Hot Summer Nights

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Show me a film set in the 80’s or early 90’s and you immediately have my attention.

Hot Summer Nights is a movie with a great setting and an interesting -if somewhat cliche – plot. The problem is that Elijah Bynum couldn’t decide what kind of movie he wanted it to be. One moment it’s a carefree, almost whimsical tale of two kids selling weed during the hot summer nights of the 90’s. The next minute, it’s dark and gruesome as Hunter (Alex Roe) crushes a guy’s skull. Then the film decides it’s a romantic love story with Danny (Timothee Chalamet) and McKayla (Maika Monroe) huddled together in the car during a thunderstorm.

Simply put, I just didn’t know how to feel while watching the majority of Hot Summer Nights.

The plot left a lot to be desired. I felt as though Danny progressed too quickly from being a dorky loner to a high-roller drug dealer. His friendship with Hunter never felt realistic to me. I also found it really hard to believe that Hunter, the guy that literally everyone bought drugs from, never found out about Danny’s relationship with his sister, McKayla.

That said, there were several things I enjoyed about the film.

The cinematography is breathtaking and artistic. There are a myriad of beautiful shots. The soundtrack is, as one can expect from a movie set during this particular time period, fantastic. Maika Monroe and Alex Roe had great performances and really drew you into their characters.

Despite the fact that I never dealt drugs, Hot Summer Nights managed to evoke a sense of nostalgia for my adolescence. Something about those hot summer nights, free of responsibility and ripe with potential, will always remain an elusive desire of mine.

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