With temperatures predicted to hover in the 90s for the rest of the week, one way to feel cooler is to watch a movie with conditions even more sweltering than real life — like these eight films (and one TV episode) where the heat is on:
“Body Heat”: The 1981 homage to film noir by University of Michigan alum Lawrence Kasdan uses a Florida heat wave as the perfect setting for a sultry affair between William Hurt and Kathleen Turner. When Hurt breaks downs a door to reach the luscious Turner, you could almost assume it’s to get some ice water.
“Falling Down”: Michael Douglas, clad in a short-sleeve shirt and tie and nerdy glasses, lets off a scary amount of steam in this 1993 drama about a laid-off man who has a violent meltdown. No wonder — the air conditioning in his car breaks in a Los Angeles traffic jam.
“Do the Right Thing”: Spike Lee’s 1989 masterpiece explores the fraying tempers and smoldering resentments of a New York City neighborhood as racial and class tensions boil over on the hottest day of the summer.
“Sunshine”: A 2007 sci-fi meditation by director Danny Boyle, it stars a hot young cast (Cillian Murphy, Rose Byrne, Michelle Yeoh and Chris “Captain America” Evans) in a story of astronauts on a mission to fix a dying sun. Not even freeze-dried ice cream is going to come out of that situation happily.
“The Seven Year Itch”: Tom Ewell and the late, great Marilyn Monroe dance around the edge of infidelity in this 1955 summer-in-the-city farce about a married man left alone with a bombshell of a neighbor. The scene of Monroe standing over a subway grate in her billowing dress became famous, but the real keep-cool tip is her character’s habit of chilling her underwear in the refrigerator.
“Cat on a Hot Tin Roof”: It’s not the heat, it’s the family dynamics in this Tennessee Williams pot-boiler about the tyrannical Big Daddy, his tormented son Brick and Brick’s unhappy wife, Maggie, played with sexy frustration by Elizabeth Taylor. The movie’s highlight? When Taylor wears the humidity-fighting slip that became an iconic Hollywood costume.
“Anchorman”: In this 2004 comedy, Will Ferrell’s inimitable Ron Burgundy loses his local TV news anchor job, grows a beard and wanders the sun-drenched streets of San Diego chugging a certain beverage straight from the carton. “Milk was a bad choice,” bemoans Burgundy. On a muggy day, even the dairy industry might agree.
“Apocalypse Now”: Whether he’s freaking out in his underwear or traveling into the heart of darkness, Martin Sheen is one sweaty mess in Francis Ford Coppola’s 1979 epic set in the Vietnam era.
“The Midnight Sun”: This moody “Twilight Zone” episode from the early 1960s starred Lois Nettleton as an artist living in a mostly abandoned city who paints sunscapes as a shift in the Earth’s orbit pushes the planet unbearably close to the sun. Stay tuned for a twist at the end that is hot, hot, hot …