No matter where you are, chances are that you’re feeling the heat these days. Yes, we’ve been talking a lot about summer arriving but boy it feels like it, doesn’t it?!
Both Europe and the U.S. East Coast recently got hit with record breaking heat waves, while this weekend out on the West Coast – including here at Loot Crate HQ in L.A. – we’re facing down a weekend of triple digit weather. Heinous! So, provided that you aren’t in an air-conditioned movie theater this weekend (you know, we here there’s a rad new superhero flick opening… 😉 ), stay in, cool off and enjoy some of these Friday Five films that also turn up the heat…
Many a film buff will argue over the virtues of the best of Alfred Hitchcock’s legacy of thrillers; opinions vary, but 1954’s Rear Window nearly always emerges near the top of the list, often cited as a favorite. Rear Window takes its swelteringly hot big-city-in-summer setting and uses that to add extra tension. Jimmy Stewart’s injured photographer, along with lady friend Grace Kelly, would be in enough hot water as they inadvertently uncover a murderous neighbor, meanwhile the weather can’t be making it easier for them to think their way through this mess…
Do the Right Thing
Spike Lee’s hip-hop comedy-drama classic landed like a rocketship in the summer of 1989, perfectly timed for so many reasons, not the least of which was the season. Nearly everything about Do the Right Thing – the incredible cast, Lee’s kinetic and unmistakable visual style, the towering soundtrack lead by headliners Public Enemy – is a once in a generation home-run. And then Lee takes his tale of simmering racial tensions in a Brooklyn neighborhood and sets it on the hottest day of the year, perfectly underlining the pervasive sense of rage and unease that makes the film tick.
Some of the Coen Brothers’ oddball fables that dig deeply into the American subconscious are a lot stranger than others; some are so uniquely weird that they swing back around to popular. (O Brother Where Art Thou? is among their most loved, probably because of the music being so damn good. Music is a great uniter!) Anyhow, for the younger fans out there, we can’t recommend 1991’s Barton Fink enough – it’s one of their most deeply surreal flicks, with John Turturro’s screenwriter struggling to create in Old Hollywood during a heatwave, but boy the metaphor for Hell is pretty spot-on.
By this point, 1973’s dystopian, cautionary flick is more or less a punchline in the minds of many thanks to that spoiler that seemingly everyone knows even if they haven’t seen the movie. That gruesome revelation notwithstanding, Soylent Green is an interesting footnote in the downbeat turn that sci-fi took in the Seventies; while some of the class and gender politics feel like the Stone Age by today’s measure, it was incredibly prescient with in its concepts of global warming disaster. Yep, part of why everyone’s so miserable and starving is that Chuck Heston and his fellow 21st Century dwellers are stuck in a permanent heat wave.
Then we leap forward a few decades to 2007, to find British maestro Danny Boyle also examining ecological disaster, but in a completely different way. There’s a lot going on in Sunshine – plot strands about everything from physics to religion – but the basic plot sees an unforseen collapse of the Sun. Earth’s astronaut’s tried to jumpstart the day star’s ticker and failed, so a second crew is now on their way – Cillian Murphy, Michelle Yeoh, a pre-Cap Chris Evans and more among them – to make the attempt. It may be freezing on Earth, but on the Icarus II it keeps getting hotter the closer they get to the sun. Yeah, that can’t be good for anyone’s nerves, or sanity…