Hot Summer Nights – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)

Title card for the movie: Hot Summer Nights
77.49% (5)

In this coming of age, crime story, you get a little bit of everything. Forbidden romance, kid way in over their head, and the question of who will survive and will there be a happy ending?


Director(s) Elijah Bynum
Screenplay By Elijah Bynum
Date Released 7/24/2018
Genre(s) Crime, Drama, Romance, Coming of Age
Good If You Like Forbidden romance

Bad Boys

Teen drug dealers

Films with lots of tragedies

Coming of Age stories which deal with middle, or lower middle-class, people

Noted Actors
Daniel Timothée Chalamet
Hunter Alex Roe
Amy Maia Mitchell
Sergeant Calhoun Thomas Jane
McKayla Maika Monroe
Dex Emory Cohen

Summary

With Daniel seemingly wasting his life away, he gets sent to live with his aunt in Cape Cod, MA for the summer. Something which, at first, is quite awkward for he doesn’t fit squarely into the two main groups. His aunt maybe from there, but he isn’t, so he isn’t a townie. Also, while a visitor for the summer, he isn’t rich, so he doesn’t fit into that category either. So, he is a social outsider. That is, until he bumps into Hunter, another outcast, but with a reputation, who becomes his friend. Together, they hang out, smoke weed, and Hunter deals weed. However, he does so on a small scale until Daniel has him kick things up a notch. From there, they go from selling a pound a week to up to 20+ a day sometimes.

But, it isn’t all about the drug game and escalating how, and eventually what, they are selling. Romance is also involved. For Hunter, it is this girl named Amy, the sergeant’s daughter. Then, for Daniel, it is Hunter’s estranged sister McKayla. Two relationships which seemingly will be doomed if they ever truly went public and so we have multiple ticking clocks going off. Leading you to wonder, may anyone get a happy ending out of this?

Question(s) Left Unanswered

  1. Was anyone else kind of confused by the timeline? Maybe because of the aunt’s photo being dated in the 80s or because a lot seemed to happen over the course of a little more than two months?

Highlights

The Relationships

Daniel and McKayla right before they kiss.

While none of the relationships will make you swoon, what you will do is “Aw” a little bit. For when it comes to Hunter and Daniel’s relationships, there is a bad boy or girl paired with someone who appears to be the opposite. Making for an interesting dynamic in a way.

In terms of Hunter and Amy, with Hunter having this really sordid reputation, even though it takes 51 minutes for Amy to show up, when they are together they seem sweet. To the point where, as we see Hunter desiring to get back into McKayla’s life, it makes you really hope Hunter can turn his life around. Since, with him only dealing weed, and seemingly Amy’s dad unable to find a way to bust him, getting out with some cahs would be cool right? A story of a reformed bad boy who may not be a saint but isn’t actively pursuing being a sinner.

Then with Daniel, being that he is your stereotypical virgin who is socially awkward, when it comes to his relationship with McKayla, who people have a pretense about like her brother, you also see something cute. Especially since Daniel doesn’t fit her usual rich guy type. Instead, there is something about Daniel, even before he has a fancy car and all that, which she finds alluring. Making it where, as she opens up to him, and you realize he, Daniel, is trying to maintain the lie he is telling both her and her brother, you hope his friendship and relationship survive.

Criticism

It Desensitizes You To Death Quickly

Amy looking over her shoulder at Hunter. Someone staring at her.

Daniel’s dad? Dead. Hunter and McKayla’s mom? Also, dead. On top of this, within the first two minutes, we see Daniel in what could be a lethal car accident. Oh, and we learn his uncle dies too. With all these deaths, it leads you to question what is the real possibility of anyone getting a happy ending? You threaten the life of the leads as a means of opening the film. So, should I not even get comfortable and attached or are we just having all these tragedies around our leads to show how terrible, or dangerous, life is?

On The Fence

We Mostly See The Glory of Drug Dealing But Not Really The Hard Part

Even when a character named Dex gets involved, we don’t really see any of the difficult bits of drug dealing. Whether you are talking about building clientele or avoiding the cops, the challenges of being a drug dealer are kind of sidestepped. All we see is a lot of money being spent, thrown into the air, and somehow three people moving huge quantities of weed without much issue. But, honestly, while a bigger sense of danger would have helped in some areas, I can’t say whether or not that would have made this a better film.

Overall: Mixed (Divisive)


Here is the thing about Hot Summer Nights, it’s likable but no specific thing about it pushes it over to be marked positive. The romances in the film have enough chemistry to be believable, but there aren’t precedents set here. You won’t be swooning over anyone falling in love. Also, while people die or are dead, it doesn’t it that hard because the deaths are presented as something part of life. Then, when it comes to the criminal element, drug dealing is made to seem so easy that the sub-plot barely is one your radar until someone tries to get greedy.

Hence the mixed label. Being that you can get rent this on Amazon, using the link above, for around $7 (If you rent it), it isn’t a bad way to spend your money or time. It may not be worth putting on a pedestal, nor will it light a fire in you to become a fan of anyone involved, but it does make for something to watch and relax with.

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