Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The 5 Best Movies to Watch on a Summer Day

Looking for that perfect movie to watch on a hot, leisurely summer day? Here are my picks for your five best bets (click on blue titles to read a film review):

Paul woos Joanne.
1. The Long, Hot Summer – Everyone speaks in a slow Southern drawl, sips ice-cold lemonade, and wipes perspiration from their foreheads (well, the ladies dab it with a hankie). Plus, Orson Welles does a fine “Big Daddy” imitation, Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward generate real-life sparks, Richard Anderson plays a wussy “gentleman,” Angela Lansbury wants boiled icing, and Jimmie Rodgers sings the lovely title song. Want more? Some of the townsfolk think Paul’s handsome drifter is a barn burner!

Marta Kristen as a mermaid.
2. Beach Blanket Bingo - Well, it’s the name of the game! Go to the beach with Frankie, Annette, and the gang and catch some big waves. Donna Loren sings her best song. Frankie tries to make Annette jealous with Deborah Walley, while Annette tries to make Frankie jealous with John Ashley. Bonehead dates a pretty mermaid while Linda Evans’s Sugar Kane calls him Boney. Paul Lynde cracks jokes while South Dakota Slim just acts creepy. And, best of all, there’s Eric Von Zipper, who tells Sugar that he likes her—and when Eric Von Zipper likes someone, they stay liked!

3. Picnic – Another handsome drifter—this time played by William Holden—wanders into a small town to see old chum Cliff Robertson…and inadvertently steals his girlfriend Kim Novak. Kim’s Mom is mad because Cliff is rich. Rosalind Russell’s desperate spinster wants to get married. Kim and William slow dance at an eventful picnic to the rapturous “Love Theme from Picnic.” Oh, and did I mention it was based on a play by the fabulous William Inge?

Troy and Sandra discover young love.
4. A Summer Place – Former lovers Richard Egan and Dorothy McGuire rekindle their love during a vacation at a summer retreat. It’s too bad they’re both married to other people…a situation that worsens when their teen children (Sandra Dee and Troy Donahue) develop an attraction. The stunning locales and rich Max Steiner music bring Delmer Daves’ first-rate soap opera to life. As a bonus, Constance Ford plays one of the worst mothers in screen history!

5. Body Heat – It’s the sweatiest movie ever made. Kathleen Turner wants her husband dead. Third-rate lawyer William Hurt wants Kathleen. Can you say Double Indemnity…with Ted Danson and Mickey Rourke tag-teaming in the Edward G. Robinson role? Lawrence Kasdan’s modern film noir hits all the right notes, with musical ones being provided by John Barry’s slinky, haunting music score.

Honorable mentions: The Parent Trap, Dirty Dancing, and State Fair.

What would be on your best list for movies to watch on a summer day?


  1. The Long Hot Summer - I love your comment about how everybody else "wipes" sweat, but ladies "dab with a hankie". You are a gentleman!

    Beach Blanket Bingo - Of course! Go von Zipper!

    Picnic - That music, Inge, and Holden. Sigh..

    Summer Place - Divorce, adultery, teen sex ... what a summer!

    Body Heat - You couldn't be more right..."the sweatiest movie" is right! And that score is to die for.

    Which State Fair are you thinking about? My favorite of the three is with Dana Andrews and Jeanne Craine.

  2. I would add Esther Williams for summertime watching - all that lovely swimming in lovely water! (not to mention lovely Esther to look at!) - particularly 'Pagan Love Song,' which takes place in Tahiti; the story doesn't make much sense, but w/all that gorgeous scenery (including Esther), who cares!

  3. I've never seen PICNIC, so I just watched the trailer on Youtube. Indeed it is like The Long, Hot Summer!

    It'll be a great movie to watch next weekend. Thanks, Rick.

    -- JAVA

  4. These are five fabulous flicks for summer picks, Rick! I love "Long, Hot Summer" with its excellent ensemble cast including the lovely Lee Remick who is perfect as Eula, whose name all the boys call in the heat of the night. "Beach Blanket Bingo" is a wonderfully fun movie. It is fun to see Bonehead and a mermaid, hear the fabulous Donna Loren, and enjoy the wise saying of Eric Von Zipper. "Picnic" sizzles because of the chemistry of Kim Novak and William Holden amidst a romantic music score. "A Summer Place" is special because of young and reconnected love in a special getaway setting. And "Body Heat" is extremely well named. Kathleen Turner and William Hurt are fabulous. Your short essays are very descriptive and spot on. Loved this blog!

  5. Toto, I think your descriptions of the five movies are better than mine! Becky, the Jeanne Crain version was the one I had in mind. It's my favorite version, too. Java, yes, if you liked LONG, HOT SUMMER, I am sure that PICNIC will appeal. Grand Old Movies, a friend of mine absolutely loved Esther Williams and would have been stunned to see that I didn't list any of her movies. Thanks for the adds!

  6. I hate being too warm and sweating, so I enjoy hot summer movies on a hot summer day inside a room with two fans on high and the C/A cranked. THE LONG, HOT SUMMER is a movie that always makes me feel the heat, in terms of temperature (although I guess dramatically as well). This is a great list, Rick, and I can't think of another film to add, not a classic film, at least. Films from Thailand and a lot of movies set in the South (like HEAVEN'S PRISONERS) dramatize the searing sun and high temps very well!

  7. I love these oldies but goodies watch summer movies using Blockbuster my mail offer and I have it free for 3 months for being a new DISH Network customer. Working for DISH I can tell you I have access to TV shows, movies, blu-rays, and games! Blu-rays are at no additional charge Netflix and Redbox cannot compete with that. Check out this link http://bit.ly/kzed79.

  8. Some of my Summer faves are: "The Long, Hot Summer", "Gidget" (the original with Sandra Dee), "Diamond Head", "Where the Boys Are", "Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation", "Roman Holiday", "Sabrina", "Love in the Afternoon", "Paris When It Sizzles", and "Charade" all come to mind. I also have to agree with, Grand Old Movies, any Esther Williams movie, is perfect for a Summer movie choice.

  9. Rick, I just saw that your article was posted on MovieFan Fare! How did I miss that little tidbit of information? Congratulations!