↑ Return to Motion Pictures

Midnight Madness (February 8, 1980)

Midnight Madness Poster DVD REVIEW

BRIEF PLOT SYNOPSIS

Five teams go against each other in order to win Leon’s ‘Great All-Nighter’ game. Through the course of one night, these 5 teams wreak havoc on the city of L.A. in order to reach the Finish Line and prove their worth to the other teams. Read an extremely detailed synopsis here.

——————————————————————————–

GENERAL FILM INFORMATION

GENRE: Comedy
WORKING TITLE: The Great All Nighter
TAGLINE: The most fun you’ll ever have…in the dark.
SETTING: Los Angeles, CA
FILMING LOCATION(S): Los Angeles, CA
RELEASE DATE(S): February 8, 1980 (USA)
RUNNING TIME: 113 Minutes; 1 hour 53 minutes
RATING: PG

CREW AND OTHER TECHNICAL INFORMATION

WRITER: David Wechter, Michael Nankin
DIRECTOR: David Wechter, Michael Nankin
PRODUCER: Ron Miller
CO-PRODUCER: David Wechter, Michael Nankin
EDITOR: Norman R. Palmer, Jack Sekely
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Frank V. Phillips
PRODUCTION DESIGN: John B. Mansbridge
ORIGINAL MUSIC BY: Julius Wechter
SPECIAL EFFECTS BY: Danny Lee
MAKE-UP BY: Robert J. Schiffer
HAIR STYLIST: Gloria Montemayor
PRODUCTION COMPANY: Walt Disney Productions
DISTRIBUTOR: Buena Vista Pictures

——————————————————————————–

CAST :: CHARACTER NAME…ACTOR NAME

The Yellow Team

Adam Larson…David Naughton
Laura..Debra Klinger
Flynch…Joel P. Kenny
Marvin…David Damas
Scott Larson…Michael J. Fox

The Blue Team

Harold…Stephen Furst
Lucille…Patricia Alice Albrecht
Melio…Andy Tennant
Barf…Brian Frishman
Blade…Sal Lopez

The Red Team

Donna…Maggie Roswell
Berle…Rosyn Petty
Peggy…Betsy Lynn Thompson
Lulu…Carol Gwynn Thompson

The White Team

Wesley…Eddie Deezen
Debater#1…Marvin Katzoff
Debater#2…Christopher Bands
Debater#3…Michael Gitomer

The Green Team

Lavitas…Brad Wilken
Blaylak…Dirk Blocker
Armpit…Curt Ayers
Cudzo…Trevor Hemley
Gerber…Keny Long

Game Central

Leon, Game Master
Candy…Debi Richter
Sunshine…Kirsten Baker
Mrs. Grimhaus…Irene Tedrow
Mr. Thorpe…John Fiedler
Mrs. Thorpe…Ceil Gabot
Tennant #1…Charlie Brill
Elderly Lady…Loretta Tuppor
Game Control Bookie…Eddie Bloom

Other Cast

Harold’s Father…Dave Shelley
Bonaventura Desk Clerk…Marvin Kaplan
Security Captain…Bert Williams
Police Sargeant…Arthur Adams
Cop #1…Tom Wright
Cop #2…Elven Havard
Miniature Golf Dad…Ernie Fuentas
Miniature Golf Mom…Pilar Del Ray
Old Lady in Car…Georgia Schmidt
Bratty Kid…J. Breman Smith
Bratty Kid’s Dad…Jon Maxwell
Pinball City Manager…Paul Reubens
Bellboy…John Voldstadt
Tow Truck Driver…Jack Griffith
Tourist…Dick Winslow
Teenage Girl #1…Emily Greer
Cashier…Paula Victor
Irving…Tony Salome
Busty Waitress…Donna Garrett

