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The first in an occasional series highlighting films I think more people should know about.

Title: The Allnighter

Writers: Tamar Simon Hoffs, M.L. Kessler

Director: Tamar Simon Hoffs

Stars: Susanna Hoffs, DeDee Pfeiffer, Joan Cusack, John Terlesky, James Shanta

Synopsis: Hoffs (the valedictorian), Pfeiffer (the blonde engaged to an older man), and Cusack (inexplicably taping everything) are college roommates celebrating the last day before graduation.  Terlesky (the normal one, I guess?) and Shanta (Zen) are surfer dude classmates who are always hanging around “the birds.”  Hoffs spends the day complaining about not having had a meaningful relationship, attempting to hook up with a 60s pop star that happened to drop by, and struggling to come to terms with her incredibly poorly hidden feelings for Terlesky, while Pfeiffer and Cusack end up (wrongfully) arrested for prostitution.  I believe hijinks were supposed to ensue, but they apparently were left on the cutting room floor.

Why You Should Know About This Movie: Hopefully you (A) know that Susanna Hoffs is the lead singer of the Bangles and (B) are surprised to learn she starred in a feature film.

Why You Should See This Movie: Honestly, there’s no good reason.  It is a terrible, terrible film.  Perhaps its 3.4 imdb rating, or its 0% (though with just 7 reviews) on Rotten Tomatoes should have been giveaways.  It is a college screwball comedy that is written with the sensibility of a high school film and plotting as conceived by middle schooler.  Nothing personal, Mama Hoffs, but your daughter deserved a better shot at a film career.  However, there are worse ways to spend a few minutes than watch Susanna Hoffs in her underwear gyrating to Aretha Franklin’s “Respect”:

Though really, you should have more dignity and indulge your fantasies with the music video to “In Your Room“.

Also Appearing: Pam Grier shows up for a couple of scenes as a tough but fair cop.  Meschach Taylor has a small role as a hotel detective.  If the name isn’t familiar, he’s the Emmy-nominated co-star of Designing Women (Hint: he’s the one who isn’t one of the women).  And there’s Todd Field as a sketchy bellhop.  He may be the only one in this whole shebang actually relevant to the blog as he later received two Oscar nominations for the screenplays to In the Bedroom and Little Children, both of which he also directed.

Fun Facts: As I alluded to above, the film was written and directed by Susanna Hoffs’s mother.  But she’s not the only director in the family.  Hoffs is married to Jay Roach, director of the Austin Powers films, the first two Meet the Parents movies, and Recount.

DeDee Pfeiffer is Michelle’s younger sister.

If you are a TV buff, you may be familiar with the work of co-star John Terlesky as he’s directed episodes of Boston Legal, Ugly Betty, Castle, and about a dozen other shows.

The Allnighter was, by all accounts, a box office bomb, ending up making about $2.5 million dollars after opening in just under 1,000 theaters on May 1, 1987, and essentially killing Susanna Hoffs acting career.  But it wasn’t even the biggest flop that month, as Ishtar opened two weeks later.

Quotes: “A babe in the kitchen is worth two on the beach.”

July 2011
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