Movies + TV

The Late Shows

Programming to keep you company in the wee hours.

Cracks (2009)
Half of me bleeds Picnic at Hanging Rock and the other half Suspiria, therefore I love Cracks. We will forgive the title (not as bad as, say…Gigli), for that, dear reader, is the only flaw! This movie is BEAUTIFUL. The setting is an elite British boarding school for girls. What more can I say? Fairy-tale landscapes, love triangles, poetry, magic, semi-restrained histrionics, and bullying, all of which is puppeteered by the girls’ enigmatic diving instructor, Miss G. Everyone is stunning, and the costumes are splendid. You will have key pieces for your wardrobe figured out by the end credits (I especially loved the colorful silk head scarves tied in big side bows, flapper style). But aside from fashion, there’s plenty to mull over in Cracks. Existential things like: why do humans do the things we do? —Sonja

Night of the Living Dead (1968)
Staying up all night to battle zombies is probably not very fun. However, staying up all night to watch other people battle zombies is most definitely awesome! And if you are planning a zombie movie marathon or simply trying to get your zombie fix while The Walking Dead is on midseason break, you must start with George A. Romero’s late-’60s classic, Night of the Living Dead. It’s shot in black-and-white (I do not recommend the colorized versions) and has all of those old-movie charms like the loud eerie music that totally clues you in that something scary and awful is about to happen. Though it’s not Shaun of the Dead funny, it’s more cheesy than 28 Days Later scary because it’s so dated. You’ll probably want to slap the protagonist Barbra, who escapes a zombie attack and spends the rest of the movie alternating between catatonia and hysteria. But you’ll still thoroughly enjoy the film if you embrace the cheese and revel in the old-school zombie awesomeness. They’re slow-moving but crafty! Radiation from outer space is to blame! And there’s organ eating! Even though they movie’s not in color, it’s still pretty gross, and caused a lot of controversy when it first came out because there was no rating system, so kids went to see it and were traumatized. I’m not sure what all the fuss was about since my dad showed me this movie when I was 10 and I turned out perfectly normal… —Stephanie

Party Monster (2003)
Everything about this movie screams bad influence: sex, drugs, murder, Marilyn Manson cameo, flagrant sexual ambiguity. The first time I watched it was at a sleepover, and two of the other girls ended up getting picked up by their parents because they were “uncomfortable.” Shock value aside, though, this is a good movie. It tells the story of the murder of a drug dealer in the late-’80s/early-’90s New York club scene. Party Monster creates a fantasy world so detailed and convincing that you’ll find yourself staying up all night on the internet researching the real case to find out what’s true and what’s not (spoiler: most of it is, horrifyingly, true). Macaulay Caulkin is spot-on as club kid Michael Alig; and Chloe Sevigny nails the part of his girlfriend, Gitsie, and looks so, so glamorous while doing it. What’s more, Party Monster’s costumes make Lady Gaga look like she shops at Talbots. The glitter budget for this movie must have been huge. —Jamie

Up All Night
Thursdays, 9:30 PM, NBC

The best thing about this awesome show, which stars Christina Applegate and Will Arnett as a couple adjusting to life with a new baby, is the fact that Reagan (Applegate) and Chris (Arnett) are both cool, intelligent, funny people that don’t make me want to kill myself or shoot the TV. You know how usually in TV sitcoms the mom stays at home and the dad is a total idiot who can barely tie his shoelaces and is all “I know you’re a liberated woman but WHERE’S MAH DINNER?”? Well, this show is totally not that. Reagan is a producer for her friend’s talk show, Ava, a kinda Oprah-esque situation hosted by the always magical Maya Rudolph, while Chris leaves his high-powered lawyer job to be a stay-at-home dad. That’s right. Stay-at-home DAD. And like, there’s no weird gay jokes about it or Who’s the Boss?-type situations either. It’s just normal. And normalcy being the salient trait of a couple whose first kiss was at a Tenacious D concert fills me with joy and restores my faith in humanity and in the future. After you’ve been laughing at this show for half an hour, you’re left with warm and fuzzy feelings inside that make you love the world. (And also butterflies in my stomach anytime Arnett is on TV). This show rules! You can even watch it with your parents without being embarrassed, and that counts for A LOT. —Laia

