Ten Great Morning After Films

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In Todd Phillips's new comedy 'The Hangover', three men wake up after a drunken bender in Vegas with no idea what happened to them. In that spirit, Time Out pops a couple of Nurofen and lists some of the other great 'morning after' movies...

The Morning After (1986)

Director: Sidney LumetCharacter: Jane Fonda’s alcoholic former D-list actress Alex Sternbergen.Before: Like a side player from an especially grisly Charles Bukowski story, Fonda spends her days trawling the crimson parlours and back-alley drinking dens of east LA.
The big night:
A three-day bender in a succession of seedy neon rat-traps.Aftermath: Alex wakes up with a righteous hangover and the bloody corpse of last night’s drunken conquest lying next to her with a kitchen knife in his back. But did she plunge the blade in during some boozy tiff, or is this a set-up?

Dumbo (1941)

Director: Ben SharpsteenCharacter: A Deep South circus elephant with outsize ears.

Before: Dumbo is traumatised after seeing his mother locked up in the circus nuthatch, so he drowns his sorrows in the nearest giant vat of noxious fluids.
The big night:
Just your usual psychedelic animated jazz-trumpet pink-elephant phantasmagoria.
Aftermath:
When you wake up in a tree with a quintet of sass-talkin’ crows, you know you've had a good night. Interestingly, said crows have proved controversial ever since: a crude stereotype of street slang, or a rare chance to see confident, independently minded black characters in pre-civil rights cinema?

California Man (1992)

Director: Les MayfieldCharacter: Link (Brendan Fraser) is the cryogenically frozen caveman turned quintessential Hollywood surfer jag-off.Before: Caveman Link is merrily discovering fire with one of his fellow troglodytesThe big night: A sudden earthquake traps Link in a mountain of rubble and – instead of dying in agony – he is frozen in time.
Aftermath: Two-man high school dweeb unit Pauly Shore and Sean Astin start digging a swimming pool in the back yard of their LA homestead, and, lo and behold, they locate a big block of ice containing Brendan Fraser. The usual gnarly pratfalls ensue. Released in the US as ‘Encino Man’ and later remade as ‘Blast from the Past’.

Memento (2000)

Director: Christopher NolanCharacter: Guy Pearce’s seriously forgetful Lenny.Before: Lenny was an insurance man before a savage attack left him with short-term memory loss.The big night: Tricky to recall as Lenny can only remember events that happened during the last 15 minutes.Aftermath: Lenny’s perennial morning-after feeling leaves him highly susceptible to all manner of suggestion and deception from his duplicitous chum Joe Pantoliano. Whether this is a gift or a curse, however, you, the viewer, must decide.

Sullivan's Travels (1941)

Director: Preston SturgesCharacter: John L Sullivan is a filmmaker and aspiring artist.

Before:
Sullivan is seeking ‘The Real America’ as research for his movie ‘O Brother, Where Art Thou?’ and decides to hand out free cash to the homeless.The big night: Unsurprisingly, Sullivan gets lamped by a member of said rabble, who pinches his money and shoes, and is then flattened by a train.

Aftermath:
Bleary, booze-soaked and presumed dead, Sullivan is banged up in an internment camp, where he finally gets to grips with those elusive ‘real’ Americans, and finds out they’re big Pluto the Dog fans.

Amateur (1994)

Director: Hal HartleyCharacter: Martin Donovan’s slick-suited, sharp-tongued drifter Thomas LudensBefore: The ‘before’ is the whole point of the film, and so cannot be uttered here without a spoiler alert. Sorry.The big night: We open on the amnesiac Ludens being rescued from the street by ex-nun-turned-erotic-author, Isabelle Huppert.

Aftermath:
Ludens slowly begins to piece together his unsavoury past after a period consorting with all manner of oddball characters, including Elina Löwensohn’s goth porno actress, Damian Young’s lanky, shock-haired accountant and a group of corporate types not averse to using electricity to spark stock tips out of their clients. Think ‘A History of Violence’ meets ‘Wall Street’... 

Sleeper (1973)

Director: Woody AllenCharacter: New York jazz musician and health-food nut Miles Monroe (Allen).
Before:
Miles is at the top of his game - bebopping and scatting around Manhattan.
The big night:
A routine hospital procedure sees Miles frozen in suspended animation for 200 years.Aftermath: An unremitting round of broad slapstick mayhem based around spoofs of myriad sci-fi staples as Miles goes on the run with - yes, you guessed it – Diane Keaton in loopy mode.

Barton Fink (1991)

Directors: Joel & Ethan CoenCharacter: Bespectacled would-be voice of the people, Barton Fink (John Turturro).Before: Heading for Hollywood to make his fortune, lauded playwright Fink is charged with writing the next script for popular man-mountain pugilist Wallace Beery.
The big night:
Unable to connect with his inner proletarian, Barton turns to boozy doll and proven wordsmith Audrey (Judy Davis) for assistance and offscreen physical comfort.Aftermath: In perhaps the most disturbing morning-after scene of all, Barton flattens a mosquito on Audrey’s sleeping back, only for her to roll over and reveal an ocean of blood. Has Barton polished her off in a fit of nerdy New York pique? Or is it the raging psychopath down the hall?

Dude, Where's My Car? (2000)

Director: Danny LeinerCharacters: Slack-jawed bong freaks, Jesse (Aston Kutcher) and Chester (Seann William Scott)
Before:
Perpetual hardscrabble middle-rung idiocy, we assume. The big night: The biggest, loudest, gaudiest bender imaginable, involving semi-clad dancing girls, velour tracksuits, a Limo ride down the Sunset Strip and enough booze, fags and mild narcotics to fill three flatbed trucks.
Aftermath:
Waking up in their disgusting hovel with no recollection of the night before, the pair walk out on to the street and utter that immortal line: ‘Dude, where’s my car?’ UFO cultists, Cantonese tailors, transsexual strippers and a cloistered ostrich farmer all figure in their quest to locate the whereabouts of their clapped-out Renault 5.

Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987)

Director: John HughesCharacters: Neal Page (Steve Martin) and Del Griffith (John Candy) as odd-couple travelling companions.Before: Fated to travel home together for Thanksgiving, an uptight exec and a loveable schlubb have to share a motel room…The Big Night: Two guys; one bed; no room for error.Aftermath: All warm and toasty in bed, it takes a good while for these two sleepyheads to realise that Candy’s hand is lodged, not between two pillows, but in the crack of Martin’s ass. Cue histrionics, followed by mucho macho talk about sport and general manliness.

Author: Adam Lee Davies, David Jenkins, Tom Huddleston



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