ABOUT LAST NIGHT
US, 1986, 113 minutes, Colour.
Rob Lowe, Demi Moore, James Belushi, Elizabeth Perkins.
Directed by Edward Zwick.
About Last Night is an adaptation of David Mamet's play, Sexual Perversities in Chicago. It is designed as a star vehicle for Rob Lowe with support from Demi Moore and James Belushi. It works well. There is some criticism that the adaptation from the play gives the film a more upbeat ending and perspective than the play.
The film focuses on young adults in Chicago, their lifestyle, relationships and lack of relationship. It focuses on Rob Lowe's Dan who encounters Debbie and falls in Love rather than merely exploiting her. It has repercussion's on both their lives - with success and with failure. The challenge is to moral values in a world which does not encourage them, by people who have not been trained in explicit values.
The film has a great deal to say about the life of young adults in the '80s and their continued struggles. Well worth seeing and discussing.
1. An interesting and entertaining film? Society of the '80s? In the United States? World wide? Insight?
2. The atmosphere of the city’ of Chicago, work places, homes, single bars? Environment? Musical score and songs?
3. The work of playwright David Mamet? The original title of his play? The title of the film? Tones? The adaptation of the play for the screen?
4. The stage origins of the work, the reliance on language and dialogue? The strong language? The psychological emphases, interactions? Tone? Emotional impact? The opening and Bernie telling the story to Danny?
5. The portrait of Danny: Rob Lowe's style and presence? His background? His work, storing and packing, neatness? Boring? His long friendship with Bernie, listening to him? His enjoyment of baseball? The meeting with Debbie? The joviality and drinking at Mother Malone's? 'The encounter with Debbie, the attraction, presuppositions, going. home for the night? His device of seduction with the headphones? The contrast with the morning and the next day? About last night ... ? Phone calls to Debbie? Her putting him off? The decision to meet, the importance of the day together and all that they shared? His over-reliance on Bernie's advice? Keeping aloof? Meeting again, hostility, the clash? Together for the night? Danny's proposal, her moving in? Lifestyle, happiness? Its being undermined by Bernie and Joan? The growing tensions? The build-up to the Thanksgiving dinner? Contrast with Christmas and New Year? The party? His love for Debbie, clashes with Joan? His thinking he was not in love? Alone, the rain, St Patrick's? The drinking with Bernie? The girls? The break-up with Debbie? The effect on him? The baseball game, meeting Debbie again, the tentative interaction, the possibility of starting again? Danny's character well-observed? Ringing true? The work-place, the boss and his toughness, pretences? Getting the money, being let off, the clash with the boss and leaving? His own work, the diner? His moods and the effect? The importance of having to collect the money and his inability to do it? His more relaxed manner in working in the diner? Hopes and dreams? Sharing them with Debbie?
7. The portrait of Debbie, at work, meeting Danny at the baseball, the strong friendship with Joan, the singles bar, expectations, the night with Danny, leaving? The phone calls? Her indecision? Her affair with the boss? The discovery of his infidelity? Discussions with Joan, Joan undermining her attitude towards Danny? Yet moving in, the hopes, life style? The clashes? Thanksgiving dinner? The credibility of the sequences where they argued and hurt each other? Danny's aloofness? Her own? The ending and her decision to meet Danny? The possibilities for the future?
8. Themes of intimacy and maturity, sharing, learning, challenge, growth? The psychological plausibility of the relationship? Emotional? Sexual? Breaking, repenting?
9. The character of Bernie, James Belushi's loud style, telling stories, philosophy of life, with women, work, money? His advice and Danny's following it? Seeing him at work with Danny, the pressures? Interfering? The clashes with Joan? The drinking, Thanksgiving dinner? The clash with Joan - and the reconciliation?
10. Joan and her attitudes, hostility towards men, her lifestyle, her attractiveness when teaching, the children and Christmas and the Virgin Mary? Her cynical attitudes? Her disgust with Bernie? Suspicions of Danny? her effect on Debbie? At the dinner?
11. The world of bars, parties, Mother Malone's? The world of the young singles?
12. Debbie's boss, style, his relationship with Debbie, the Christmas party? The effect on Danny? Danny's boss and his style, his relationship with his secretary?
13. Gus, his owing money, Danny's not being able to take it, collaborating with him on the diner and his dream?
14. The effectiveness of the set scenes: the initial sequences in the bar, Thanksgiving dinner, the Christmas party, St Patrick's Day in the bar? The two men walking along the streets of Chicago? The build-up to their final confrontation and truth-telling?
15. An exploration of values in a secular world?