Sam, an awkward teenage boy, is a virgin. Being a virgin isn’t the end of the world, of course. But when the world actually looks like it’s ending very soon, thanks to an asteroid headed right for Earth, he embarks on a quest to lose his virginity before it’s too late.
He heads to a party where he hopes to confess his feelings for his dream girl Jessica. But when he arrives, things go awry — very, very awry, and he finds himself launched into a panorama of odd, desperate human behavior in the face of the end of all endings. But all hope isn’t lost for Samuel, as he soon realizes what, and who, really matters in the end.
Director/co-writer Charlie Schwan, along with co-writer Wyatt Miller, have created a hybrid of comedy, drama and sci-fi that takes the emotional dilemmas of a classic teen film and adds an unusual genre twist, making for a funnier, more resonant story at its end. Set in the late 70s, the feel and look of the short are reminiscent of the warm, burnished amiability of films like “American Graffiti,” but the playfulness with genre and awkward physical comedy are both fun and modern.
The writing and storytelling mines great humor in the teen hijinks and debauchery that Samuel descends into on his quest to swipe his V-card. The dialogue is funny, but not with the relentlessly clever pitter-patter that characterizes a certain strain of teen films.
Instead, it finds a good-natured comedy in Samuel’s physical awkwardness around his peers, and in his own emotional awkwardness within himself. The film also gets its pacing and rhythm from Sam, as well, building his character and relationships, which pay off with unexpected richness at the end. Things don’t go the way Samuel envisions, but he still gets his heart’s desire in the end, even if his own happy ending is brief and incandescent as the light of the asteroid on the horizon.
“The Goodnight Show” is a genuinely warm film that balances an affably goofy look at the foibles of humanity with an understated tow of melancholia. As Samuel goes about his quest, the story threads in the range of responses that people have when faced with an imminent demise.
Some seek out the warm refuge of their loved ones; others look for isolation and detachment, even in the titular strip club that Samuel finds himself at during the course of his evening adventures. Some may say Samuel’s own ending may be somewhat predictable, but the ending’s predictability isn’t a fault. When rendered with genuine heartfelt sincerity and a poignant combination of emotion and craftsmanship, it’s actually comforting in its faith that, when faced with deciding what truly matters most, people will follow their hearts.