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After Hours (1985), Martin Scorsese, A-

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Wednesday, May 23rd, 2007


This one really floored me as a kid. I taped it off of HBO and watched it 100 times. Seeing it again after all these years I was amazed at a) how much of it I remembered and b) how the comedy was, at times, more subtle than I knew back then. As a story, yes, it is a little thin. But as an excersize in nightmare-logic paranoia it has few equals. Griffin Dunne shoulda been a bigger star. (I met him once, he was nice and had a very loud voice.) It’s a trip to see the mythologized SoHo of the 1980s. I know enough to know it was never really like that, but when I was a kid I thought it might’ve. When I moved here in 1992 I caught just the tail tail tail end of this scene and I remember nights thinking “Wow, this loft/club/diner/empty block is just like After Hours!” You can’t do that at all anymore, so, I guess, in a way I am lucky.

*note — The DVD features Deleted Scenes. I always watch the Deleted Scenes and I always say, “yeah, I see why that is a deleted scene.” That’s the case here, as well, except for one little scene which may be funnier than anything in the finished picture. It’s a little exchange between Dunne and Catherine O’Hara. . .just a moment for Catherine to flip out and scream and yell and act insane. It does nothing to advance the plot, and, at this point in the story, as things are winding up and the stakes are raised it probably woulda slammed the breaks on everything. Plus it would kinda diminish her surprising nutsy-ness up in her apartment. So I see why it was cut. But! If you know anything about Catherine O’Hara you know that nobody does freak-out like her. When her pretty/tough girl with the ice cream truck belts out “Go home or sit on my FACE!” it is like a cold slap in the face. Hilarious. And worth the rental in itself.


  1. I agree. I saw it for the first time this weekend and I was floored! It is rare that I sit in my room, sober, yelling at the characters on the screen. I wish Scorcese would go back to his roots and do more film like this. It was very Lynch without all the dream dialogue and uppity dialogue…

    Comment by ralph pulner — May 23, 2007 @ 1:02 pm

  2. i hope i’m not the only one who quotes “go home or sit on my face!” to people.

    their reactions are sometimes as hilarious as the line itself.

    Comment by lisa — May 24, 2007 @ 12:07 am

  3. [...] This movie’s got everything. A potty-mouthed grandma, visual puns, a musical number, asides to the camera, animal gags, non-sequiturs, snappy costumes Griffin Dunne. . .what in the world more could you ever want? It does, alas, have Joe Piscopo — the least funny person in the entire known Universe. Every time he’s on screen he sucks the energy right out of the room, ruining perfectly good lines, making you cringe from his horribleness. He’s worse than Zeppo Marx, seriously. However, this can, in a way, be fun to watch, so, if you are a giving person, this is only another plus for the film. [...]

    Pingback by Jordan Hoffman Dot Com » Johnny Dangerously (1984), Amy Heckerling, A — May 24, 2007 @ 9:23 pm

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