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Five Great Films Set Over The Course of a Night

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One of my current favorite directors Richard Linklater has currently released his spiritual sequel to his hit 1993 film “Dazed and Confused” entitled “Everybody Wants Some!!”, another drama comedy about a group of young people trying to survive the seventies. After his heavy and meaningful “Boyhood,” it’s nice to see Linklater coming back to a breezier departure that promises to be just as raucous and funny as its predecessor “Dazed and Confused.” Since I’m excited for “Everybody Wants Some!!” and consider “Dazed and Confused” a favorite of mine, I thought I’d list five great films that unfold over the course of a single night much like “Dazed and Confused” does. What are some of your favorites?

Fun Size (2012)
Sue me but I really enjoy “Fun Size” mainly because it’s set during Halloween. How many of these over night adventure films are set during Halloween and have almost nothing to do with horror? Victoria Justice is gorgeous and entertaining as older sister Wren who spends her Halloween night looking for her little brother. During a mishap while trick or treating he drifts away from his sister and ends up finding his own series of adventures. This involves partying with hot cosplayers, and tormenting a local neighbor with other trick or treaters. Chelsea Handler is also entertaining as Wren’s mother who spends her night trying to keep up with her young boyfriend and realizing it’s best to embrace her age. In the end “Fun Size” is entertaining and has a big heart behind it.

Superbad (2007)
The very definition of a party movie, Greg Mottola’s hilarious comedy is set on classmates and best friends Seth and Evan, both of whom are about to part ways as high school is finally coming to an end. Deciding to pursue the girls of their dreams, they attempt to find a way to buy some liquor, all of which proves increasingly difficult. Over the course of a night they run across drug dealers, violent hobos, irresponsible beat cops, and a liquor store robbery. The comedy is filled with a slew of memorable performances (to name a few) by Jonah Hill, Bill Hader, and Emma Stone respectively. “Superbad” was the launch pad for various film careers, but is also brutally funny and filled with rewatch value.

Return of the Living Dead (1985)
Dan O’Bannon’s horror comedy is one of a kind and a consistently watchable zombie movie that completely rethinks the zombie movie as a whole and ends up being one of the greatest horror films of its decade, and perhaps of all time. Set over the course of a single night, two bumbling foreman working for a supply warehouse poke their heads where they don’t belong, unleashing a horrible chemical known as Trioxin which can re-animate anything that once lived. Meanwhile a group of partiers and punks decide to crash the local cemetery for the night. As Trioxin is unleashed along the surrounding area, the dead rise from their graves craving fresh human brains, and causing the hapless teens to fight for survival. Fast paced, creepy, and funny, O’Bannon’s film is timeless.

After Hours (1985)
Martin Scorsese’s criminally underrated dark comedy is like a bad dream, especially one of my worst nightmares. Paul Hackett is a workaday word processor who meets a lovely woman in a restaurant. When she invites him to visit her downtown at her flat, he ends up in a string of really nasty, extraordinary and nightmarish scenarios. First his only twenty dollar bill blows out of his moving taxi, then he ends up meeting the wacky and weird roommate of the women he went to visit, then the subway is closed down, and no matter what Paul does, he just can’t seem to find his way home. And no matter who he turns to for help, he inevitably becomes a party to a weird, demented, or violent circumstance that leaves him fleeing for his life, just trying to find a simple path back to his home. It’s a well made, fun and unusual film that really drops viewers in to an insane premise.

Dazed and Confused (1993)
One of the generation defining films of the nineties decade, Richard Linklater’s drama comedy is up there with “Breakfast Club,” and “American Graffiti” chronicling one summer night in the lives of a large class of high schoolers celebrating the end of their school year. As some prepare to move forward, others are experiencing new relationships, encountering various obstacles, and getting in to all kinds of mishaps that keeps the tone light but very entertaining. Linklater compiles an ensemble cast of up and comers, many of whom went on to be humongous stars, and tells a simple yet effective tale about seizing the moment and celebrating youth before adulthood and responsibility rear their heads.