Dazed and Confused (1993)
Watching this movie will cause you to make an epic ’70s rock playlist and hit up your local thrift store in search of bellbottoms and puka shell necklaces. I rewatch it regularly because it’s one of those comedies that work like comfort food when you’re sick. I saw it for the first time my freshman year of high school and actually sort of wished that I’d been hazed by the seniors. Sure, that would mean that an evil young Parker Posey would be covering me with condiments and yelling at me to fry like bacon on the asphalt—or, if I was a guy, I’d be chased down by a young Ben Affleck, whose character, according to rumor, had flunked just so he could paddle incoming freshman again—but after the humiliation was over, one of the cooler seniors like Jason London (who plays the only football player I’ve ever sort of related to, Randall “Pink” Floyd) might invite me to the ultimate kegger in the woods, where I might get out to make out with the adorable stoner Slater, who provided the blueprint for all of my early high school crushes. Oh, and thank you, Matthew McConaughey, for your performance of the line “That’s what I love about these high school girls, man—I get older, they stay the same age” taught me to avoid the creepy older dude at the party. —Stephanie

American Graffiti (1973)
Drag racing and drive-ins frame this classic coming-of-age story about teenagers cruising the main strip of their Northern California town. Released in 1973 but set in 1962, director George Lucas (pre-Star Wars) beautifully captures the look (the cars are, indeed, “bitchin’”), the sound (songs by artists like Frankie Lymon, the Platters, Fats Domino, and the Beach Boys are used throughout) and the innocence of the era (young girls hop into cars with guys they don’t even know!), as well as the magic that seems to hover in the air when you’re in high school, aimlessly driving around with your crew at night. Richard Dreyfuss and Ron Howard—both staggeringly young—play best friends, preparing to leave for college. Dreyfuss’s character, Curt, spends his last night in town searching for a blonde goddess in a T-Bird, while Howard’s character, Steve, tries to patch things up with his girlfriend after telling her that they should see other people while he’s away. American Graffiti is just one of those movies that everyone needs to watch—if not for its historical significance or low-key awesomeness then definitely to witness the adorably naïf performance of a young Harrison Ford as a cowboy-hat-wearing drag racer. —Amber

Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist (2008)
I am pretty sure I saw this on a plane. I would be surprised if I rented it. I saw so many movies with Michael Cera in them, they all began to run together, as if 2008 was just a long montage of his nervous virgin hands fluttering in the air like puppet birds and the affections of too-hot girls that he loved/hated/had impregnated passed him like a teenage ship in the mixtape night. I remember I was surprised that I liked it, and that the chaos of being in a band was fairly well-represented. There may also be a scene with funny puking where I may have LOL’d. I would watch it again if it was on TV or if I was at someone’s house. Kat Dennings is always good at what she is doing. —Jessica
I thought it would be like a two-hour Converse ad, and sometimes it is, but it’s also amazingly romantic and fun and has Kat Dennings and Michael Cera at their very cutest and most charming. Plus there are some of the funniest drunk/puking scenes in movie history. Nick & Norah mimics perfectly that wandery, hopeful feeling of a really really long night spent searching for something—you don’t know what’s going to happen, and it gets boring sometimes, but then it gets fun again, and because it’s a movie, the thing you secretly hoped would happen, does. Is that too much of a spoiler? This is a romantic comedy, so you knew they’d get together, right? But what they bond over is the music they love, and that’s pretty great. If you’ve ever lived in NYC, it’s fun to spot all the places you’ve hung out with your friends. Pretend that the embarrassing subplot about how Kat Dennings has never had an orgasm didn’t happen. —Anaheed

Go (1999)
Ronna, facing eviction, is willing to do whatever it takes to pay her rent; Simon is headed to Las Vegas with the credit card he swiped from a drug dealer; and Adam and Zack, two fidgety soap opera stars, are looking to buy some ecstasy. Go takes place over the course of one wild 24-hour period, and its three interconnected stories unfold at a thrilling pace. This movie is darkly hilarious, and the way it plays with time is genuinely cool. There’s also a young, Dawson’s Creek-era Katie Holmes and a cat with the ability to read minds (sort of), and if you pay close attention you might just see Cindy Sanders from Freaks and Geeks. —Amber

