The Night Before
I've decided to kick things off with one of my new, personal traditions. I came across this movie upon its theatrical release just two years ago. What was expected to be your average stoner Christmas comedy actually ended up tugging at the heart strings, giving me a new favorite Christmas movie character, and of course I ended up relating well to one of the main characters.
The movie opens in Christmassy rhyme, telling us the backstory of Ethan (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), who lost his parents in a terrible car accident. Since the incident, Ethan's best friends, Chris (Anthonie Mackie) and Isaac (Seth Rogen) have taken him under their wing. They have developed an annual tradition of hitting the streets of Manhattan, painting the town red, and having a great time celebrating the holiday. One year, they are told about the glitziest of parties known as "The Nutcracker Ball" - an event one can go to by special invitation only. Each year, they continue their traditions, all the while keeping a lookout for this epic, annual party.
However, being that Isaac is becoming a family man, and Chris is becoming a famous athlete, their time is coming to a close. 2015 marks the last year of following this fun tradition, but with a catch. Ethan manages to stumble upon three tickets to the very party they've been trying to get to for so many years. And, pretty much as one would expect, various events unfold throughout the night as they try to get to this party.
What really adds weight to the humor of this film are two things. For starters, Isaac's wife decides to give him a very special treat for their last night on the town - a container full of "every drug ever". Throughout the night, Isaac keeps trying to find the right balance to get his head right, but it just ends up getting funnier and funnier. He sort of has his own little adventure. On top of that, we have the character of Mr. Green (Michael Shannon) who plays a sort of grungy, possibly living in his car pot dealer. It's something you kinda have to see for yourself, but he maintains this hilariously creepy presence through the whole thing. Somehow, this guy is uncomfortable just as much as he's charming. I enjoy Michael Shannon as an actor, but this might be the most interesting character I've seen him play. Which either means it's one of his best roles, or I haven't actually seen enough of his movies. Either way, I love, love, love this character.
Getting back to my point about relating to one of these characters, it's definitely Ethan. One of the things that really does effect me emotionally here is his situation altogether. There's some personal stuff behind it that I won't throw all over my public pages, but let's just say that I can relate to him on several levels. I won't give away too much, but this does end with something very heartwarming that always manages to put a lump in my throat. But in a good way.
This comes from director Jonathan Levine, the same guy who did '50/50'. If you've ever seen it, you can expect the same sort of thing here in that there's plenty of humor, but there's also something deeper to it. So, if you're open-minded enough and looking for a new Christmas comedy, maybe give it a shot. You might not see it in the same glorious light I tend to, but regardless, It's a good time!
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