Into the Night (1985) (1985)
February 10, 2024 6:56 AM - Subscribe

Ed Okin (Jeff Goldblum) used to have a boring life. He used to have trouble getting to sleep. Then one night, he met Diana (Michelle Pfeiffer). Now, Ed's having trouble staying alive.

Directed by John Landis. Music by B. B. King. Cameos by Jim Henson, Carl Perkins, Dan Akroyd, Vera Miles, Roger Vadim.

I saw this movie when it came out. I'm pretty sure it was the first time I had seen either Jeff Goldblum or Michelle Pfeiffer on the screen. I was reminded of it for some reason, and rewatched it last night. This movie came out 4 years after MTV went on the air (note for the youngsters: MTV used to show music videos). At the time, people talked about how the fast-cutting style of music videos was influencing moviemaking. From our current perspective, it is absolutely true that movies have faster cutting and (usually )are denser with action, though I'm not sure we can attribute that entirely to the influence of music videos.

One of the things that stands out about this movie is just how slow it is. I think part of that is its age, part of that is just terrible editing (there' a notorious bad cut about a third of the way in when we go from the sidewalk in front of Frederick's of Hollywood to a studio backlot, somehow), and part of it may be that John Landis had a solid hour of material and needed to pad that out.

There's the seed of an idea for a great movie in hereā€”an LA counterpart to After Hours, with a drizzling of Chinatown on top. This is not a great movie. Apart from being slow, the story develops in a confused way, and it never commits to the weird-underbelly part, the caper part, or the unseemly real-state deal part. There's keystone-kops violence but also a little real violence, and the two don't sit well together.
posted by adamrice (6 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Oh yeah, how can I forget: cameo by David Bowie as a genial assassin.
posted by adamrice at 7:16 AM on February 10 [2 favorites]

Bowie was the best part of this. The particular emphasis that he put on Ed's name when he said it is one of the things that stuck with me.

Agreed on it not being a great, or even particularly good, movie. Jonathan Demme came out with Something Wild a year later and did this sort of thing so, so much better.
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:10 AM on February 10 [3 favorites]

Yeah, not a good movie, but I loved it when it came out (high school)
posted by DowBits at 10:11 PM on February 10

I still love this movie. IDGAF. It made me happy back then and it still makes me happy, problems aside. I loved Jeff Goldblum already when I saw it and fell madly in love with Michelle Pfeiffer (proud to say I had never seen Scarface). My favorite scene is still the fight between Bowie and Carl Perkins, it was like some classic rocker-new rocker deathmatch and my friend and I cackled all the way through it. It has roles for everyone from Bruce McGill to Vera Miles to Roger Vadim to Richard Farnsworth! I mean I hate John Landis with a fiery passion, but all the shit-talking about the movie that's front-loaded on this post still doesn't change my mind about it. It's weird and unpredictable and all over the map, but it has interesting characters and setpieces and Goldblum's double takes, and I'd take that over a boring success any day.
posted by kitten kaboodle at 10:36 PM on February 10 [2 favorites]

I find it intriguing that there were enough of these movies in the 80s for them to be their own mini-genre.

You still encounter ones being sporadically made in the decades since, but it seems like an 80s thing to me (though I am open to the possibility that that's simply when I became aware enough of film to start noticing them..)
posted by Nerd of the North at 1:44 AM on February 12

I rented this a few times and enjoyed it greatly at the time - Bowie is a fucking delight. I like the idea of it being a west coast "After Hours" - I have no idea how they'd do as a double feature, but now I'm intrigued by the idea.
posted by rmd1023 at 1:52 PM on February 22

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