Afterglow (1995) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski) and Tuna

Scoop's notes in white:

"Nor I You"

In The Last Tycoon, the hands-on martinet of a studio boss makes one of his directors re-shoot a lengthy, complex, expensive scene between two superstars because one of the characters responds "nor I you" to a line something like "I'll never forget you, kid". His point was that although it is perfectly possible to construct and to understand that expression, its use is purely hypothetical. In the entire history of the English language, nobody has ever actually said that in such a situation.

Somebody should make director/writer Alan Rudolph watch that scene, because all of his characters talk like that. Nick Nolte plays a handyman in this film. I don't know how to imagine a more down-to-earth guy than Nick Nolte as a handyman. Maybe Art Carney as Ed Norton, or Billy Bob Thornton as a convenience store manager. Yet, although it is Nolte and he's fixin' stopped-up drains, he's firin' out subtle double entendres, bon mots, and "nor I yous" faster than Oscar Wilde on dexadrine. You'd think it was William F. Buckley playing to a big crowd in the final debate tournament of his senior year at Yale. In what is essentially a four character stage play, the other three main characters in this film all speak as pretentiously, as poetically, and as wittily as Nolte.

I hate that kind of artificial crap.

And you know what? I liked this movie.

Furthermore, the plot is something out of the most contrived 18th century French sex farce. A beautiful young woman wants a child and her aloof, successful husband is un-cooperative. Not to mention a total rearvent. Although it seems obvious that her marriage is completely fucked, her biological clock is ticking, so she vows to have a child by the next guy who walks in the door. A craggy, aging handyman walks in. True to her vow, she seduces him.

He's married, but his marriage is also fucked up, because of something that is revealed gradually, so he starts to get involved with the naive, sweet, beautiful young housewife. Soon his wife and her husband decide to spy on their mates. Needless to say, in the course of spying, the spouses run into one another, and become romantically involved, although Jonny Lee Miller was 25 years old, Julie Christie 56 at the time. They go away for a weekend. Their unfaithful spouses know nothing of it.

I hate that kind of artificial crap as well.

And I don't much care for static, talky four character stage plays, either.

And you know what? I still liked this movie.

I liked it partially because people approached and pulled away from one another in realistic ways. The relationship between Christie and Miller was an especially interesting one to watch. He pursues, she retreats, then she advances, he retreats, etc.

Most of all, I liked it because the script gradually pulled away all of the superficial layers of the characters, or at least as many as possible, and got deep inside of what was really wrong with them and their marriages in the first place. Then the film let these characters express some absolute and genuine anguish on screen. That is quite amazing to see inside of something that begins as a Wildean sex farce. 


Lara Flynn Boyle appeared topless in a swimming pool. She was also seen in two outfits of partial transparency.

DVD info from Amazon

  • no features, no widescreen, crappy film.

  • but you can't beat the price.

I have hidden some important sub-plots from you so as not to spoil your journey into their psyches, or the resolution of their dilemma. I recommend the film, warts and all. There were times when this damned film irritated the hell out of me, but there was something about it that touched me eventually, and when it reached me, my connection to it lingered.

I guess it was the afterglow.


Afterglow (1997) is a comedy/drama/romance that focuses on two couples.

The first is Julie Christie, playing a former B actress, and Nick Nolte, playing a handyman who provides sexual satisfaction to his housewife/clients, with the permission of his wife. The two are clearly bound together by love, but their relationship is no longer sexual, because of some tragic event in their past.

The other couple are yuppies, played by Jonny Lee Miller and Lara Flynn Boyle. He is a highly successful businessman obsessed by having the perfect house, perfect wife, perfect music, and nothing to complicate his life. She wants a baby, and hires Nolte to remodel and create a kid's room. Boyle and Nolte get together, and then Christie goes on a weekend business trip with Miller out of revenge.

While I was impressed with the performances and liked the characters, I didn't find the story either amusing or engaging. The Montreal locations looked great, and the transfer was top notch, but the DVD was devoid of extra features.

The Critics Vote ...

  • Super-panel consensus: three stars. Ebert 3/4, Berardinelli 3/4.

The People Vote ...

  • It grossed two and a half million dollars in art house distribution.
The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even 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. (C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by genre fans, while C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie although genre addicts find it watchable). 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. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-.

Based on this description, Scoop says, "this is a C+. Flawed, but ultimately a pretty darned good romantic comedy with much deeper insights than you'd expect from the genre." Tuna calls it a C.

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