Saturday, November 28, 2015

Solo at the Movies: "The Night Before" at ArcLight Santa Monica

Theater Info:
ArcLight Santa Monica
395 Santa Monica Place, Suite 330, Santa Monica
Cost: $15.75 for a matinee showing

Movie Stats:
Released 2015 (USA & Canada on the same day)
American, in English
Director - Jonathan Levine
Stars - Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen, Anthony Mackie

Plot Summary:
One year, in an effort to cheer up Ethan (Gordon-Levitt), orphaned by the sudden death of his parents, his friends Isaac (Rogen) and Chris (Mackie), spend Christmas Eve with him. Now, fourteen years later, the three men decide to finally end the tradition with one big last night out.

Blue language; drug use; mild violence; sexy times; brief female nudity (I think; honestly I can’t quite remember and the movie is too new for all of the warnings to be up on IMDB but I know it’s not full frontal).

Bad Stuff:
It’s not as funny as I’d hoped it would be. That’s not to say it wasn’t funny at all. There were some moments when I laughed a lot. However, I didn’t laugh nearly as much as I expected to.

There are some really weird moments. In a way, I’ve come to expect that from this type of movie but I’m not convinced that it’s necessary. I felt like the screenwriters took as many drugs as Isaac did (one of the plot lines in the film).

Good Stuff:
The underlying message - about friendship, love, change, and growing up - is very sweet.

I loved Michael Shannon as Mr. Green. Is there anything that man can’t do? He’s excellent.

It was nice to see female characters portrayed fairly well for once. The women were, by and large, strong, funny, intelligent, understanding, and supportive. I especially liked Isaac’s wife, Betsy (Jillian Bell).

The Verdict:
It was okay. When I first saw a trailer for it, I was interested because, hey, JGL, I love him. But it didn’t look very funny to me. Then the reviews started coming in and they were actually pretty good, so I thought I would give it a chance. I guess I should’ve listened to my gut. I didn’t hate it, but I wanted something more. I wanted to really laugh, the kind of laughing where your face hurts by the time you leave the theater. This didn’t do that for me, so I was disappointed. Maybe on a different day, in a different mood, it might have struck me funnier. I’m not trying to warn you away from it. I’m saying go into it with low expectations.

I give it 3.25 stars.

About ArcLight Santa Monica:
This theater is brand spanking new, opening up less than a week before my visit. It’s the first ArcLight I’ve ever been too, so I didn't know much about it. Given the cost of the ticket, I have to say that I expected more. The seats were nice enough, but they didn’t even recline. Everything was nice and new. Concessions were about the same as any other theater, but the portions were smaller. On the one hand, I think this is a good thing because standard movie theater portions are too large. However, if I’m getting a portion that’s a sane size, then I don’t think I should be paying the same price as the insane size. At the end of the day, I didn’t understand what the big deal was. Why pay nearly $16 for a ticket to a theater that wasn’t any nicer than some of the others I’ve been to recently? I’ll probably go back, however, since it’s the hot new theater in town and my friends will want to go.


Patricia said...

That hissing "Jesus Christ" you heard all the way in Santa Monica was me reacting to the price. Holy cats, that's a lot for a matinee.

I may see this eventually. One half of Movie Date podcast reviewers saw it and didn't like it, but the local guy did. He's not my go-to local guy, though, so who knows.

balyien said...

Ultimately, I think the movie is pretty "meh." Definitely wait until you can get it for free. On the bright side, two of my friends went to this theater over the weekend and disliked it even more than I did, so maybe I won't have to keep going there after all!