Rock ’n’ Roll High School (1979)
At this high school (where the students RULE), they love rock ’n’ roll so much that the teachers keep having nervous breakdowns and quitting…that is, till the iron lady Miss Togar shows up! It’s fun and silly and begs for audience participation like, say, a food-fight-dance-a-thon-while-pulling-an-all-nighter? And it’s got P.J. Soles from Carrie! And then there’s the soundtrack! It starts off with a rare Paul McCartney/Wings song and proceeds with Todd Rundgren, Fleetwood Mac, and beeeeeeeyond. Oh, and of course, the Ramones (who, by the way, aren’t even brothers). —Sonja

200 Cigarettes (1999)
I used to watch movie one over and over again when I was in high school. I mean, I’d finish it and then immediately rewatch it. And that was in the VCR days, so I’d actually have to rewind the cassette—how’s that for dedication? Set on New Year’s Eve, 1981, 200 Cigarettes follows several young revelers as they roam the streets of Manhattan’s East Village, looking for romance. These young hopefuls include Paul Rudd, Courtney Love, Janeane Garofalo, Kate Hudson, Dave Chappelle, Christina Ricci, Gaby Hoffmann, the brothers Affleck, and ELVIS COSTELLO. When I was younger, I was attracted to this comedy because of the amazing cast, but now I have a much greater appreciation for the dialogue—the back and forth between Love and Rudd is particularly smart—as well as how perfectly, and often hilariously, it captures the disparity between our expectations for a given evening and how things actually play out. —Amber

Skins (UK)
E4 (2007–now)

Last month, a friend of mine came to visit and brought the first four seasons of Skins (the British version) with her. We went through all of them in two weeks. The show follows various groups of teenagers through their last two years of college (like junior and senior year of American high school). There’s a lot of sex, drugs, and drinking, but whether or not you’ve led a hard-partying lifestyle, the characters will suck you in, and many of the issues that they deal with—from understanding your own sexuality and coming out to struggles with anorexia and mental health—are rarely portrayed with such honesty and emotion. I found characters like Cassie and Effy immediately fascinating because in all my book-reading and TV-viewing, I’ve never met anyone like them (especially the kooky, adorable Cassie). Then there were kids like Sid and Chris, who despite some poor decision-making clearly have good hearts and I couldn’t help rooting for and weeping over during some incredible storylines about family and grief. But the true sign that Skins is a well-crafted show is that I also came to care about characters I didn’t like at first—and to a degree still don’t—such as Tony and Cook. The one thing I will warn you about is almost the entire cast are replaced every two seasons, which I found jarring, as I got really invested in the first group and haven’t been quite so into subsequent casts. But once you are hooked on Skins, you’re hooked, so even though it means meeting another new group of people, I’ll definitely be watching season five ASAP, in preparation for the upcoming sixth season of this awesome show. —Stephanie

After Hours (1985)
Back in the mid-’80s, when I was in high school, I went on a bad date to see this weird Martin Scorsese comedy experiment at the local art-house theater. I didn’t like the boy and said yes only because I was flattered (I don’t think anyone had asked me on a proper date before) and because the boy in question was one of two dudes in my high school with a New Wave haircut. I spent the whole time blocking him from groping my boob (he actually did that whole pretend-he’s-yawning-to-reach-his-arm-over-my-shoulder move in real life), so since that repulsive eve this film has had bad associations for me. But when I rewatched it last night without an aspiring boob-toucher at my side, I found it endearingly goofy and pretentious as only an art-house film about “downtown New York” from 1985 can be. The casually corrupt main character, Paul, is as much of a cad as my high school date, but Rosanna Arquette is great as an early example of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl, and is Catherine O’Hara (the mom from Beetlejuice) ever not glorious? The story takes place over the course of one night that becomes a swirling nightmare where EVERYTHING goes wrong in a way that makes you go AAAAAAAAAAH! and NOOOOOOOOO! and bite your nails clean off. Soundtrack has Joni Mitchell and Bad Brains and Peggy Lee. —Anaheed

41 Comments

  • witch-season January 19th, 2012 11:12 PM

    Oh God! Slater was also my first High School crush! Rock and Roll High School also an old time fave! But S L A T ERRR!

  • fairy_grrrl January 19th, 2012 11:20 PM

    I watched all the episodes of Up All Night over winter break–it’s so funny and really refreshing from all of the other nuclear family sit-coms that never seem to die :)

  • cherrycola27 January 19th, 2012 11:25 PM

    I love Up All Night! Will Arnett…oh man. His voice is suuuuper sexy. And so is he. ;)
    I was JUST thinking about Nick and Nora’s today when he says “will you pretend to be my girlfriend for five minutes” or whatever. Although that may have just been the book, I can’t remember.
    And Skins is like a UK version of Degrassi! I only watched one season, then I kind of realized how ridiculously dramatic it was. Not that it’s not good! Nicholas Hoult is also nice to look at.