——————————————————————————–

SOUNDTRACK :: SONG TITLE…COMPOSER/LYRICIST…PERFORMER

Midnight Madness…David & Julius Wechter…Donna Fein
Don’t Know Why I Came…David & Julius Wechter…UNKNOWN
Someone New…David & Julius Wechter…UNKNOWN

——————————————————————————–

EXTRAS

News

The film inspires a rap song

Trivia

  • During the interrogation of Scott in the Blue Teams’ van, Andy Tennant (Melio) was sick with the flu and had a 103 degree fever.
  • Midnight Madness was the second film that Disney produced that was rated PG. The first was The Black Hole. All previous Disney films had been rated G.
  • When the Yellow Team stops for ‘dinner’ (I don’t really know what you’d call the meal that comes after Midnight), David Naughton is drinking a conspicuously placed Dr. Pepper. Naughton is famous for his Dr. Pepper commercials in the 1970’s….I’m a Pepper, she’s a Pepper, he’s a Pepper. Wouldn’t you like to be a Pepper too? Be a Pepper, drink Dr. Pepper… (See video below)
  • SIX DEGREES OF MICHAEL J. FOX: David Naughton is most famous for his role of a young werewolf in the film An American Werewolf in London – Michael J. Fox starred in Teen Wolf as a young werewolf, which pays homage to Naughton’s film during the transformation sequence.

Webmaster’s Film Review

Disclaimer: These views are the opinions of the Webmaster only, unless otherwise noted.

Midnight Madness is not a classic piece of cinema, in the classic sense of the word. (Yes, I meant to use ‘classic’ twice.) However, for anyone who had HBO during the 1980′s, this very well could be a sentimental ‘classic.’ Personally, I watched the movie many, many times, especially during those years around 1985 when the big Michael J. Fox craze had begun.

This movie, Disney’s 2nd PG-rated film (the first was The Black Hole), did very poorly in theaters. It’s not very hard to see why. It’s a silly piece of fluff that has no real substance and very few moral lessons to be learned — except maybe this: Remember your brother’s birthday.

But that’s what makes this movie so much fun. This is certainly not a deep film, nor one that will inspire any deep thought. Most the characters can be taken at face value because that’s generally all they are; one-dimensional stereotypical characters. Characters we know the second we see them; spoiled, rich Harold – pure evil; Good, sensitive Adam – pure goodness; ditto on Laura; Flynch, the smart, shy geek who gets the girl(s) in the end.

This isn’t to say that there aren’t facets to these characters. Even Adam has some flaws. But, he remains our hero throughout the film and even when he decides to let his brother run off into the dangerous city alone, you still like him because you just KNOW he’s gonna turn around and say, “Hey, let’s go find my brother.”

If you can tolerate lowbrow humor, you could never say that this movie is boring. It keeps right on moving, going from one clue in the scavenger hunt to the next. Sometimes there are pauses during the clue-hunting, but that’s not boring either. I personally find the “Heart and Soul” arrangement at the piano museum to be one of the best I’ve ever heard. And nothing could be funnier than watching a beer-crazed football jock being dragged away from a vat of beer. (Unless you think too much and start wondering if the poor guy is an alcoholic. But really, this kind of movie shouldn’t inspire too many mental processes.)

As far as performances go, Michael J. Fox is obviously one of the better actors in the film, especially with his portrayal of emotion without words. Although his ‘emotional acting’ is good, his lines seem kind of stiff and forced. However, one must take into consideration that his lines weren’t all that great to begin with.

As I pointed out before, stereotypes abound in this movie from the nerdy smart guys, to the dumb jocks. However, there are broken stereotypes. Lavitas is a jock, but he isn’t dumb. He can even read and play music. The Red team are all women, but none of them are stupid at all. One of the women is very butch, which is a stereotype created to break another stereotype. Peggy and Lulu are difficult to figure out. They’re eating machines, like Harold, but aren’t concerned about it. They’re obviously very happy (note the constant giggling) and very secure. In addition, they’re pretty good dancers.

