5 Steamy Movies to Watch on a Hot Summer Day

"It's so damn hot... milk was a bad choice."
“It’s so damn hot… milk was a bad choice.”

So you know how everyone likes to listen to music that matches their mood? When people are feeling down they want to drown themselves in sad music, so they crank up the Radiohead or Bon Iver and let loose with their emotions. Or, you know, whatever melancholy music you like to listen to. The point is misery loves company, and the thing that everyone has been complaining about for the last few weeks is the heat. It’s summer and we’ve been hit by some crazy heat waves recently, but don’t let the absurdly high temperatures and muggy atmosphere get to you. Here’s what I’ve done: I’ve compiled a list of movies you can kick back with to sweat out the hot summer days. Now head inside and crank up the A.C., turn on a fan and grab some ice cold water, because things are about to get very steamy.

5. Little Children (2006)


Everyone loves some good ol’ fashioned marital infidelity. The thrill of sneaking around, the constant threat of getting caught – it’s erotic stuff, and we all fantasize about it. We just can’t help it. Personally I’m looking forward to my first marriage, but I’m looking forward to my first passionate affair even more, and it’s all because of Little Children (though it could certainly be argued that I grossly misinterpreted the point of this movie). But imagine this: you’re an out of work husband and you spend your days watching your son in the park with the other housewives, studying for the Bar Exam in the hopes of passing it on your third try. You’re bored, and you’re over your former dreams of becoming a lawyer (even if your wife isn’t). Then one day, you see her: Kate Winslet, scorching hot on the grass by the pool in an alluring red bathing suit, gleaming in sweat and the promise of sex. Could you resist? I know I couldn’t. There’s also a subplot involving Jackie Earle Haley has a pedophile, and it’s beautiful and tragic and skillfully aided by one of the best omniscient narrators in any movie, but seriously who cares? It’s too hot out to that; I just want to see Patrick Wilson and Kate Winslet desperately try to escape their monotonous suburban lives by finding solace in each other’s sticky, moist embrace.

4. Angel Heart (1987)


A hard-boiled detective story set in the sizzling city of New Orleans, Angel Heart is a creepily atmospheric neo-noir. At the request of his client Louis Cyphre (played by a particularly menacing Robert De Niro), Mickey Rourke’s Harry Angel, a private investigator from New York City, ventures down south to a land he doesn’t quite understand. With talk of devil worship and witchcraft, the locals are even more unwelcoming than the unrelenting heat. The one pleasant sight: a gorgeous and mysterious voodoo priestess named Epiphany Proudfoot (this movie has a way with character names). In a sex scene that caused quite a bit of controversy at the time of its release for apparently corrupting the innocence of The Cosby Show star Lisa Bonet, Angel and Proudfoot get downright weird as they thrust and claw at each other while a vision of blood rains down from the ceiling. It’s both repulsive and titillating, all carnal lust and splashes of every bodily fluid you can think of. Come to Angel Heart for the atmospheric direction and tightly wound noir plot, but stay for the seriously memorable displays of graphic copulation. So get a cool washcloth handy, because this movie will leave you drenched.

3. Y Tu Mama Tambien (2001)


Two sex-crazed boys and a recently separated older woman go on a road trip across the hot Mexican landscape in search of a secluded beach called Heaven’s Mouth. Alfonso Cuaron expertly directs this provocative coming-of-age story, slowly letting the viewer understand more and more about each character’s way of thinking and situation in life as the plot moves forward. The dynamics between the three constantly shift as Luisa becomes intimate with both of her travel companions. Playful rivalry between best friends turns to suspicion, suspicion turns to jealousy, and eventually something else entirely. Y Tu Mama Tambien, like Little Children, employs a narration device which frequently provides the viewer with small asides, not relevant to the characters yet which still ground the story in the social and political situations of modern day Mexico. This film is the best kind of lover: it lures you in with looks and smarts, teases you with new revelations to keep you wanting more, then finishes you off not how you expected, but exactly how you needed.

2. The Paperboy (2012)


Far and away the sweatiest movie I have ever seen, I didn’t know what to make of Lee Daniels’ The Paperboy when I first saw it. I still don’t quite understand what I’m watching, but perhaps that’s what makes it so compelling. A messy tale of determined reporters and violent convicts, jealous lovers and racist officials, watching this movie makes your palms sweat and your t-shirt stick to your back. And I really have no idea what it is, or what it’s trying to be! I’m just left with so many questions. Is it an intentionally campy tale of sex and swamps? Is it a serious human drama about race relations and hidden desires? Why does the framing device begin with the family maid Anita telling the story to a reporter, but shift midway through to have her speaking directly to the viewer and acknowledge that we’re watching a movie? Why did a scene where Nicole Kidman pees on Zac Efron have to be included? The only way to process this lurid, bizarre material is just to laugh uncomfortably. And maybe that’s the point, I just don’t know the director’s intentions. Regardless, this movie is a fascinating enigma oozing with sex and violence. Make of it what you will, but don’t dismiss The Paperboy. Bask in the sweat, and embrace the trashiness of it all.

