Entertainment & Arts

With a heat wave scorching California, here are 10 movies that feel your pain

Director Spike Lee, left, and cast members of the 1989 film “Do the Right Thing.”
(Universal Home Entertainment)

We get it: It’s hot outside, especially in Southern California.

With no relief in sight this weekend, why not stay cool inside and watch a film (or 10) that understands just how brutal a heat wave can be? It’ll remind you that there’s life after sweating through your clothes thanks to 100-degree heat.

“Dog Day Afternoon” (1975)

On a dreadfully hot August day, two men decide to rob a bank. Eight hours into their heist, they become the most talked-about duo on television. The best part: It’s based on a true story. Starring Al Pacino and John Cazale, the tension is high and the small and sweaty spaces of the bank make you wonder if they’ll make it out alive — and if your air conditioner can go any lower.


“The Flamingo Kid” (1984)

Starring a young Matt Dillon, Hector Elizondo and Richard Crenna, Garry Marshall’s film follows a high-school senior who spends his summer working at the Flamingo beach club, despite his parent’s wishes, where he lives his best life under the abnormally hot summer sun.

“Southland Tales” (2006)

Three days before the Fourth of July, a massive heat wave spreads across Southern California. Starring Dwayne Johnson, Mandy Moore, Sarah Michelle Gellar and Justin Timberlake, this film is mixed with action, comedy and mystery. It leaves you wondering: “All this happened because it was hot outside?”


“A Time to Kill” (1996)

As Carl Lee Hailey, Samuel L. Jackson portrays a man convicted of killing two white men who raped his 10-year-old daughter. The brother of one of the deceased then enlists help from the KKK. Lawyer Jake Brigance (Matthew McConaughey) works to keep Hailey from being convicted and receiving the death penalty. Between the intensity of the case and the Mississippi sun, there’s hardly a dry forehead for the actors or even the audience.

“Do the Right Thing” (1989)

Hate, racism and heat fuel uncontrollable violence in a Brooklyn neighborhood on one of the hottest days of the year. Directed by Spike Lee, the movie still resonates with its lessons on how to coexist with different races and cultures.

“Our Song” (2000)

Kerry Washington, Anna Simpson and Melissa Martinez star as three high-school teens who bond as their school closes down due to asbestos removal (ironic because asbestos is a heat retardant). Throughout the feverish summer, the girls participate in the Jackie Robinson Steppers Marching Band and pave their own way to making life-changing choices.

“Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” (1958)

The Mississippi humidity isn’t the only thing heating up this classic based on Tennessee Williams’ Pulitzer-winning play. Paul Newman and Elizabeth Taylor play husband and wife, Brick Pollitt and Maggie “the Cat,” whose relationship is nothing short of destructive. As they manipulate and deceive each other in the midst of a family crisis, it’s no wonder they don’t just jump off the hot tin roof they’re living on. Oh, wait...


“Body Heat” (1981)

No romance is complete without a little fire, and this romantic thriller has plenty of it. Set against a heat wave in Florida, lawyer Ned Racine (William Hurt) has a steamy affair with a wealthy woman (Kathleen Turner) and forms a plan to murder her husband (Richard Crenna) to inherit his wealth. Spoiler: Things don’t go exactly to plan.

“The Seven Year Itch” (1955)

When Richard Sherman (Tom Ewell) is home alone for the summer, the once faithful man becomes not-so-faithful when he sees a beautiful new girl (Marilyn Monroe) next door. Taking advantage of a heat wave, Sherman invites her inside to enjoy the air conditioning. Her response? “A married man, air conditioning, Champagne and potato chips — it’s just a wonderful party!”

“Barton Fink” (1991)

Directed and written by Joel and Ethan Coen, “Barton Fink” stars John Turturro as the titular character, a self-deprecating playwright from New York who moves to Los Angeles to write movie scripts for a Hollywood studio. Through Fink’s eyes, Los Angeles transforms into a burning, corrupt sauna and he spirals while also facing major writer’s block.

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