  • Maggie January 19th, 2012 11:28 PM

    We had to watch After Hours at FILM SCHOOL. It’s a great example of a movie where at first the guy seems kind of drippy and has a weird face, but somehow by the end he’s really cute!

  • Kailey January 19th, 2012 11:34 PM

    Sonja wins the internet for including Cracks! The cast and setting is so incredible and E V A G R E E N.

  • teen goth January 19th, 2012 11:54 PM

    Dazed and Confused is the BEST. And I have nothing bad to say about Matthew Mcconaughey because he can work salmoned colored pants like no other man can.

  • rebecca January 19th, 2012 11:56 PM

    during this celebration of film, i feel it only appropriate we mourn the sudden tragic death of megavideo today. life will not be the same without it, plus i honestly don’t think i’ll get any work done without 54-minute waiting period that forced me to be productive. it’s like megavideo knew me better than i knew myself.
    so long, old friend. you will be missed.

  • ZodiBabe January 20th, 2012 12:16 AM

    Cracks is sooooo good. but Mallrats yall. Mallrats.

  • Petra January 20th, 2012 12:44 AM

    ugh i LOVE after hours

  • darksideoftherainbow January 20th, 2012 12:47 AM

    omg….yes to EVERYTHING here?! how is that possible? btw, cracks. oh my goodness. the movie’s beauty has inspired me so much. it’s so gorgeous. ms. g is perfect which is to say, eva green plays her to perfection. it captures so much of what it is to be young and grow up but also shows how, along the way, you are influenced by other people, especially those you admire. the obsession is amazing because they are so secluded. beautiful movie and excellent pick for this!

    • Chimdi January 20th, 2012 2:45 AM

      Yes, Cracks is very aesthetically pleasing (as is the trailer for Moonrise Kingdom omg {sorry I’m so excited the trailer is unbearably cute and has gorgeous lighting and color schemes}).
      Now I’m convinced that I want to learn how to dive!

      • darksideoftherainbow January 20th, 2012 11:30 AM

        i want to live in a wes anderson world

  • darksideoftherainbow January 20th, 2012 12:50 AM

    sorry for posting twice!!! but while we are on the subject of kat dennings…can i please suggest daydream nation? that whole movie seems like a high school dream. it’s insane and still believable at the same time…

  • Sonja January 20th, 2012 1:33 AM

    ex-squeeze me? DEATH OF MEGAVIDEO???? wazzat? ok can i suggest TUBE PLUS as an alternative?..i was able to watch the latest AB FABS there…also can i suggest that Anaheed review more movies? Thanks. Yah. and then AFTER HOURS is so good. i named my frkn 90s BAND after one of the characters in it. Linda Fiorentino playing KIKI BRIDGES (90s band name. ok)the dominatrix sculptress: bagels n cream cheese paperweights by day and tortured papier-mache humansize ‘the scream’ sculptures by night…

    and UP ALL NIGHT is egg-cellent
    and Dazed and Confused will make you want a muscle car and…yes. I love moving pictures. night night!
    xoxoxo

  • Susann January 20th, 2012 1:39 AM

    I haven’t seen any out of those – seems like there’s a lot to catch up with!

  • LittleMoon January 20th, 2012 1:44 AM

    I loooooove Skins. Although I could never watch around the parents. That was a bit awkward.

  • me.aswellasmysara January 20th, 2012 2:38 AM

    Holy. Cracks looks so good. Can’t believe I’ve never heard of it before! I have to say, just from reading your description, it sounds quite a bit like ‘The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie’ – which is a book that takes place in a Scottish all-girls school, and it too has a teacher with unorthodox, libertine teaching methods, who grows unnervingly attached to her students. Obviously, being written in the 20′s or something, there’s no lesbian stuff, but it’s a really good, almost creepy book. No film though :( NOT YET!

