The Night Before (1988) was long before The Matrix, and long before Keanu’s vacant-but-eager gaze started to get on our nerves just a little.
He always had the ability to present “an empty vessel” through which a film could flow, and this early starring role gives us a chance to fully appreciate this zen form of talent.
Never heard of “The Night Before”? Check it out. Sure, it is the trifling 80’s picture you expect. But don’t watch this movie for it’s 80s-ness, or Lori Loughlin, or for Reeve’s triumphant method performance of “Naive Kid” – watch it for the music.
There are plenty of movies peppered with George Clinton tunes, but this one brings us more than the expected “Tear the Roof Off” to let-us-know-white-boy-is-out-of-his-element.
This has P-Funk you won’t find outside the movie. There are some truly well-chosen tunes throughout it, and the soundtrack becomes impressive as Reeves gets chased around downtown.
I first discovered the Mar-Keys “Last Night,” when I watched this at midnight as a kid.
That was before the internet, too. There is something to be said for the elusive nature of a new and wondrous song when you can’t listen to it just because you want to. I had to figure out what it was from the credits, and track down vinyl from the library.
Your library might not have this saxophone/keyboard goodtime odyssey on vinyl anymore, so here it is: