|"About Last Night..." (1986)|
|Blu-ray Romantic Drama|
|Written by Noah Fleming|
|Thursday, 06 August 2009|
Director Edward Zwick is better known for his work on "Legends of the Fall." More recently, Zwick has directed "The Last Samurai" and "Defiance." His work on "'About Last Night…'" is adequate but does not retain its appeal over time.
When the film first came out in 1986 it struck a chord with several moviegoers. In terms of the 1980s, the film captures what single life was like. However, 20 plus years later, the film does not have the same influence. Now it is viewed as archaic and somewhat dull. The notion of fear of commitment has been overdone in the past couple decades.
Danny Martin (Rob Lowe) is a single man that revels in the relationship stories told by his friend, Bernie (James Belushi). While Bernie does not have as much "game" as he thinks he does, his stories are rather detailed and peak Danny's interest. Both men work in bulk item selling and hit the bar each night after work, enjoying every moment of their single lives.
Debbie (Demi Moore) works in marketing and enjoys spending her free time with her girlfriend, Joan (Elizabeth Perkins). Debbie is somewhat of a party girl, always sharing stories with Joan. In this respect is seems that Debbie and Danny are destined for each other. Then one day Danny meets Debbie's eyes. After a bunch of cat and mouse playing, they final relent to one another.
Their relationship starts with a one night stand, but Danny feels something special and feels he needs to address Debbie the next day, hence the title "About Last Night…." One thing leads to another and the couple starts to neglect their friends. After only a few months the couple decide to move in together. Anyone nowadays might still this as a potential problem, but in the 1980s it was more common.
From the very first day living together the couple start to fight. What made them work as a couple before living together was the fun that they had together. Once they moved into together they quit doing random and fun things. They became a bored house couple. Danny's friend Bernie doesn't help the situation, constantly putting Danny down for settling with Debbie. Joan pretty much does the same thing with Debbie.
After several months of living together, particularly through the holidays, all the things left unsaid finally blow to the surface and cause the couple to split. It took a long time to get to, but the journey was somewhat interesting. The ending is a bit cliché. In reality it doesn't really work that way, but I suppose the point of films is to escape reality. However, the ending will leave you feeling like you went through the entire movie just to arrive back at the beginning.
For a 20 plus year old film, "'About Last Night…'" has a rather decent video transfer. Given an MPEG-4 AVC encode at a 1.85:1 aspect ratio, the film falls a bit flat. The image is very bland with no popping. The textures are flat due to the film grain. The soft nature of the image, as well as its fuzzy appearance lends me to believe that some digital noise reduction has been applied. Details are also only average. The black levels are not as inky as they could be. Most distracting is the weak contrast level. This also contributes to the flat look of the image. Due to poor contrast, the brightness of the image looks way to intense, causing a wash out image. The colors in the daytime sparkle. This is perhaps the best part of the transfer. It is just disappointing that the colors are not supported by good black levels. Shadow delineation is decent. While it seems this title was released just to support "St. Elmo's Fire," which had a much better transfer, Sony could have spent a bit more time restoring this film's video presentation.
The audio is presented in Sony's typical Dolby TrueHD 5.1. The audio track is matrixed to create a 5.1 mix. The mix remains largely front heavy. Left and right separation is good when it comes to pop music tracks, but other than that the sound emanates from the center channel. The surround channels contain mainly extrapolated sounds that only serve to muddy the soundfield. The dynamic range is expansive, to the point that it is very distracting. The pop music is very punchy that well startle you nearly every time it turns up. The dialogue gets buried in the music tracks. You while probably have to play volume commando with this title. However, be care because that pop music will really get you. The frequency response is fairly standard. I don't expect much more than what is given for a 1980s track. The LFE channel gets a workout during the pop music, but not with anything else. I think I would actually prefer the compressed Dolby Digital track because it removes some of the dynamic range, bringing the music down a healthy notch.
There are only a couple bonus features on this disc. First there is the original making-of featurette. The other featurette is "Edward Zwick and Robe Lowe in Conversation." This is a new feature that contains reminiscing moments. Sony has enabled the disc with BD-Live functionality, as well as included several Sony trailer, however not for the film at hand.
"'About Last Night…'" was a good film in the mid-1980s, but it has not held up well over time. For those that followed the Brat Pack films this film might be of interest to you. The video and audio quality don't really warrant the addition of this disc to your collection.