Review by Camden Ferrell
Summer Days, Summer Nights is a teen comedy-drama that had its premiere at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival. This movie is by actor, writer, and director Edward Burns. The movie isn’t without its strengths, but as a whole, the movie does little to develop its characters while drawing from better movies of the same genre.
It is the summer of 1982 in Long Island, and in this movie, a community of teenagers fall in and out of love as they all prepare for the next chapter of their lives. JJ is a high school grad, working for his dad and finding new love after a breakup. Meanwhile, Frankie is trying to reconnect with an old love of his from high school. This is a simple premise that reminds me of other teen movies, and the summer setting is a nice setting that is familiar but has potential for interesting character development.
Written by Burns, the script somewhat succeeds in creating realistic conversational dialogue, but it’s inconsistent to say the least. It’ll sporadically jump from interesting dialogue to unrealistic lines that interrupt the tone and momentum of the scenes. The movie also does very little to develop its characters beyond the superficial aspects of their relationships. It’s not bad, but the movie gives me very little reason to care for the characters in any capacity, and it feels like certain aspects of the movie could have been fleshed out more.
The acting is a bit all over the place as well. While its an ensemble, the most prominent character is JJ, played by Pico Alexander. He’s decent in his role, but it also suffers from a lack of personality afforded to the character himself. Even Anthony Ramos isn’t quite compelling as Frankie, and the rest of the cast doesn’t seem to fare much better. There isn’t much chemistry between the actors, and this also contributes to the problem of not being able to care of the characters of this movie.
Despite its flaws, there are a few things this movie does well. I was quite surprised with how strong the cinematography and camerawork are. William Rexer does a great job of creating dynamic camerawork that is strong and engaging throughout. The composition is strong, and the camera is very kinetic and elevates many of the film’s lackluster scenes.
Summer Days, Summer Nights is a rehashing of better movies, and it doesn’t have the most compelling script to frame its story. The acting is decent at best, but it does have great cinematography that heighten the overall quality. It’s not great, but it’s barely sufficient for those looking for a teen comedy-drama.
Summer Days, Summer Nights is available on VOD August 24.