The best deep thought from a celebrity so far this year has got to be Jennifer Aniston talking about the value of sweat in enhancing your hairstyle: "A little sweat in the hair is nice," she says. "It's like a little product. You just blow it out with your fingers and it's actually just fun."
Aniston would love Lexington in July. Here we are awash in sweat so often that her hair would glitter in excitement.
So even though, back in February, when exiting our snowbound neighborhoods was only a wish our hearts made, we vowed never again to complain about the heat, we make brief exception here. That is because many Hollywood movies have also made note of sweat, almost to the point of making it a character.
One of those is this week's feature on the Kentucky Theatre's Summer Classics series, To Kill a Mockingbird (1962), in which Gregory Peck is the only one who manages to look cool, while keeping his full three-piece suit and tie on during a summer murder trial in an un-air conditioned Alabama courtroom. There were so many fans fluttering, it's a wonder the room didn't take flight.
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With that in mind, here's a list of the most swelteringly damp movies ever made, most of which are available for rental at Amazon video:
Body Heat, 1981. Directed by Lawrence Kasdan and starring Kathleen Turner, William Hurt, Ted Danson and the sweaty summer of "Miranda Beach" in Florida. You know the plot: Woman meets idiot, woman seduces idiot, woman frames idiot for husband's murder, woman gets away with it. (Sorry for the spoilers: The film is 34 years old.)
The most indecipherable thing about the movie is its lack of air conditioning. In Florida. In the summer. That just doesn't make sense. Nonetheless, the bathtub filled with ice cubes is a captivating fantasy.
Wild at Heart, 1990. Directed by David Lynch and starring Nicholas Cage, Laura Dern and Diane Ladd (Dern's real-life mother). Sailor and Lula, played by Nicholas Cage and Laura Dern, just can't seem to keep their lustful love together, principally because (1) he keeps going to prison (2) her mother is insane and (3) neither is the model of mature reflection.
But Lula does gift us with this expression of true love: "You got me hotter than Georgia asphalt."
Cool Hand Luke, 1967. Directed by Stuart Rosenberg and starring Paul Newman, George Kennedy and Strother Martin. Cool Hand Luke is certainly a contender for sweatiest movie ever: Set in a Georgia men's prison using the chain gang technique of rehabilitation, with a shirtless Paul Newman sweating profusely, the viewer is constantly reminded that it's a world in which droplets of sweat are constantly dripping down the small of your back.
Some have suggested that George Kennedy sweats even more than Newman in this movie, and Internet photos suggest they may be right. Kennedy won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his role as Luke's buddy Dragline.
While Strother Martin as the warden was not a notable sweatpot, he does deliver the line for which Cool Hand Luke is famous: After he whips Newman, Martin drawls, "What we have here is a failure to communicate."
This movie was cited in the 1982 pilot episode of the TV show Cheers, in which patrons are debating the sweatiest movie of all time.
Do The Right Thing, (1989). Directed by Spike Lee, with Spike Lee and Danny Aiello. On the hottest day of the year in a Brooklyn neighborhood, frustration over bigotry erupts in a pizza parlor.
Images include a woman cooling herself in front of an electric fan and one sucking on an ice cube.
Apocalypse Now, (1979). Directed by Francis Ford Coppola, with Marlon Brandon and Martin Sheen. Is there an eerier image than the bald, pale, profusely perspiring Marlon Brandon muttering to Sheen, "You're an errand boy sent by grocery clerks to collect a debt" while wiping his sweaty dome?
The movie, famous for its blood-curdling Ride of the Valkyries sequence and the strenuousness of its filming, is awash in perspiration.
Airplane!, (1978). Directed by Jim Abrahams, David Zucker and Jerry Zucker, with Robert Hays and Julie Hagerty.
Jerry Zucker looks like he picked the wrong day to stop sweating: Pilot Ted Striker (Hays) literally runs a fountain of sweat while trying to fly the airplane to safety.
Honorable mention, film: Lawrence of Arabia (1962) in which Peter O' Toole as T.E. Lawrence strategizes in the desert; Ben-Hur (1959), with Charlton Heston sweating buckets and a chariot race; Das Boot (1981), in which German submarine comrades sweat in close quarters; In the Heat of the Night (1967), in which Sidney Poitier and Rod Steiger team up to solve a murder in a steaming southern town; Soylent Green (1973), again with Charlton Heston, in which apocalyptic New Yorkers discover the source of their tasty diet staple; and 300 (2006) with Gerard Butler as King Leonidas of the Spartans in 480 B.C..
Honorable mention, television: The Twilight Zone. Ah, that crisp black-and-white cinematography. A blog called Smoking & Sweating in the Twilight Zone features pictures from the series in which actors are enjoying a smokey treat or dampening their shirts and having sweat drip off their chins. In the case of actress Agnes Moorehead and her episode The Invaders, the sweat elegantly drips off her chin as she battles tiny aliens; she is still several years away from her late-in-life celebrity as Endora in the TV series Bewitched.