The 30 Reasons that make Midnighters Your New Favorite Flick
Surprises make me happy. Stumbling through the beginning of March just assuming not much was coming our way until Thoroughbreds later this week, and Ready Player One at the end of the month, but then, out of the blue pops a movie that just came from out of nowhere. And Midnighters is one of those movies that is a low budget wonder – with good writing, super clever twists, decent acting, and just fantasticly well rounded characters that are driven by their pasts, their experiences, and their flaws. I mean, how often do movies develop great characters, wind them up, and let them go? That’s what happens here in Midnighters and the results are surprising from beginning to the end.
If you’ve found your way here by searching the interwebs for Midnighters and you just are wanting to discuss it or learn more – then you are in the right place. Here at THiNC. I love nothing more than finding, dissecting, and dialoguing about different movies than the standard cookie cutter movies that come out of Hollywood so often. So I search high and low for good, interesting, complex or hard to understand movies and we unpack them and figure them out together.
So today’s movie is Midnighters. If you’ve seen it? Stay a while. Pull up a seat, and join us (rejoinder?) in the comments and discuss it with us. If you haven’t seen it… I’m telling you, this movie is worth your 93 minutes. I promise. And I’m never wrong. (Well, there was that one time I backed a dark horse called Alien vs. Predator, but let’s just not talk about that, ok? Great. Thanks for that.) Bottom line, go watch the film, come back, and rejoin away.
The Four Characters of Midnighters
The reason Midnighters is worth while is very very simple. You take four well fleshed out and motivated characters, give them the chance to make a few critical mistakes, and watch the dominos fall, one right after the other. So if these characters are the prime movers of everything that unfolds in this movie, maybe we should take a deeper look at each of them and see what they are all about:
|LINDSAY – Lindsay is privileged. She was raised privileged. And she expected deference. So much so, that she thought she could save anyone that she encounters. Including boyfriends and her deadbeat husband. She is motivated by being the provider, and also saving the day. She says that she wants to help others change, but does she really? Maybe she prefers to be the provider herself, always stepping in to the rescue at the last minute.|
|JEFF – Do you know Uncle Rico from Napoleon Dynamite? Jeff is basically Uncle Rico. A washed up sports has been. Throughout the house, as we wander from room to room, you can see trophies, and memorabilia from his college sports days. And we even go so far as to learn that He choked at the last minute of the last game… “Coach, it’s time to bring in a relief pitcher!!” Yelled Smith to taunt him. Even worse? He spends his days doing nothing. The worst of which was his not finishing the remodel on the house they bought after Lindsay and he got married.|
|HANNAH – Unfortunately, Hannah has lived in the shadow of her sister her entire life. Hannah, as a result, has disappeared off and on, with a number of abusive and deadbeat druggy boyfriends. The worst of which, was Smith. Hannah had only recently reappeared, after going on the run from Smith, after telling Lindsay that Smith had passed away. But that wasn’t what had happened at all.|
|SMITH – All four main characters in this movie are messed up in some way or another. But Smith? Smith is the worst by far. When girlfriends cried, or complained, he desired to strangle them. But he is the most insightful character of them all. He sees Lindsay as the fixer upper. And Smith saw Jeff as the has been sport star trying to relive his glory days. He waxes eloquent about the taste of blood, and might have been a poet, if not for the fact that he was completely deranged.|
The 30 Mistakes Why Midnighters Is Worth Your While
This movie is riddled with mistakes. Not like, errors in the film… no no no. Characters making bad decisions. Mortifyingly horrible mistakes. One right after the other, after the other. Every single character leans on their backstory and on their own motivations to make just a potpourri of screwups to the audience’s consternation and chagrin. And yet, every single one makes sense in the moment. But it’s a downward spiral of insanity that just slips you into the undertow and it just never lets go. Normally, I do a high level walk through of the events of the movie, the what, in order to make sure everyone is on the same page. But instead? This time, I’m going to make a list of the screwups that Lindsay, Jeff, Hannah, and Smith made that perpetuated this madness. Ready? Then let us away!
Screwup #1 – Jeff screwed up by spending the entire year doing nothing between last year’s New Year’s Resolution and this one.
Screwup #2 – By drinking and driving and crashing into man standing on the road.
