Friday, November 2, 2012

#809. After Hours (1985)

Directed By: Martin Scorsese

Starring: Griffin Dunne, Rosanna Arquette, Verna Bloom

Tag line: "What if that date you thought would never end, didn't?"

Trivia: In the coffee shop where Paul first meets Marcy, an elderly couple sitting at a table to Marcy's right is director Martin Scorsese's mother and father

It’s difficult to explain just how bad a night Paul Hackett (Griffin Dunne) has in Martin Scorsese’s 1985 comedy, After Hours. He meets a beautiful girl named Marcy (Rosanna Arquette) in a coffee shop late one evening, and decides to visit her at her friend’s apartment. This is something that’s happened to hundreds of guys, on hundreds of nights, yet what happens to Paul on this particular one is truly unique, and must be seen to be believed.

See, Paul is a young professional, with a boring word processing job and a boring existence to boot. When Marcy invites him over to hang out, he thinks his luck might finally be changing for the better, so he hops in a cab and heads out to SoHo, hoping to add a little spice to his life. Well, to put it mildly, the evening doesn’t go according to plan. First off, Marcy’s a bit more screwed up than he realized, and her artist roommate, Kiki (Linda Fiorentino), while definitely more "together" than Marcy, dabbles in art that, at best, will give you the creeps. Before the night is out, Paul will have run-ins with a number of bizarre characters, including a waitress named Julie (Teri Garr), a helpful bartender named Tom (John Heard), who he shares a strange connection with, and a vigilante mob, led by an ice-cream truck driver (Catherine O’Hara) who won’t stop until she’s seen Paul brought to justice. Oh, and there are a couple of crooks in a van, played by Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong, who pop up every now and again to make Paul’s adventure even more hellish than it already is.

After Hours is a very funny film, but not in the laugh-out-loud style of many comedies; it’s a movie that will cause laughter in hindsight, when you have time to reflect on the pathetic bad luck of its main character. Watching After Hours is like staring at a train running out of control, watching it crash, then keeping your eyes glued through all the carnage that’s sure to follow. Paul Hackett’s train runs off the tracks the moment he steps into a taxi one fateful night, and he doesn’t have a minute to catch his breath from then on.

And neither do we, for that matter.


PooBahSpiel said...

The computers at the publishing house dates the film. But so does Cheech and Chong.

James Robert Smith said...

What??!! Scorcese. A phenomenal cast...and I've never even HEARD of this film!!