DVD Review – Warm Summer Rain
Category : DVD Review
Director: Joe Gayton
Let me start off with a little bit of background on why I chose to watch this movie, having never seen it and having been 6 years old at the time of its release. Later in my life I would definitely become an 80s movie fan, watching the classics I missed as a kid and the weird “artistic” interpretations that some directors attempted to make in that era. Top Gun was always one of my favorites, and remains solidly in my Top 20 list. I was a huge Maverick fan, of course, but my favorite part of the movie might be the end credits, when each character is given a tiny clip with their name & their character’s name on screen while “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin'” plays in the background. Well, Barry Tubb was one of those names, as he played Wolfman in the movie, a small but memorable part. And Kelly Lynch? I assume the only reason people know her is how I know her; from her 15 minutes of fame in the late 80s, with Cocktail, Road House, Drugstore Cowboy, and to a much lesser degree, Warm Summer Rain.
The film begins inside the mind of a woman named Kate. Her memories are mixed and incomplete, or at least that is how we see them. She remembers making love in the grass beneath a tree while rain pours down. She remembers herself as a child. And she remembers her suicide attempt while naked in a bathroom. Running from both the hospital and her own life, Kate walks away from reality wearing only an issued gown and a stolen jacket. She buys a one-way ticket to nowhere, with no destination in mind, no thoughts of the future, and no inherent desire but to leave. Where will she go, how will she survive, what’s next; these are pointless questions as they have no baring on Kate’s new life, a journey that promises to be as fruitless as it is random.
On her first stop, which happens to be a honky tonk bar, Kate picks up a few items. One is a kitten who she sets out to nurse back to help. Another is a stuffed lizard that is just weird enough to be cool. And lastly, she somehow obtains a young man dressed in a tuxedo. When the two wake up in bed together, they both slightly remember a night of debauchery that led them to their present location; an abandoned house somewhere off the beaten path that has no electricity, no food, and doesn’t belong to them anyway. But hey, neither Kate nor her new pal have anywhere to go, and nothing to do, so they might as well spend their time having sex, exploring the inner workings of each other’s minds, and completely tripping out while time slides slowly by.
Warm Summer Rain is an odd mix of Raising Arizona and Waiting for Godot, but with an 80s vibe that makes the whole thing make even less sense. It’s as if a director took two semi-famous stars, put them in an abandoned building together, didn’t let them wear clothes, and then told them to talk about how crazy they feel inside. Oh, wait. And if that’s not enough to get you to jump on board, we have sex scenes that would make Showgirls cringe and mayonnaise cookery to die for. Make sense yet? Don’t try too hard. This is a movie that was destined to confuse from the very first scene, a mash of emotions that comes off less as experimental and more as psychotic. It’s a bit Hunter S. Thompson, with alcohol instead of drugs, and a touch Altered States, with the house acting as the iso chamber and the audience feeling like we are being tortured too.
But the thing that frustrates me the most about this movie is that I might just want to figure it out. There are enough oddities and clues to tantalize you into thinking that there might be more to this film than immediately meets the eye. First off, is any of this real? The story would actually make more sense if the whole abandoned house with a random stranger thing was all in Kate’s head. And there are signs that it might be, including a bottle that she feeds to a cat and then later to a mysterious baby. Where did that stuff come from? What’s real, what’s not, and should I actually bother to care? I don’t want to know, really I don’t, and I can’t make it my job to find out when all involved in this project failed to capture my attention enough to warrant a second look. On the surface it’s 80s insanity, underneath perhaps its a bit more, but I’m not invested enough to dig.
Video – With an aspect ratio of 16:9 Widescreen, the video is exactly what you would expect from a weird 80s movie and not a pixel more. It’s actually not terrible, with visuals that are about as sharp as you’d like them to be, perhaps blunting the intensity of a movie that is the definition of over-the-top. The picture quality is poor, but not surprisingly so, with just enough clarity, odd use of color, and a background that does nothing to impress.
Audio – There are no audio options on the disc, no language selections, and no subtitle features. The sound quality matches the video; not terrible for the time but nothing worth mentioning. Sound does play a part, as the movie becomes very sensational, forcing audiences to feel, see, hear, and even smell the characters and their surroundings., which is often quite unpleasant.
Extras – There are no extras on the DVD.
Skip It. Although not the most poorly acted movie of its decade, there is little reason to recommend a viewing of Warm Summer Rain. It’s a film of semi-famous participants pushing the envelope in a way that’s both laudable and laughable, but not very lasting. Perhaps the depth of the story draws you in, perhaps you spend your time trying to figure out the meanings behind the actions and the truth behind the story, but I doubt you come away thanking yourself for spending that time. Best stay away and watch Legend instead. The video of this film is understandably bad, the audio is fine, and there are no extras available. Watch with caution, or better yet, don’t watch.
☆ ☆ – Content
☆ ☆ – Video
☆ ☆ – Audio
☆ – Extras
☆ – Replay