Screwup #3 – By deciding to take him home and wait 2 hours in order to sober up.
Screwup #4 – Jeff leaving to go find the license plate that was left behind at the accident.
Screwup #5 – By Hannah (Lindsay’s sister) coming home and getting attacked by the not dead, dead guy.
Screwup #6 – By Hannah shooting the not dead, dead guy, and killing him.
Screwup #7 – By Lindsay lying to the cops and saying they hit a doe the night before, and Jeff saying it was a buck.
Screwup #8 – By finding the address in the dead man’s wallet, Hannah realizing this was all connected to some “Bernie Madoff shit.”
Screwup #9 – Jeff and Hannah screw up by leaving Lindsay behind to go get the money from the claim check.
Screwup #10 – Lindsay, by letting “Detective Smith” into the house over coffee.
Screwup #11 – By Jeff trying to convince Hannah into not telling Lindsay about the money.
Screwup #12 – Smith choosing to beat Lindsay relentlessly while looking for the claim check stub.
Screwup #13 – By Lindsay breaking free and not running, and instead bashing Smith in the head instead.
Screwup #14 – By Lindsay tying Smith up and waiting for Jeff and Hannah to return.
Screwup #15 – Hannah messes up by agreeing to talk to Smith alone, who apparently was her old boyfriend.
Screwup #16 – Hannah screws up by believing Smith that he will take her on a vacation to Europe with the money.
Screwup #17 – By Lindsay and Jeff torturing Smith by nailing his fingertips to the chair.
Screwup #18 – By Jeff trying to convince Lindsay to kill her sister.
Screwup #19 – Hannah screwed up by leaving the claim ticket in her book as a bookmark as a “memento”.
Screwup #20 – Lindsay screwed up by figuring out that Hannah had held out on them.
Screwup #21 – By Lindsay and Jeff tying up Hannah as well.
Screwup #22 – By Jeff getting two pillow cases and not just one.
Screwup #23 – By Hannah letting Smith loose.
Screwup #24 – Smith, by killing Hannah after she cut him loose.
Screwup #25 – Jeff and Lindsay, for fighting with each other instead of paying attention to Smith.
Screwup #26 – By Jeff, walking through the house, with a gun, trying to find Lindsay.
Screwup #27 – By Jeff, pinning Lindsay, and getting stabbed by Smith.
Screwup #28 – By Smith beating Lindsay senseless.
Screwup #29 – Smith, by letting Lindsay grab the knife from Jeff’s back and stab him with it.
Screwup #30 – By Lindsay, retrieving the money with Hannah’s claim ticket.
Come on! That is a lot of crazy mistakes for 4 people to make in the course of one evening. Hahahah. But they all (mostly) seemlessly lead from one to the other in perfect succession.
Overview Thoughts on Midnighters
It seems rare that we get tight little downward spirals like Midnighters. Sure, it’s a romp. And sure it’s fake. But to watch as a perfect downward spiral gets unfurled is truly exhilarating. Movies like, oh I don’t know, Super Dark Times, Free Fire, Old Boy, Ex Machina, or what have you. But they are few and far between. I will say this, that I just found out about the movie Game Night, that looks like Midnighters, buy funny. Right? And I am dying to see that as well. Just need to find in my busy schedule to sit down and watch it.
But regardless, there are sections of Midnighters that is atrocious. (The two cops? Oh my gosh, they can’t act their way out of a paper bag, but that could be a directing problem? They were trying to be cops, but also possibly bad guys, and ambiguous threats throughout? Which would have been a tough line to walk with even seasoned actors? Dunno.) But otherwise, the film is one juke after another that keeps the audience on their toes. Sure, a few of the jukes are predictable. But not many. And the acting is truly well done overall. Especially Smith! Oh my gosh. He plays the diabolical bad guy with amazing aplomb.
Final Thoughts on Midnighters
I went looking for Alston Ramsay to talk to him about his script for this movie. But alas, he would seem to not really be available via Twitter or any of the other normal social media sites. He would make a fun interview. To hear about the genesis of the idea and how he surmised this perfect downward spiral. I really had fun with it. Especially since it was a real surprise it was even coming out. So, Huzzah Alston Ramsay! Great fun little script. Hopefully you enjoyed it half as much as I did. Love to hear your thoughts about it. Disagree and I’m all wet?