Last Night (1998) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

This one is a terrific little movie. 

I watch dozens of these little movies every year, and 90% of them bite the big one, but we live for the treasure in the trash, and this is the treasure. 

You may not know it, but Canada has its own version of Orson Welles, although the Northern Welles, Don McKellar, is quite a bit less flashy. Lacking the command presence of the original Welles, McKellar is a little soft-spoken guy who looks like he'd get kicked around the playground by Bill Gates and Woody Allen, but at age 36 he's written eight screenplays and directed three movies himself, including two of his original screenplays. Oh, yeah, and he's appeared in a couple dozen as an actor. He's best known as a writer now, for the critically-acclaimed "32 Short Films About Glenn Gould" and "The Red Violin". I have mentioned before that I felt The Red Violin could have won the best screenplay Oscar, although I was less enthusiastic about the movie's execution. (McKellar didn't direct that movie). 


Karen Glave shows her breasts in  sex scene
McKellar did it all in "Last Night". Wrote, directed, starred. Here's the premise: world is going to end at midnight, it's six PM now. Don't ask why. Act of God, mad scientist, who cares? Doesn't matter. Point is there's no Bruce Willis or Arnold to save the day. At midnight it's all over, everyone has accepted it, and has known for a couple months or more. Given that, what would life be like? Think about it. There won't be a lot of trash pick-up or public transportation or police on the streets. If you had a few hours left, would you spend it nabbing drug dealers or picking up trash? Hell no. Think about what you wouldn't do. Then think about what you would do. Think about how other people are different from you, and would have different approaches. What would the end of the world be like?

Some bang, some whimper. 

DVD info from Amazon.

  • no widescreen 

  • no features

 I think the most touching performance in the movie is given by eccentric director David Cronenberg, who plays a gas company executive who spends the last days calling customers to thank them, and to assure them that the gas will keep working as long as possible. This character is a lonely guy, but even with the world down to a few hours, he still can't summon the courage to conclude an office flirtation with his virginal assistant, and she doesn't know how to ask for it.

It is a strange combination of the brightest and darkest angels of our natures, all magnified in intensity as the end nears. It's coated with dark humor, filled with engaging characterizations. If it sounds interesting to you, rent it. If you like it, thank me. If not, blame it on Canada. 

The Critics Vote

  • General consensus: three stars and then some. Ebert 3/4, Berardinelli 3/4, Apollo 91/100.

  • Rotten Tomatoes summary. 89% positive reviews, 100% from the top critics

The People Vote ...

  • With their votes ... IMDB summary: IMDb voters score it a near-classic 7.3, Apollo users 87/100
IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, this film is a B.

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