Take me home tonight: Life is an 80s Party

The shockingly underrated comedy Take me home tonight gives insight into the overwhelming anxiety and confusion that dictates post-grad life. A must-see for every soundtrack connoisseur…

Take me home tonight (2011): Directed by Michael Dowse; Rrunning-time 97mins; starring Topher Grace, Anna Faris, Chris Pratt, Teresa Palmer, Michelle Trachtenberg.

What’s it about? When his Highschool crush Tori Frederking (Palmer) walks into the video store he’s working at four years after graduation, Matt (Grace) is petrified. Too embarrassed to tell her the truth, he pretends to be just another customer that’s really working for Goldman Sachs. Upon hearing that Tori is attending his sister’s boyfriend’s (Pratt) house party that night, Matt comes up with a plan to finally win Tori’s affection – if only just for one night. Together with his sister Wendy (Faris) and his best friend Barry, Matt embarks on the wildest night any of them have had since high school.

What’s it really about? The paralyzing fear that overcomes us when we have to decide what we want to do with our lives

Pick if:

  • You’re a fan of 80s music
  • You’re a fan of 80s aesthetic
  • You’re looking for a brilliantly soundtracked movie to watch with your friends, or your partner
  • You know what if feels like when you have no idea what you want to do with your life
  • You’re dying to go to a real house party again
  • You’re dreading running into your old classmates over the holidays for fear of looking like a total failure by comparison
  • You’re curious to see Chris Pratt as a preppy douchebag

Most memorable quote: “You haven’t really failed, son, because you haven’t really tried to succeed. So don’t credit yourself as a failure. You’re worse than that.” – Matthew’s father

Most memorable scene: Matt is miffed that he has to show up to the party of the year in a run-down car. So his friend Barry suggests they “borrow” a Porsche from the car dealership that he just got fired from. As they race off to the party,  they start lip-syncing Ice Cube’s “Straight outta Compton”

Magic Music Moment: Matt’s on edge because Tori is nowhere to be seen, so he steps out into the garden, half-heartedly sips on his beer and lets his gaze wander. When he finally spots Tori, the first lines of Kim Carnes hit song “Bette Davis Eyes” start to play.

Where do I know them from? Topher Grace (Matt) is one of those actors whose name might not ring a bell even if you have seen some of his work before. Or maybe you’re like me and have watched every episode of That 70s Show twice, so you know him as awkward teen Eric Forman, whose friends include Mila Kuni’s Jackie Burkhardt, Ashton Kutcher’s Michael Kelso, Wilmer Valderama’s Fez, Danny Masterson’s Hyde, and of course Laura Prepon’s (Orange is the new black, How I met your mother) Donna, the girl next door and Eric’s one true love – incidentally, Topher calls all of cast his friends in real life. After rising to fame on the show, Topher landed small parts in Spiderman 3 opposite Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst, Mona Lisa’s Smile where he played Julia Stiles’ husband, Win a date with Tad Hamilton! where he went up against man candy Josh Duhamel and eventually got the girl and Ocean’s Eleven + Twelve where he had a cameo as his gambling addict alter ego.  

Take me home tonight Teresa Palmer
Teresa Palmer stars as Topher Grace’s high school crush Tori Frederking

By contrast, Teresa Palmer, who plays Topher’s on-screen love interest Tori Frederking has considerably less acting experience:  she was in The Sorcerer’s Apprentice with Nicholas Cage and played a small part in the utterly disappointing I am Number Four with Alex Pettyfer and Diana Agron. In 2013 she portrayed Julie, whose kind heart manages to re-humanise Nicholas Hoult’s nameless zombie character in Warm Bodies and most recently, she starred in the Nicholas Spark’s adaptation The Choice.




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