Review: Hot Summer Nights (2017)

“You can’t hold on to everything.”
– McKayla

SYNOPSIS: In the summer of 1991, a sheltered teenage boy comes of age during a wild summer he spends in Cape Cod getting rich from selling pot to gangsters, falling in love for the first time, partying and eventually realizing that he is in over his head. – via IMDB

So I moved this up on my watch list because I adore Timothée Chalamet and I also thoroughly enjoy Maika Monroe, so the talent alone had me like “hells yeah” on this. I had no preconceived ideas about Hot Summer Nights, I remember reading about it before it came and thinking to add it to my watch list because I liked the cast, and A24 has churned out some pretty good movies over the years, then I kind of forgot about it. But then I saw it again and I was like “oh yeah!”.

Hot Summer Nights is a mixed bag. It’s carried by amazing performances from the cast, and it looks great – the outfits of the time, the stylish way it’s shot, the colours, everything on that front works for it. I even like the soundtrack, though at times it just felt like someone wanted to cram as much nostalgic/relevant music of the time to set the scene, which sometimes kinda just dragged you out of the whole affair sometimes? Chalamet was (as expected), fantastic. Honestly. Maika Monroe, too, impressed me (as always), and the two of them just looked gorgeous together. Alex Roe (a newcomer for me) was solid, too. He doesn’t have the most extensive filmography and I am not sure why, I thought he was rather good. I really liked them all, and watching them all.

Where the movie is let down is the paper thin story. For reals. It could have been so much more, weaving a coming of age story into this summer and seeing how it would all come together. But that opportunity was wasted. Also, these guys grow their pot sales empire, but never really addresses the how. We are told it is happening, we see the money, but we don’t get anything more than that. It just leaves holes and questions. Thomas Jane, too, is underused in this.

Anyway, Hot Summer Nights is a decent watch. The performances alone are worth a look see, and it’s not a terrible movie. It just doesn’t have an awful lot of substance to it at the end of the day. Not your typical coming of age movie, but I liked it enough.

Review: Call Me By Your Name (2017)

“We rip out so much of ourselves to be cured of things faster than we should that we go bankrupt by the age of thirty and have less to offer each time we start with someone new.”
– Mr Perlman

SYNOPSIS: In 1980s Italy, a romance blossoms between a seventeen-year-old student and the older man hired as his father’s research assistant. – via IMDB

I recently popped this on to watch – I remember when it came out, people raved about it, and I always said that I would get to it and then, you know, life. But then it was on Netflix and I had some chill time and I figured “why not?” and let me tell you, I had no idea what I was in for whatsoever.

Call Me By Your Name is a visually stunning movie. Honestly, it is just beautiful to look at, and it has the feeling of a memory, this charming look back into a summer in the eighties, and I loved that. It almost feels dreamy, and everything just seems to chilled and summery. The music also comes in and just vibes with everything going on. It is never too in your face, but totally the shaping the experience.

Then there is the main meat of the story, and that is (obviously) Elio and Oliver. You get swept up into this story, watching a young boy coming to terms with his blossoming sexuality, and an older research assistant of Elio’s father very much the object of desire. To watch the back and forth between Hammer and Chalamet is very rewarding. You see that while Elio comes across as very cultured and smart, there are still larges swathes of innocence for him. You also see that while Oliver is a confident young man, he, too, has struggles with his feelings towards Elio and the situation in general.

Michael Stuhlbarg is fantastic in this, and it is so lovely to watch him with his family and the relationship he has with his son. It is fantastic to watch his scenes, and I thought the family dynamics between mother, father, and son were wonderful.

Call Me By Your Name creates a beautifully sensual movie that is both heartwarming and heartbreaking in equal measure. It is an emotional journey you undertake and enjoy throughout. This is a movie about first love, not just sexuality, and will resonate with many people. I highly recommend it, it is a beautiful watch and it has lingered with me after the fact. I have bought the book and audiobook already because I just need more of this!