With our last couple of Netflix discs, we’ve been on a bit of an old movie kick ― “old” in this case meaning 1967 (the original version of Bedazzled*) and 1985 (Into the Night). No, not the series where the airplane is trying to avoid getting fried by the sun; the movie, where Jeff Goldblum and Michelle Pfeiffer are trying to avoid getting fried by the sun. Or something like that.
I’d already seen this film a long time ago, but for some reason I was in the mood to see it again, and lo! By the magic of my DVD queue, it materialized at our house.
Wife: “What is this? Besides old?”
Me: “This is Into the Night. And yes, it’s old. See, there’s Jeff Goldblum.”
Wife: “Wow, he looks young.”
Me: “You know who he is?”
Wife: “Uh-huh, he was in Jurassic Park.”
Me: “You recognize him and you can name a movie he was in? I’m impressed!”
Wife: “Yeah, just don’t ask me to name any other ones.”
Well, if you’re going to be remembered for just one movie, you could do worse than Jurassic Park**.
Being a mid-80s black comedy/neo-noir/mystery set almost entirely at night, full of quirky characters, and following an Everyman in over his head and continually thrust into an escalating series of misunderstanding-fueled situations, it didn’t take long before Into the Night started reminding my wife of another movie. She just couldn’t remember the other movie’s name, but then again, she never does.
Wife: “This reminds me of that bagel-and-cream-cheese-paperweights movie you like so much.”
Me: “Hmm, yeah, I can see that.”
Aside from being an early vehicle for Michelle Pfeiffer***, Into the Night is also well-known for being chock full of cameos from famous directors. I didn’t really point them out to my wife, since she would in general have had no idea who any of them were, except for one.
Me: “That’s Jim Henson.”
Wife (looking at minor Iranian character): “Who, that guy?”
Me: “No, not him. The guy on the phone.” (backs up DVD) “Listen to his voice. Can you hear Kermit in it?”****
Wife: “Yeahhh, but only because you told me. Otherwise no.”
Into the Night put my wife to sleep in about 45 minutes and we finished it in two sittings.
Me: “So what did you think?”
Wife: “It was okay. It really reminded me of the bagel-and-cream-cheese-paperweights movie.”
Me: “Well, After Hours is one of my favorite movies, so it makes sense that I would like this one too. Which one did you think was better*****?”
Wife: “I don’t know. The only thing I remember about the other one is the paperweights.”
Me: “Do you want to refresh your memory? I own the other one on DVD. We could watch it.”
Wife: “No, that’s all right.”
In case your interest has been piqued about how an entire movie can be boiled down to “bagel-and-cream-cheese-paperweights”, I present to you the trailer for After Hours. Warning: If you have not seen After Hours and you think you might want to, do not watch this trailer, which, for some reason, spells out the entire plot and all the twists. On the other hand, if you don’t really want to watch it, just watch the trailer and then you won’t have to.
One more thing about Into the Night: The DVD includes a 30-minute special feature about B.B. King, how he became involved in the movie, and what he contributed to the soundtrack. To summarize, the director (John Landis) had a regular score composed, and then B.B. King watched the film—dialog, existing music, and all—and basically noodled along on his guitar in whatever way he thought enhanced the scene or contributed to the mood. Being B.B. King, his noodling is pretty impressive. At one point during the special feature he was talking to the interviewer about blues music, and, apparently off the cuff, played three completely different guitar riffs with three completely different sets of lyrics to illustrate various types of blues standards.
Me: “Do you think he’s just making these songs up off the top of his head?”
Wife: “Yep.” (beat) “Must be nice to be so talented at something.”
Yes, yes it must.
I couldn’t find the 30-minute special feature online, either, but I did find the music video for the Into the Night theme song. Take it away, B.B. King!
Speaking of things that take place mostly after dark, I decided that, while waiting for the final artwork, I would go ahead and release Night Watchman and Father’s Books in Kindle editions with their temporary placeholder covers. It’s easy enough to change them in an eBook, and I don’t need to order physical proofs to review and approve, so there’s no extra cost there. (Well, technically, you don’t need to order physical proofs of print books, either. But of course I have to make sure the books look good before turning them loose. I can hardly ask people to pay $14.99 for something I’ve never seen, now, can I?) For those who are keeping track, here are the placeholder covers:
The Night Watchman cover is based on the original cover, which I don’t have the rights to; it was designed by the now-defunct publisher, Hard Shell Word Factory, based on input from me. To be honest, I kind of like my placeholder cover better than the original.
But the upcoming artwork (I already picked one for it) is, of course, better than both.
* Wife: “This movie is older than we are!”
** Listing all the movies Jeff Goldblum has been in would obviously take up far too much room in a blog post, but here are a few, just from memory, some of which my wife has seen: The Big Chill; Silverado; The Fly; Earth Girls are Easy; Jurassic Park: The Lost World; Independence Day; Thor: Ragnarok; etc. etc. etc.
*** Although I’m pretty sure the first thing I saw her in was Ladyhawke, which, to no one’s surprise, I have on DVD.
**** I tried to find video of Jim Henson’s cameo in the movie, but failed. Unfortunately I had already sent the DVD back prior to writing this post, so I couldn’t record it for the reader’s edification. #FirstWorldProblems
***** After Hours is better. Obviously.