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Thursday, June 13, 2024
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Weekend Watchlist: Eight of the warmest, hottest and sweatiest movies to watch this summer

A list of films that were left out to burn in the summer heat

The school year has ended; temperatures rise while Canvas usage plummets. Summer is here, and The Eagle has the perfect list of films to add to your watchlist.

To fill the few hours that you will find yourself indoors, consider any of these eight movies to watch…

Rear Window” (1954)

After professional photographer Jeff (James Stewart) suffers a leg injury that leaves him on bed rest, he begins to spy on his neighbors and – despite the protests of his girlfriend Lisa (Grace Kelly) – believes that one of them has committed a murder. 

Star-studded with the iconic James Stewart and Grace Kelly and helmed by the legendary Alfred Hitchcock, “Rear Window” is a notable peak of Hollywood’s Golden Age. Hitchcock weaves through the confines of Jeff’s apartment complex in the middle of an intense heatwave to craft an unrelenting, sweaty, claustrophobic atmosphere that drowns in the tension and thrill he is so talented at creating.

If – like our protagonist, Jeff – you find yourself stuck indoors this summer, this enthralling piece of classic cinema is the film for you.

“Rear Window” is available to rent or buy on Amazon Prime.

Celine and Julie Go Boating” (1974)

From the delightfully experimental Jacques Rivette, “Celine and Julie Go Boating” is a unique work from the French New Wave. It blends comedy, fantasy and realism into something that has never been done before (or been done since).

The film follows the curiously linked pair of the magician Celine (Juliet Berto), the librarian Julie (Dominique Labourier) and their strange connection – bordering on obsession – with a peculiar house that seems to exist in a world of its own with rules of its own. Berto and Labourier perfectly embody the titular characters of Celine and Julie; their chemistry sprouts and blossoms into a wonderful companionship by the end of the film.

“Celine and Julie” breaks down cinematic walls that we didn’t even know existed – sometimes it feels more like a play than a film. You’re never sure what it exactly is, but the effect is engrossing and dazzlingly entertaining: a phenomenal hang-out comedy for this summer.

“Celine and Julie Go Boating” is available to stream on the Criterion Channel.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” (1974)

It is perhaps the most perfect title in the history of horror films.

After Sally and her brother Franklin hear about a grave robber, the two decide to take a road trip with three more of their friends to check on their grandfather’s grave. 

While exploring the area and coming across a now-abandoned house they once visited as kids, the fivesome encounter Leatherface: the chainsaw-wielding villain of the film who is a member of the cannibalistic family that terrorizes the area. The film spirals into a sadistic state of madness as the group is picked off one by one.

“The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” does precisely what it says on the tin; it’s a bloody, gruesome and violent slasher movie. Under the Texas sun, the film maintains an unrelenting, intense and sweaty atmosphere.

Though financed on a barebones budget of $140,000, the film made more than 200 times this at the box office and became one of the most influential and important horror films ever made.

“The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” is available to stream on Peacock.

Do the Right Thing” (1989)

Confined to 24 hours in a densely and diversely-populated neighborhood in Brooklyn on the hottest day of the year, “Do the Right Thing” is the cinematic equivalent to a boiling pot of water. As racial tensions within the neighborhood build up and bubble over, the film feels like it’s growing hotter and hotter as well.

The crux of “Do the Right Thing” comes from a disagreement between the owner of Sal’s Pizzeria (a staple of the neighborhood) and a patron of the restaurant over there being no black people included in the restaurant’s “Wall of Fame.”

Fueled by animosity, “Do the Right Thing” escalates and escalates into a final, cathartic moment of violence and clarity. It’s a damning critique of America’s relations with race and racism that director Spike Lee executes to a tee.

“Do the Right Thing” is available to rent or buy on Amazon Prime.

