heat in general are used brilliantly in this underrated Coen brothers’ film.
6. ‘12 Angry Men’
Anger and heat is probably the most obvious cinematic parallel you can make, but “12 Angry Men” pulls it off perfectly. The entire film takes place in one room as the 12 jurors on a murder trial try to decide the fate of the young man who is accused. As the film progresses and allegiances are made, the characters all get more and more sweaty. This perfectly corresponds to the anger that some of the characters feel towards the other jurors. All of it culminates in some of the most satisfying staging and dialogue ever written for a film.
7. ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ and ‘Baby Doll’
Elia Kazan’s adaptations of Tennessee Williams’ classic plays are unforgettable. There are few films in American cinema that have such bursting sexual power. Nearly every frame Brando or Baker are in is filled with sweat and passion that is simply missing in the post-film era. These films use heat in a way to suggest longing as opposed to the others on this list who use it as a stand-in for anger or hatred. These two 1950s dramas are sure to excite anyone who has felt any kind of passion under the sun.