    • fatale January 20th, 2012 9:22 PM

      there is a film version of the prime of miss jean brodie! maggie smith is amazeballs in it

    • Ellie January 26th, 2012 11:51 AM

      I READ THAT. I was the only one in my literature class that liked it. :)

  • Chimdi January 20th, 2012 2:42 AM

    I just finished watching Cracks and WHOA! The end was surprising! Reminds me of the only good scene from the book A Tree Grows in Brooklyn…

  • Lascelles January 20th, 2012 3:01 AM

    I just watched Cracks. It is better watched late. A lot of stuff happens at night. I think the author used the word crack because it means so many things; cracks in stories, in doors, in people, etc.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mLyvlYVj8n8
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SZz3FWUqJF0

  • bastet January 20th, 2012 3:55 AM

    party monster is the shit!! i live in nyc and every time i pass the limelight i die a little inside since it’s a shopping mall now and not a badass nightclub

    • Jamie January 20th, 2012 9:51 AM

      it isn’t even a good mall

  • Kate January 20th, 2012 12:40 PM

    Skins is great, but you have to watch the British version. Some scenes are cut when it’s shown in America, like the love scenes between lesbian couple Naomi and Emily.

  • kittenpuke January 20th, 2012 12:42 PM

    party monster is the best ever

  • taste test January 20th, 2012 1:25 PM

    My Movies To Watch Next Summer list is growing to epic proportions. gaaaah.

    Cracks sounds especially awesome, considering it was described as being like two other movies I really want to see. (Especially Suspiria. I don’t usually like horror, but that movie looks like a bizarre gorgeous nightmare and omg I need it.)

  • flowerpunk January 20th, 2012 1:26 PM

    I stumbled upon Cracks one night when there was nothing on TV, and I actually thought it would be terrible, but I fell in love with the whole thing 10 minutes into the movie. Eva Green is my ultimate girl crush, and she is gorgeous in the movie (I want her entire wardrobe!!!) , and so is Juno Temple, I loved her. She plays a good bitch, ha!

  • KayKay January 20th, 2012 2:22 PM

    Watching 200 Cigarettes at the moment … how I love Christina Ricci… been trying to do her New York accent and ended up sounding like I’m from Georgia (The American state, not the ex-Soviet country. And no offense, I used to have a friend from there named Madison).

  • Catie January 20th, 2012 2:26 PM

    I know “make me want to kill myself” was just used for dramatic effect, but- come on, team Rookie.

    That said, it wasn’t mentioned that Anthony Rapp- of Rent fame- plays a dorky dorkster in Dazed and Confused. It is awesome.

    • taste test January 20th, 2012 4:58 PM

      Doesn’t he pretty much play a dork in Rent too? :P Seriously, though, that’s awesome.

  • insteadofanelephant January 20th, 2012 2:45 PM

    i am very sad that only a few of these are on netflix! skins is so so good. i think i watched the first two seasons in like a day and a half.
    XX
    instead of an elephant

  • caro nation January 20th, 2012 5:18 PM

    I saw Rock N’ Roll High School at a very young age, and then descended into a very intense internal Riff Randell impersonation phase, even though I was more of a Kate Rambeau. This was mostly because I wanted to make out with Joey Ramone, even after I found out he had long passed over (I overreacted a TAD), but I still want my room to mimic the aesthetics of that movie.

  • emilyelizabeth January 20th, 2012 5:36 PM

    i started watching Skins uk a few days ago and i have not been able to stop since! i loved loved loved the cast from the first 2 seasons, but i’m not liking the others as much so far…

  • doloroushazy January 20th, 2012 7:55 PM

    But skins is the worst television programme in the word… it’s like some fat midde aged TV producer’s wet dream of what teen life is like and the acting is diabolical.

  • maddzwx January 20th, 2012 10:18 PM

    I love Skins and Nick & Norah ( I also totally agree with Jessica about Micheal Cera movies)! Thanks for the reccomendations.

  • monkeyfoofoo January 21st, 2012 12:36 AM

    look at dee dee ramone eyes’ in rock and roll high school .

  • timelady January 21st, 2012 6:57 AM

    The Ramones! And Dazed and Confused. Pink was one of my first crushes. Good times.

  • erin January 21st, 2012 6:20 PM

    Skins! I love Skins! It’s so horrible, but so wonderful and I just love the characters!
    keepingupwithunstuck.blogspot.com

  • Colleen January 22nd, 2012 1:01 AM

    I’m so glad that people like Skins! I have been watching it for about 2-3 years now, and everyone at my school thinks I’m weird for watching it…I am in love with that show!

    • Jean January 24th, 2012 2:16 AM

      Contrastly, at my school (OK we’re in Scotland but hey) everyone watches and I don’t ….