1. Body Heat (1981)


Steamy in every sense of the word, Body Heat is just the movie for the current climate. For his directorial debut, Lawrence Kasdan takes the basic set up of Billy Wilder’s film noir classic Double Indemnity and simply cranks up the heat. Featuring Kathleen Turner as the seductive wife of a rich businessman and William Hurt as the sleazy lawyer who falls for her, these two sweat-soaked lovers plot to remove the husband from the equation and take his money for themselves. The material may feel a bit familiar, but the execution is so much fun it doesn’t matter. Turner is absolutely intoxicating as the femme fatale, as every move of her body and every word out of her mouth gushes with such sexual confidence that you believe she could get any man to do anything she wanted for her. Body Heat has many of the elements of the other movies on this list: a torrid affair, dense plotting, a sweaty and glowing texture, and a young Mickey Rourke. Yet it’s the way the movie brings all these pieces together that makes it such a hot, steamy joy to watch. So while any of these 5 movies would be great company when the weather starts boiling, it’s this one that’ll get you sweating even in the dead of winter.

What do you think? Leave a comment.

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  1. Nosmeean

    I vote Little Children for one of the best trailers ever made.

    • Vic Millar

      I had actually never seen it before but I just watched it, and that was pretty awesome! Love the building train sounds.

  2. Chandler Bianca

    You’re not going to like this… BUT, I really wanted to finish The Paperboy, but it was so uninteresting and silly that I didn’t care how it ended and spent the last half hour I missed of it doing something constructive like returning this movie to the video store and paying the late fee. The person I was watching this with was thankful to me for speaking up and not torturing them any further. I expected something from this movie. Not something more, just something at all. Didn’t get anything.. at all.

    • Vic Millar

      It is such a silly movie! I can’t blame you for not finishing it. Personally I was into it the whole time, half seriously half ironically, I don’t even know. It’s trash, but I had fun with it.

  3. Robert Humphrey

    The Paperboy is definitely a sweaty movie. But, beyond that, I too am not sure how to classify it. Personally, I thought the movie itself was junk. I thought the whole film was just a bunch of scenes thrown together to fill the duration of a feature film. There were scenes that didn’t need to be there but were. And there were parts of the story that needed to be told but weren’t. I finished the film, but the last 20 minutes became more background noise than anything as I found it very difficult to keep my attention. I’m not sure, though, what I fully expected from a film where the lead was Zac Efron. Perhaps I was hoping Nicole Kidman would single-handedly save the film. She gave a valiant effort, but I still thought the movie was a mess.

    • Vic Millar

      Oh it’s definitely a mess, but you have to give Kidman props for that performance, because she did not hold back. That scene where she – I don’t even know how to describe it – mimes pleasuring John Cusack? The scene pictured above. I can’t even imagine being on set that day and watching her do that scene take after take.

      • Robert Humphrey

        That was actually my same exact thought about the scene in question. All I kept thinking was, “Can you imagine being in the room while this scene was being filmed?!?!” You’re definitely right in saying that no one can accuse Kidman of holding back in this film, from the aforementioned scene, to the peeing scene, to the sex scenes between her and Cusack once he’s released. From start to finish she held nothing back.

  4. Jon Lisi
    Jon Lisi

    A lot of great choices here. I love Little Children and The Paperboy is a mess but it’s definitely worth seeing for that Nicole Kidman performance.

  5. An interesting selection! Will give “The Paperboy” a watch and “Body Heat” a re-watch, as its definitely a film to be watched more than once, especially during the summer 😉

  6. Body Heat is one of the few modern thrillers which captures the spirit of the golden age of film noir. Good that you included it. It is well worth watching.

  7. Spencer Lucas

    Not as sexual, of course, but Do the Right Thing is set on a very, very hot day, and Spike Lee used the color red to make the audience feel it.

    • Vic Millar

      Yeah I thought of Do the Right Thing because it is a very sweaty movie, but doesn’t quite fit my “steamy” theme. Though there is that scene with Mookie, his girlfriend, and some ice cubes…

  8. A simple little thing like sweat can represent passion, vulnerability, and masculinity. Movies like Top Gun, Cool Hand Luke, and Crimson Tide use sweat to raise tension and elevate our interests in the characters.

  9. Cool theme and a nice list of fairly obscure films. I see a lot of the time your “steamy” theme was more symbolic, but one of the first things I thought of was Do the Right Thing, which takes place on one extremely hot day in NYC.

  10. I agree with you on The Paperboy, it seems to be so out of the ordinary and random but something about it is so captivating you keep watching

  11. I recall that Y Tu Mama Tambien was one of the highly-acclaimed films of Mexican cinema in its high noon of production in the 1990s.

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