Boogie Nights” (1997)

Released in 1997 as his sophomore film, Paul Thomas Anderson’s “Boogie Nights” is striking, ambitious and wildly entertaining. For being so early in his career, PTA showcases an impressive talent in weaving such a detailed, layered and emotional story together.

While working as a busboy in coastal California, Eddie Adams (Mark Wahlberg) is discovered by porn director Jack Horner (Burt Reynolds) and becomes a budding and eager talent. After entering this world of sex, drugs and stardom, Eddie adopts the pornstar alter-ego of “Dirk Diggler” and rises to an extreme level of fame. PTA documents this surprisingly moving rise and fall from grace, showcasing the intense highs and lows that come with fame and status.

“Boogie Nights” boasts a perfectly curated soundtrack and countless stellar performances as it embodies the exuberant, carefree and pleasure-driven attitudes of a ‘70s California soaked in sun, drugs and disco.

“Boogie Nights” is available to stream on Paramount+.

Y Tu Mamá También” (2001)

“Y Tu Mamá También” follows two teenage boys and a woman in her late twenties who embark on a road trip together to a remote beach in Mexico. 

With the boys on the cusp of manhood between high school and college, and the women caught in a curious existential crisis, the film tells a unique and thoroughly moving coming-of-age story.

The film’s backdrop is a Mexico fraught with political turmoil at the end of the 1990s. “Y Tu Mamá También” achieves impressive political commentary while exploring the emotional struggles and dynamic between its lead threesome.

Charged by the horniness of its adolescent leads, the film borders on being crass and hypersexual. Yet through the older character of Luisa (Maribel Verdú), a level of objectivity and maturity is brought to this captivating story.

“Y Tu Mamá También” is available to stream on Sling TV.

Miami Vice” (2006)

Michael Mann’s film adaptation of the hit 1980s show “Miami Vice” is a misunderstood masterpiece. 

The film initially received lukewarm reviews, with praise for its visual style but criticism of it as an adaptation; subsequently, “Miami Vice” garnered a cult following in the years after its release.

The film has found such love for its impressive visual style, moods and atmosphere. When you’re watching “Miami Vice,” there is an overwhelming feeling for the film’s setting at all times. Mann crafts the atmosphere of warm nights in the city of Miami and tropical, amorous moods within its setting of Cuba.

Although its plot is clear and pans out extremely well, “Miami Vice” is a movie that somehow cares more about the feelings it is portraying than the story it is telling. It’s an impressive work of digital film and one of the most stylish movies ever made.

“Miami Vice” is available to stream on Netflix.

Dune” (2021), “Dune: Part Two” (2024)

Though “Dune” was not the biggest of hits, “Dune: Part Two” managed to take over where the first film left off and bring the series into a new realm of filmmaking, popularity and success. 

The heavy-handed world-building of the first has finally paid off in its excellent sequel: “Dune: Part Two,” where our protagonist Paul’s (Timothée Chalamet) journey to his destiny has significantly ramped up. 

Director Denis Villeneuve’s patience with the story has resulted in a cinematic payoff that the original books promise, culminating in a show-stopping science fiction blockbuster.

A necessary viewing because of their growing cultural significance, the Dune films are also a great way to spend a cinematic summer not on Earth – and instead on the intensely hot desert planet of Arrakis.

“Dune” and “Dune: Part Two” are available to stream on Max.

From a peak slasher film to a Hollywood classic to a modern-day science fiction giant – all bathed in the warm sensation of summer – this list has everything to fulfill your seasonal movie needs.

This article was edited by Bailey Hobbs, Sara Winick and Abigail Turner. Copy editing done by Luna Jinks, Ariana Kavoossi and Charlie Mennuti. 

Editor’s note: This podcast discusses topics like suicide, sexual abuse and violence.

In this episode of Couch Potatoes, hosts Sydney Hsu and Sara Winick talk about shows that are created to elicit an emotion response from viewers. Listen along as they discuss past and current trends within media, and how they have affected audiences.

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