It hasn't just been hot lately. It's been hot and dry.
While movie theaters are a cool respite in weather like this, we asked readers to dredge up some films that take place amid drought.
A little research of our own dusted up a few more titles.
Lots of movies from the Great Depression conjure images of drought, though the plotlines don't necessarily roll around in it.
“O Brother Where Art Thou” tracks prisoners on the run, “Places in the Heart” visits parched cotton fields, “Paper Moon” hits dusty backroads with a traveling salesman, and “Bound for Glory” bonds Woody Guthrie with migrant farm workers and hobos. All four were multiple Oscar nominees.
Real drought? Here's what readers came up with.
Click through our slideshow gallery to see what readers said are the best drought movies.
Mitchell Feagins, 12, of Omaha, loved this Oscar winner for best animated movie “because the animated characters were as dried out and gritty as their town! Too funny!” Johnny Depp voiced the main character, a lizard who gets to the bottom of a small town's water shortage.
Leap of Faith (1992)
Judy Radcliff of Omaha suggested this one, set in Rustwater, Kan., and starring Steve Martin as a faith healer. “The drought makes the townspeople susceptible to (Martin's character's) revival meeting show, but it also explores the meaning of faith and redemption.”
The Rainmaker (1956)
“Dry? It was so dry those folks didn't have enough damp to blink their eyes.” quoted Phil Kappen of Sioux Falls, S.D. He knew this title from his college days in theater. The movie stars Katharine Hepburn as a rural spinster and Burt Lancaster as a con man who says he can make it rain. Sara Planck of Omaha also nominated it, saying Lancaster's character “gave hope to a lot of people to go on.”
Patricia Lilyhorn Martin, 32, of Omaha, thought of this David Lynch movie featuring rock star Sting, widely panned when it opened. The book, published in 1965, “is considered one of the best science fiction novels of all time,” she said. “It capitalized on the public's fascination with space exploration. How interesting that missions to the moon were also in search of water.”
The Grapes of Wrath (1940)
Jim McKain of Omaha called it “the definitive drought film.” Based on John Steinbeck's novel about Depression-era migrants, the movie earned Oscars for director John Ford and supporting actress Jane Darwell. Omaha's own Henry Fonda snagged his first Oscar nomination as Tom Joad. It was a best-picture nominee as well.
Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
Every desert qualifies as a drought zone, though David Lean's best-pic masterpiece is hardly about the weather. Still, Joe Basque, 48, of Omaha said our recent heat wave keeps him thinking about Peter O'Toole trudging across the desert to Aqaba. “They called it the sun's anvil,” he said. “Right now, I feel like I'm living on top of the sun's anvil.”
Glenn Close and Christopher Walken starred in this television drama about a family afraid it will lose the farm because of severe drought. Close got an Emmy nomination for it, which may be why John Collins of Auburn, Neb., remembered it so vividly. “It showed the dreadful effects of drought. You could just about feel the heat,” he said.
A young Shia LaBeouf stars as a juvenile sentenced to a detention camp to dig holes in the desert. “It was one of the first books my oldest son read and was excited about,” said June Fenske of Omaha. “He talked with me often about what was going on in the book.” When it became a movie, they went as a family.
Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981)
Julien Fielding, who teaches at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, said this post-apocalyptic film is not exactly about a dry spell, but everyone, especially protagonist Mel Gibson, seems to be perpetually covered in dirt. “Whenever it's hot and dusty, I can't help but think about the end of the world,” she said.
Another Mel Gibson movie, this time about the decline of the Mayan civilization. Rulers insist the key to prosperity, and to breaking free of a drought, is to build more temples and sacrifice more humans to the gods, so they raid a nearby peaceful tribe. The young man captured for sacrifice doesn't like their idea, though.
The 40-Year-Old Virgin (2005)
Grif Draemel of west Omaha, 27, facetiously suggested “The 40 Year Old Virgin” as an example of “maybe the most excruciating drought one could go through that doesn't kill you. At least water and food droughts don't last decades.”
Any Chicago Cubs movie
For John Koval, the subject of drought conjured a very different image. “Any movie about the Chicago Cubs,” he suggested. “That is the longest drought that I know of.”