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Sunday, July 29, 2018

Hot Summer Nights 2017 * * 1/2 Stars

Hot Summer NightsDirector: Elijah Bynum
Year: 2018
Rated R
Rating: * * 1/2 Stars
Cast: Timothee Chalamet, Maika Monroe, Alex Roe

Sheepish Daniel Middleton (played by Timothee Chalamet) loses his father and is forced to spend the summer with his aunt (who is rarely seen). While adapting to his new surroundings, Daniel befriends an alpha male drug dealer and tries to romance his vixen sister. Over time, Danny boy becomes an unforeseen ladies man and a veritable drug dealer himself. That's the gist of the glittering and mostly true storied, Hot Summer Nights. It's my latest review.

Hot Summer Nights is a flamboyant, sort of overly ambitious American drama showcasing Academy Award nominee Chalamet. As far as delayed releases go in 2018, "Nights" is cinematic Yankee Doodle Dandy, a pirated combination of Blow, Boogie Nights, and 2002's The Salton Sea.

Image result for hot summer nights movie scenesNote to the mystery director of "Nights", Mr. Elijah Bynum: Paul Thomas Anderson, the late Ted Demme, and Edgar Wright called. They want their freeze frames, zoom shots, match cuts, and whip pans back. Also, Martin Scorsese phoned in and says he wants everything back (including his own Panavision camera). Finally, what's up with all the gross imagery and childlike ilk in Hot Summer Nights? I'm talking french fries with way too much ketchup, a couple sloppily sharing a lollipop, and a young kid putting another person's gum in his mouth. Dude that's gross.

Anyway, "Nights" gives us mumbled prosaic acting, a nostalgic 80's soundtrack, a Henry Hill-style beating, a sun drenched Cape Cod setting (circa 1991), and some galling, out of place narration (by an unknown tyke who's not seen till the near end of the movie). Most of the characters in "Nights" are ill-defined and non-amicable with its coming-of-age story "coming" off as slight and loose. What we clearly have here is ballsy style over knowable substance.

Image result for hot summer nights movie scenesIn conclusion, Hot Summer Nights is Elijah Bynum's feature debut and he dauntlessly goes for broke. With enough cinematic tricks, cocksure, and energy to fill five movies, "Nights" projects Bynum as directorial show off and bona fide hot dog man. Bottom line: "Nights" is worth a look if you wanna see the latest filmmaker sampler on wheels. Ultimately though, it's mildly disappointing. Rating: 2 and a half stars.

Written by Jesse Burleson

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