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About Last Night... (1986)

Comedy and Drama movie directed by Edward Zwick

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Danny & Debbie hook up & break up; repeat & sprinkle over Chicago

  • Jul 11, 2007
  • by
I would have loved to seen the play "Sexual Perversity in Chicago" by David Mamet, so I can have a comparison to the movie adapted version named "About Last Night..." From what I heard the movie is pretty diluted in juxtaposition to the play, which is surprising because unlike modern times, the 1980s didn't really worry about movie ratings to fit a PG-13 versus R rating to make money and/or moral values.

As for the movie itself, it lacks any real plot. Young man in his early twenties named Danny (Rob Lowe) meets a young woman in her early twenties named Debbie (Demi Moore) in a bar in Chicago. After several dates, Danny and Debbie decide to move in together and give love a shot. The result is very moody, precarious, sexual, devoted, aloof and griping relationship. As a matter of fact, the relationship could probably be considered the first bipolar couple captured on film. With all the ups and downs and "should I be with this person or shouldn't I?" between Danny and Debbie. These "tender moments" create some major laughs, many that are totally both intentional and unintentional by the movie makers. However, I really didn't care if Danny and Debbie stayed together or not. Mainly because they both go through fits of being very vexing and it takes a toll on my soul. Therefore my mind kept wondering when McDonald's was going to bring back 2 for 2 Big Macs.

Rob Lowe does a great job as the young (and somewhat dumb) stud who doesn't want to grow up. I think that his hair should have also received billing in this movie, but that is just me. Demi Moore was adorable but kind of idiotic. I really found her character both naïve and vapid. In defense of Demi, she makes the character work, really. You will also discover many, many sex scenes with Rob and Demi. They both show plenty of skin. Also Rob watches strange cartoons and Demi sports her trademark raspy voice.

As for the supporting cast, Elizabeth Perkins gives a solid performance as Debbie's surly and caustic best friend Joan. That former description is supposed to be an oxymoron. Joan basically hates all men and goes through fits of imagined and real rejection throughout the entire movie. I really wanted to slap her in the face a couple of times. This shows that Liz Perkins did great job acting. Jim Belushi was great as Bernie. Bernie is the staple guy's guy. With plenty of crud/sexist humor and one liners like "Pull this leg and it plays Jingle Bells", he really is a guy you can see yourself having a pizza and some beer with. In contrast he is also the only character who doesn't come off fake or have some personality hang ups. Debbie has a sordid affair with her boss Steve, who by the way is awesome. Joan hates men but has no problem picking the worse out of the lot and takes no ownership of her selection of mates. Danny likes to sleep with married women and has a hard time with "real emotions". In other words, Bernie has no disillusions about who he is and there is no deception about his motives.

There are about six music videos in this movie. This is where music is played to show the elapse of time pass. I believe the term is a montage. This technique is something that isn't seen much in movies today. However in "About Last Night...", it totally works. There are certain montages where I just want to get up and dance while the DVD is playing. The music in this movie is also bipolar. It is either pop bubble gum or so dramatic the earth should stop. I am also happy to say a copy of the entire motion picture soundtrack is in my house. LONG LIVE SHEENA EASTON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

"About Last Night..." does a wonderful job portraying the fundamental differences between men and women. Even though this movie was made in 1986 and is over twenty years old changes nothing. Despite fashion and plenty of hair spray of 1986, men and women go through the same dating rituals (bar hoping & mind games to note a few) now that they went through then. So even though the movie might not have the most complex plot, it has plenty of character and characters!

It might appear that I don't like this movie. Believe me I do. I have seen this movie so many times that I feel like I have the privilege to rip it apart, since it holds such a place in the land of nostalgia for me. I almost have a love, hate, love, hate relationship with this movie. This relationship of mine really mirrors Danny and Debbie's connection to one and other.

My favorite part of this movie is the opening scene between Danny (Rob) and Bernie (Jim). Bernie is telling Danny a story about this night of wild sex he had with this girl. The conversation between both Bernie and Danny is constant, but during the dialogue the scene fades to black. This fade allows for the opening credits to be shown. When the credits are shown the dialogue is still present but when the camera comes back onto Bernie and Danny they are in a different place. For instance, they are speaking on subway (or the EL/L as it is called in Chicago), then fade to black and credits and cut back to them talking in a bar, the scenes change several times. Mind you the scenes change but not the dialogue. I thought it was a pretty cool and dare I say trendy opening for a movie.

This artistic opening was something that wouldn't be out of place in the film "Memento". Nevertheless, Guy Pearce was in "Memento" with Joe Pantoliano. Joe Pantoliano was in "U.S. Marshalls" with Robert Downey Jr. Robert Downey Jr. was in "Wonder Boys" with Michael Douglas. Michael Douglas was in "Disclosure" with Demi Moore. And yes, Demi Moore was in "About Last Night..." with Jim Belushi, Elizabeth Perkins and Rob Lowe. I know I shouldn't have made the connection, but I had to. I know somewhere out there Kevin Bacon is proud.

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March 20, 2012
Kev is proud indeed good Sir, and excellent write up.
More About Last Night... (1986) reviews
review by . March 04, 2000
posted in Movie Hype
This is an excellent date movie as it explores all the aspects of a relationship. You see the good, bad, and ugly sides of both these people and how true to life it is. Both Elizabeth Perkins and James Belushi give super performances in supporting roles to let the viewer know that even the most greatly different people are fairly connected. I guess Belushi and Perkins have two degrees of separation. Anyway, this film has comedic moments and very serious moments as well and it really makes you think …
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Joshua E Hoppock ()
Ranked #101
It is rather brisk in this field. The leaves are descending like a tapestry of aloof dreams. The wind entices these leaves into a plume of whimsical billowing ontological paradox. Then I recall that I … more
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For better or worse, David Mamet's hit playSexual Perversity in Chicagois watered down into this romantic comedy about a couple (played by Rob Lowe and Demi Moore) who get together and then fall apart due to Lowe's character's inability to commit. Jim Belushi is on hand as the gratuitously swinish best friend who looks at women as meat, and Elizabeth Perkins is entertainingly arch as Moore's gal pal and Belushi's nemesis. There's nothing about this 1986 film by Edward Zwick (cocreator of TV'sthirtysomethingand director ofGloryandCourage Under Fire) that is at all reminiscent of Mamet, but that doesn't make it bad or dull. While one can feel the script straining to fill in gaps where chunks of the original play have disappeared, Zwick often successfully tells the story without words at all, relying on the actors to convey pure emotion. Lowe is good, and the then-willowy Moore's understated performance reminds one of the actress she might have been before she became a spectacle.--Tom Keogh
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Director: Edward Zwick
DVD Release Date: December 22, 1998
Runtime: 113 minutes
Studio: Sony Pictures
First to Review

"Primo Date Movie"
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