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I never knew that Al Pacino told Sidney Lumet, before the filming of "Dog Day Afternoon" began, that he was too exhausted and depressed to take the role - he had just finished filming "The Godfather Part II." Lumet accepted his decision, and offered the part to Dustin Hoffman, whom Pacino considered to be "his rival" - and that was enough for Pacino to secrete enough adrenaline to do the part after all. Funny - while I think of Pacino and Hoffman as "contemporaries," I've never once thought of them as "rivals." I wonder if Lumet knew what he was doing, psychologically, when he made this move. Who knew? When Sonny was being interviewed by the television statement, and he dropped the F-bomb, they (apparently on a several-second delay), cut to the Looney Tunes theme song - now, *that* was funny. I had no idea that I hadn't seen this film before, but I hadn't. It's a fascinating movie - I thought after fifteen minutes it would be a real stinker (completely failed bank robbery - yawn), but then it started to get interesting, and Sonny started to acquire a Rambo-type of popularity with the general population, acquiring a folk-hero-like following, and there was still almost ninety minutes remaining. You know what? This movie is appropriate for these times (just as I'm sure other people have said about other times). People are so damned miserable that they view Sonny as a hero for their own crummy lives.
If you and your S.O. are ever sitting around one night, too tired to watch anything challenging, not wanting to go to sleep just yet, and talking about what to watch that's fun but not too mentally taxing (and this situation seems to happen fairly often), then "Fright Night" is the *perfect* answer to all your movie needs. I have no idea why, but I've watched "Fright Night" about three times now, and I always enjoy it as a fun, sometimes funny, sometimes mildly thrilling, piece of mindless entertainment with surprisingly good acting, plot, and special effects - a movie that you can pay 75%-attention to, and still not miss a thing, and yet, won't be a waste of your time at all. The film that immediately comes to mind when I try and think of a "comparable" is "Arachnaphobia" (1990), another fun, semi-mindless, but not-at-all-worthless piece of entertainment. Chris Sarandon (who met his wife Susan Sarandon at Catholic University) is *perfect* as Jerry Dandridge, the "vampire" - he's extremely handsome, charming, funny, and this part seems like it was literally made with him in mind. The other three major roles: the teen couple Charley Brewster (William Ragsdale) and Amy Peterson (Amanda Bearse), and "vampire killer" Peter Vincent (Roddy McDowall) are very well-acted, and then there's the sleeper of the film, the supporting role of "Evil Ed" (Stephen Geoffreys, who would surprisingly go on to dabble in porn), is brilliantly acted. All five of these actors are strong, and the special effects are worth a special mention. This movie is just plain mindless fun, and of high-enough quality so that you won't feel you're wasting your time by watching it. Do not hesitate to rent it. Think of "Total Recall" (1990) as another comparable, although that's more of a mind-fuck, and requires perhaps 10% more brainpower in order to figure out what on earth just happened.