“Enough with the movie references! You think it’s funny and witty and it isn’t! It’s stupid!” This an actual quote from the movie. It’s just too bad that director Kanefsky couldn’t follow his character’s advice. So loaded is this film with cute little movie references and jokes that you can practically hear the director giggling to himself off camera because he’s so damn clever. Gag me!
“Tomorrow By Midnight” locks us in a video store with a group of film smart college kids who decide to take it over, holding the frightened clerk (Arquette) hostage with a gun loaded with blanks, so that they can have a little in-store viewing of “Clockwork Orange.” After the clerk realizes that their weapon is harmless, he pulls out a loaded gun from the back of the store and turns the tables on his would-be kidnappers. Thing is, the cops are outside now and the clerk has to figure out a way to explain why he shot one of his kidnappers in the leg when he knew that they had an unloaded weapon. The in-store violence escalates and a bloodbath ensues.
This film flips back and forth from being a bratty “Clerks”-type movie to a commentary about how violence in the media incites true life violence. “Where do movies end and where does real life begin? Are we what we watch?” – goes a line in the film. I’m not even going to get into the argument about whether film violence promotes real violence or not. Anyone with half a brain can figure that one out for themselves. And I sure as hell hope that this is Kanefsky’s way of exploiting this retarded debate rather than making an actual statement against violence in movies because the director of “There’s Nothing Out There” should know better.
Whatever it is, it’s definitely a knock against film geek culture and how people can lose touch with reality as they decide to hide away inside a filmic world. These annoying characters can’t do a single thing without referencing the situation to a movie – even when the s**t is hitting the fan, they’re still jabbering about frickin’ movies. I guess this is Kanefsky’s point about how reality has slipped away from these guys, but damn is it irritating to sit through. I like movie and pop culture references. Hell, I like the way Kevin Smith uses them. But this movie just goes way overboard. It kinda makes you never want to watch a movie again…especially this one.
See that little star at the top of the review next to the sickly looking Film Threat mascot? That star is for Alexis Arquette. His performance as the flipped out video store clerk is quite entertaining and it’s one of the things that got me through the viewing. The other thing was my burning desire to see all of the characters wiped out in a brutal fashion. Oops! Now I’ve done it. It must be my steady diet of violent films that has made me say this awful thing. I am a menace to society and I should have the door of my apartment boarded up so I may never leave to harm others. Give me a break!