“After Hours” – Nathan’s Movie Challenge, Week 7
“What do you want from me? I’m just a word processor!”
My first thoughts:
“Hey! That’s the guy from American Werewolf in London. Awesome!”
“Oh, wow. I didn’t realize this was a Scorsese movie. This should be good!”
“Cheech and Chong are in this? Is this a comedy?”
“Hey, look! It’s Balki!”
* the film commences… *
“This movie is fucking great!”
There’s something about the look of the film stock of the mid-80s that I just adore. There’s a quality to it that you just don’t get in any other period in filmmaking. The grain, the color timing, the focus…
Two things astonish me about this film because of what could have happened:
1. Scorsese apparently made this when The Last Temptation of Christ fell through initially, so if he had received the greenlight earlier on that picture, this one might have never been made.
2. The original director that was going to make this movie? Tim Burton. Wrap your head around that, folks. This would have been pre-Big Adventure Burton. Pre-Scissorhands Burton. Pre-Beetlejuice Burton. The mind boggles.
I can’t get enough of Griffin Dunne’s performance and his delivery of this tortured character. I have felt like this guy. I can relate to this guy – despite how insane his nightmare becomes. He just completely nails it. I’d put it next to films like High Fidelity or Fight Club that somehow peer into the crystal ball to realize the 20s-something adult male psyche just right. I’m in my mid-30s, but I still completely get this guy and what he’s going through.
The decision to shoot at night really pays off. It completely saturates the movie. The tracking shots, the overhead shots, the low and high angle shots; Scorsese puts the camera right where it should be – every time. In the behind the scenes content, there’s talk about how Marty had the entire shot list distributed to the entire cast and crew on day one. He knew – before shooting even began – exactly how every shot of the script would be framed. Remarkable.
Apparently the original script is rife with plagiarism, but it doesn’t detract from how good a movie was made from wherever the source material came from. I doubt Scorsese knew, or the producers knew – but ultimately it makes no difference to how good the film became.
I laughed, giggled, and smiled during pretty much the whole picture. I’m not into most comedies, but this has now firmly become one of my favorite comedies of all-time. It’s dark, it’s bizarre, it’s filled with wonderfully realized characters, it’s shot incredibly well, it’s got a super-original script… Man, what a movie. I can’t believe no one has suggested this film to me sooner. If there’s ever a film to wear the underrated badge – or the “hidden gem”, it’s got to be this one.
After Hours was at the time of this review at #237 on my Flickchart list of shame (ranked #449 among the best movies of all time). Here’s how it entered my chart:
After Hours vs. Blood Diamond
Blood Diamond is a fairly OK movie with one of the weaker DiCaprio roles. After Hours totally wins.
After Hours vs. Good Will Hunting
The triumph for Ben Affleck and Matt Damon still holds up very well, but it won’t hold up against After Hours in this matchup.
After Hours vs. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
I’m a huge, huge fan of the original Swedish Tattoo film with Noomi Rapace. I’m a Fincher nut, and I don’t think his version with Rooney Mara and Daniel Craig holds a candle to the original’s take. Still, After Hours astonished me. After Hours will take the match.
After Hours vs. Lucy
A lot of people seem to be hating on Lucy, but I enjoyed it immensely. Scarlett’s perfect in the role, and although it’s no The Professional (my current #25), it’s still very, very good, and my second favorite Luc Besson movie. Still giving it to After Hours.
After Hours vs. Gravity
The technical prowess behind Gravity is what places it so high on my chart. It’s a masterpiece of accomplishing something in film that has literally never been done before. I’m even more affected by how perfect of a dark comedy After Hours is though. Unbelievable. It wins over Gravity.
After Hours vs. Forrest Gump
Alright, so it’s not going to beat Gump. Zemeckis and Hanks pulled off a miracle movie, and it will always stand up as one of cinema’s best.
After Hours vs. Office Space
Who doesn’t like Office Space? It’s certainly one of the best comedies ever, but I’m actually still picking After Hours. It’s better looking, it’s better scripted, it’s better acted, and in some places, it’s even funnier.
After Hours vs. The Terminator
If this was T2, it would not be a question, but the first Terminator has just a few tiny things I could poke fingers at. The budget kind of shows itself, it looks dated now (After Hours strangely doesn’t feel that way to me, despite its fashion and outdated office computers), and I think Cameron was still finding his voice a bit. It’s still awe-inspiring, but I’m convinced that After Hours is even more outstanding.
After Hours vs. E.T.
Sorry, E.T. is movie magic. It’s not going to fall in this matchup.
After Hours is now the highest ranked film of the challenge so far at #69 out of 1373 movies on my Best Movies of All-Time chart.
Next week, I’ll be watching Brick, Harvey, and The Jerk. I’ve already ranked 20 other films so far during the challenge. Take a look…