The Night Before… Review

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     Traditions are important in our cultures around the world. Be it hanging out with your friends on an important date, or when a new James Bond movie comes out, it stands to reason that traditions define us. And we cling to those mother fuckers like air, or we’ll suffocate. That’s what the holidays are all about.
     Ethan (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) suffered an unspeakable tragedy around Christmas in 2001, and his friends Isaac (Seth Rogan) and Chris (Anthony Mackie) made it a promise and tradition to always be with Ethan on Christmas so he wouldn’t have to be alone. As the years went on, they discover an exclusive Christmas party that has always managed to elude them, like Moby Dick. This year, the final year of the tradition, they set out to crash this party like a high school kegger.
     Every year I look forward to a Seth Rogan movie. It’s become my tradition, but looking back at my choices of holiday entertainment, it’s always a bit cynical (Bad Santa is my preferred choice on Christmas). The Night Before might just become the new tradition. A lot of Christmas movies have so much sappy sentimentally you could have sworn that someone blew a tree. Here is a picture that finally celebrates the comradery among friends who become your family. And I was laughing my ass off, instead of rolling my eyes.
     Rogan, Mackie, and JGL have a chemistry that actually feels fucking genuine. Didn’t doubt for one second that they were friends for over a decade. I clearly don’t want to give away jokes, but the scene with Rogan in the church might be the hardest I’ve laughed in awhile. I’ve always been a sucker for a sub genre of films that I dubbed, “The Night Out”. It’s a film that takes place over one night, and it changes the lives of it’s protagonists. Examples include Hangin’ With the Homeboys, and Judgement Night. When done poorly, well it sucks. But when it’s done right, it’s a hell of a ride.
     A good Christmas movie brings a lot of joy, with a twinge of sadness. But here, the sadness comes from the end of a tradition, forgetting that there is a joy in starting something new. It just felt great to see a Christmas movie, that was fucking hilarious, that showed the respect and honor among friends during what could be the loneliest time of year. Family is amazing, but the family you build with your friends can be just as incredible as well.
    

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