The Eighties Fever: ‘Into the Night’ (1985)

What happens when you review thirty year old films from the perspective of someone who gets classified as a millennial, but wouldn’t really consider himself one? With both popular and obscure films on the list, it’s a mixture of new insights into old films, all while celebrating what might just be the greatest decade ever. This is The Eighties Fever.

Viewing: First Time

Into the Night is one of those rare movies that I buy and watch on the same day. The guy at my local video store knows me too well and saw an easy sell. All he said was “Into the Night just came out. That’s a pretty good 80’s flick” and I was sold. Of course, once I saw Jeff Goldblum and Michelle Pfeiffer were the two main stars this would have been an easy sell if I had stumbled across it myself. So let’s dive right in.

Into the Night is a 1985 comedy-thriller directed by John Landis (best known for An American Werewolf in London). In addition to Landis starring in the film, it features an insane amount of cameos from some of the biggest directors at the time: Paul Bartel (Eating Raoul), Amy Heckerling (Fast Times at Ridgemont High), Colin Higgins (The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas), Lawrence Kasdan (Body Heat), and Don Siegel (Invasion of the Body Snatchers); and that’s just scrapping the top of the barrel.

Jeff Goldblum stars as Ed Okin, an unhappy insomniac, who finds out that his wife is having an affair. His friend (Dan Akroyd) tells him to fly to Vegas for a night of fun. However, while at the airport, Diana (Michelle Pfeiffer) gets into his car and tells him to drive. She’s being pursued by a four Iranians because she has smuggled priceless emeralds from the Shah of Iran’s treasury.

To make matters worse, the two are also being tailed by a British hitman (David Bowie), and another set of hitman led by some French guy. Eventually, there’s an airport shootout and a rich millionaire coming to their aid leaving them with three-quarters of a million dollars and a twenty-four hour window. So the moral of the story is: Help a beautiful smuggler out of a jam, and eventually you’ll be rewarded by federal agents.

Surprisingly, this two hour runtime never dragged and there was just enough continual action to keep the film’s momentum fully charged. Goldblum and Pfeiffer make for a delightful duo alongside the supporting cast. Goldblum hasn’t necessarily mastered his Goldblum acting skills yet, but there’s enough of that charisma in Ed Okin to keep you entertained.

The R-rating is barely noticeable and minus a couple of f-bombs and some frontal nudity it could easily pass off as PG-13. However, the nudity and swearing add into the surrealism that Ed Okin experiences in this journey. He wanted to go to Vegas for a night of fun, and instead found fun in his own backyard.

The plot doesn’t make sense at times, and there is definitely too many third parties going after those emeralds to keep track of. You almost need a notepad to remember who’s who, and in what way to they know each other. However, the cast is fun to watch, and really, that’s all that should matter.

Into the Night is one of the few movies I’ve watched at home where I’ve watched the credits to the end. I’m glad I did because that last thing you read is “This film was shot entirely in Los Angeles, California.” I found this amusing given the current climate Hollywood shoots films in. I doubt there is one major film released this year that could boast something like that. Yet, while watching it you subconsciously realize that it’s all happening in Los Angeles. I think that adds something to the film. It makes it seem more realistic, which is crazy but true. Los Angeles in the 80’s had some gorgeous locations and John Landis cherry picks some great scenery for his film. There’s some great car chases in Into the Night that are surrounded by beautiful fountains and trees. Okay, most of them take place in parking garages, and there’s one scene that feels like The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift ripped it off, but overall, it’s just nice to watch a film knowing there’s no green screen or CGI added somewhere.

Film Verdict: Jeff Goldblum and Michelle Pfeiffer are best known for the work they did in the 1990s, but Into the Night showcased that they were pretty talented back in the mid-80s. If you’re interested in some lighter R-rated fare that seamlessly blends action and comedy then check this film out. It might not be the best film to come out in 1985, but hey, that was a pretty great year for film. So pop those kernels, cozy up in that Snuggie, and go into the night with Into the Night.

Grade: 8.5/10