A nice twist is thrown in for Adam. He’s the go-getter hero of the film who’s still a little insecure about his feelings for women, which adds to his likability. The twist is in his relationship with his brother, Scott. Adam isn’t quite so perfect, finding Scott as nothing but a nuisance. A bit of irony is that the counselor can’t figure out what the real problem is with his own brother.

Laura is the perfect heroine-too perfect. She’s sweet, kind, forgiving and pretty. Not a darn thing wrong with her except for the fact that she has no flaws. Marvin, the mechanical wiz and token black character, didn’t have much of a part, but the actor made the most out of it, especially when bragging about or weeping over his jeep.

Then we come to Barf. Barf is very interesting. He’s obviously the dumbest character in the entire film-so why does he always get stuck with trying to figure out the clues? And of course, who could ever forget, “Fagabeefe?”

Speaking of embarrassing stereotypes, someone should be whipped over the (again, token) Hispanic character, Blade. The poor guy didn’t have one single line of dialogue and his shining moment was when he refused to go through a metal detector at the Airport.

Lucile: AAAAA!!! The complete opposite of Laura in every way except that she is also pretty.

You’d think Melio’s hatred for Harold would make him a bit likable, but it makes him even more despicable. When Harold smacks him around, you’re right there with him going, “Do it again!”

That leaves us with Harold. If Stephen Furst hadn’t played it so well I wouldn’t like this movie half as much as I do. Harold’s male and he’s fat, and this is a movie, so of course he’s a loser. Dad’s obvious disapproval doesn’t help poor Harold out much.

Personally, I think the best acting in this film is done by Stephen Furst. If you enjoyed his performance as Harold, or even if you didn’t, I highly recommend that you check him out in the television series “St. Elsewhere”, as Dr. Axelrod, and “Babylon 5″ as Vir Cotto. His performance in “Babylon 5″ is especially good, as the character progresses from a whining ‘moon-faced assassin of joy’ to the future emperor of a mighty planet.

Why to Watch This Movie: Historical reason: It’s Michael J. Fox’s film premiere. This film is great fun when you’re in the proper mindset.

When to Watch This Movie: When you’re in the mood for some mindless fun and silly old-fashioned Hollywood stereotypes that aren’t too disturbing.

Quotes

Let us be frank; it is certainly no secret that these mentally deficient, giant, uncivilized vulgarians care nothing about the nobler pursuits; such as art, music and library science.

–Wesley

Count me in. I’d like to get back at those MORON JOCKS!!

–Berle

Who are we? M-E-A-T-M-A-C-H-I-N-E. Meat Machine! Meat Machine! All right, break!

–Lavitas & the Green Team

If I’m lucky, I may get a view of Venus’ two moons.

–Bratty Kid

Fagabeefe?

–Barf

Yeah, they make a smaller moped, but there’s nothing like having one of these mean machines between your legs.

–Wesley

Entertainment References (Link to IMDB)

Midnight Madness Song Lyrics

Come see how good a night can be.
Are you ready for a brand new game?
(A brand new game).
Come take a change and play with me,
and you’re never gonna be the same…

CHORUS:
When Midnight Madness,
starts to get to you;
Doesn’t matter what you say,
doesn’t matter what you do.
You gotta play.

Just when you think you’ve had your fun,
and you’re ready to say goodnight.
(don’t say goodnight)
You’ll find the fun has just begun,
’cause the game’s gonna last all night.

Repeat CHORUS two times

Just when you think you’ve had your fun,
and you’re ready to say goodnight.
(don’t say goodnight)
You’ll find the fund has just begun,
’cause the game’s gonna last all night.

CHORUS A:
When Midnight Madness,
starts to get to you;
Doesn’t matter what you say,
doesn’t matter what you do.
Ooooh!

Videos

This is one of the Dr. Pepper commercials that David Naughton made back in the 1970’s.

Picture Gallery