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  • Writer's pictureKaveh Jalinous

Hot Summer Nights (2018): Film Review

A24 is a success story, that much is true. In just six years, the film studio has created countless independent hits, some even reaching Oscar and box-office milestones (Moonlight and Lady Bird being two prime examples). It's truly amazing to see the rise of the studio, and the consistently good films that they have been making. At least for the most part. Because their newest flick Hot Summer Nights is a hiccup in the impressive database of A24's filmography. Although it helms three up and coming actors, the film is so dull and lifeless that none of it is worth it, in any way whatsoever. The film tells the story of Daniel, a socially awkward kid who is forced to spend the summer with his aunt in Cape Cod. Almost immediately upon arrival, he meets a drug dealer named Hunter, and tries marijuana for the first time. Soon later, Daniel joins Hunter in dealing the drug, and attempting to create a bigger network for the two. All while falling in love with a girl named McKayla, who just happens to be Hunter's sister. From there, the film is destined to get extremely messy as the plot thickens and the stakes rise. The biggest problem with Hot Summer Nights is honestly the fact that it is so cliched, dull, and lifeless. Everything that occurs in the film has pretty much been used by another film, in a much better type of way. An example lies in the plotline of a socially awkward kid stepping out of his comfort zone, the exact same idea presented in 2013's sleeper hit The Way Way Back, which was a million times better than this would ever be. Besides that fact, the film is just plain dull. Apart from the first twenty minutes, when the story was actually setting up, none of the remaining 87 minutes had excitement in any way whatsoever. By the third act, I was practically counting down the minutes until the film would end. And, my oh my does the third act drag on for what feels like a millennium. Finally, the film is plain lifeless. Right from the start, it latches on to the Cape Cod 90's vibe, and then seems to forget completely about that vibe, because instead of being vibrant, it's just too boring and irrelevant to posses any life whatsoever. Chalamet's and Monroe's performances are perhaps the best part of this film, and even they feel uncomplete - not because of their acting styles (they are both great actors), but rather the setting and type of film the two were placed in. The problem is this: no matter how good the actors that this film enlists, there's no saving it. The film is bad - rotten to the core. The plot is stupid, and the film itself is completely irrelevant. To put it simply: watching Hot Summer Nights was a complete waste of a summer night itself. And that's just facts.


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