Into the Night [1985]

While caught up in the scandal resulting from the accident on the set of The Twilight Zone movie that killed actor Vic Morrow and two children, director John Landis (An American Werewolf in London) made this manic nighttime L.A. thriller with rising stars Jeff Goldblum and Michelle Pfeiffer. Goldblum plays an office worker with a dead-end job, an unfaithful wife, and a bad, bad case of insomnia. Unable to sleep, his midnight wanderings take him to the L.A. airport, where beautiful jewel smuggler Pfeiffer literally lands on his car. Fleeing Iranian terrorists (one is played by Landis), the two hit the road, and their adventures lead them to murder, mayhem, one scary hit man (David Bowie in a lurid, terrific cameo), and, of course, romance. Perhaps because of--or in spite of--the turmoil going on in his life, Landis fashioned a film unlike any of his previous (or later) safe Hollywood products; this is inventive, darkly comic, sincerely romantic, and L.A.-style sultry all the way. Landis's greatest success is perhaps in the mood of the film: he manages to convey that weary, dreamlike insomnia feeling of adrenaline bordering on exhaustion. Goldblum is at his deadpan best and, despite a bad haircut and '80s wardrobe, Pfeiffer shows the spark and beauty that would later make her a star. In support of Landis during his time of trouble, numerous directors, including David Cronenberg, Paul Mazursky, Don Siegel, Jonathan Demme, Lawrence Kasdan, and Jim Henson, made cameo appearances. --Mark Englehart

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