There have been a plethora of party-themed films made over the years, with many of them taking place in one single night. The premise usually involves a group of friends going out for the evening, but of course, things don’t go as planned, resulting in an eventful adventure, and the movie culminating during the next morning. Most of these films are fairly immature, and some are rather vulgar, but all are at least funny. On a side note, for some reason, three of the films on this list feature Heather Graham in supporting roles. Who knew she was such a party girl?
10. Midnight Madness
A pre-Family Ties and Back to the Future Michael J. Fox stars in a Disney film about five teams driving all over L.A. for a scavenger hunt called The Great All-Nighter, from dusk until dawn. Each site has a clue which leads to yet, another clue. One team employs sabotage on the other teams, and tries to cheat to no avail. Places like a golf course, an arcade, a brewery, a hotel and an airport hide the clues the team needs. Once everyone convenes at the hotel and a winner is announced, all the teams engage in a wild party.
9. Can’t Hardly Wait
This 1998 teen flick not only had a stellar cast, but it also came with a killer soundtrack, including the Replacements song it was named after. Preston Myers (Ethan Embry) is in love with popular girl, Amanda (Jennifer Love Hewitt) and spends the duration of a high school grad party trying to confess his love to her. The party features a cadre of drunken and excited friends, like nerds, popular girl cliques and Seth Green. The movie spans from night till dawn, with Myers eventually winning the girl. Three of the cast members went on to star in Six Feet Under. The film also featured a cameo from then-unknown actor, Jason Segel.
Sarah Polley, Katie Holmes and Justified’s Timothy Olyphant star in an ensemble action-comedy about a day in the life of young Los Angelians. Three friends work at a grocery store and decide to attend a rave at night. They purchase ecstasy from drug dealer, Todd but from there, things go awry. Three separate stories are seen in different intervals throughout the film and mainly merge at the rave, where a car hits Ronna (Polley). The fast-paced editing and techno music makes for an unhinged good time. There’s also an appearance from Melissa McCarthy, in one of her first roles.
7. License to Drive
Back in the late ’80s, there were The Coreys, aka Corey Haim and Corey Feldman. The friends starred in a few films together, including this night-on-the-town teen farce. Les (Haim) fails his drivers test, but lies to his friends and family about it. His dad gives him permission to take his grandfather’s Cadillac out on the town, not knowing the truth. Trying to impress his crush, Mercedes (Heather Graham), Les invites her on a date but she gets so drunk she passes out. Les and his friends drive her around in the car and get into a few predicaments before the night ends.
6. Sixteen Candles
Samantha’s (Molly Ringwald) family forgets that it’s her 16th birthday, but at least, other things are in store for her. She’s in love with Jake, but she sees herself as a “disease.” Things get a little weird when foreign exchange student, Long Duk Dong enters the picture, but things become even weirder at a school dance when Farmer, Ted (Anthony Michael Hall) enters the room. Eventually, the party transitions to Jake’s house, where everyone’s drunk, and Jake’s girlfriend loses a lock of her hair. Jake talks Ted into driving his hot, but passed out girlfriend home (similar to License to Drive), but not before hooking up with her. The aftermath of the party entails a very hungover Donger, and Samantha getting the guy.
The entire movie doesn’t take place during an all-night party, but the meat of it does. Down on their luck, actors Mike (Jon Favreau) and Trent (a young and slim Vince Vaughn) cruise the L.A. bars for “pretty babies”, or attractive, single women. Mike, who just got out of a long-term relationship, pities himself until he meets the charming Lorraine (again, Heather Graham!). But before that occurs, Mike and Trent end up in Vegas where they lose money and awkwardly hook up with a couple of chicks they meet at the casino. A guys film, Swingers added phrases like “Vegas, baby!” and “You’re so money” into the pop culture lexicon.
4. 21 & Over
Written by The Hangover guys, 21 & Over stars up-and-coming actors, Miles Teller and Skylar Astin (Pitch Perfect) as friends who want take their friend, Jeff Chang out for his 21st birthday. At first not willing to go out because he has an important interview in the morning, Chang acquiesces to his friends and gets wasted. He passes out before he can tell his friends where he lives. The friends spend the rest of the night trying to track down his residence, resulting in angering a sorority, and them walking through a college campus wearing only socks on their private parts. Despite a cliché premise, the film’s actually very funny.
3. Dazed and Confused
In 1993, Ben Affleck and Matthew McConaughey were struggling actors, but with the success of Dazed and Confused, that began to change. Richard Linklater’s coming of age flick takes place during the last day of school, in 1976. During a course of one night, the film follows a group of friends–including incoming freshman Mitch–as they hang out at a pool hall and then converge for a kegger at the Moon Tower. Mitch and his pals spend most of the film running away from seniors like Affleck, who’s out to haze him, via paddle to the butt. After a debauched night of drinking, smoking weed and making out with a girl, Mitch’s night ends on a high note (literally and figuratively).
2. The Hangover
A baby, a tiger, Heather Graham (the third time on the list) and Mike Tyson, all play parts in a movie about four friends who get a little crazy at a Vegas bachelor party. The first in the immensely successful trilogy, Hangover explores what happens when three friends (Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis) lose their soon-to-be-married friend Doug, and must piece together the fuzzy night.
1. Bachelor Party
Before Tom Hanks was a household name and ruled the world, he starred in a ‘loosely based on a true story’ comedic romp about a guy named Rick (Hanks), who on the eve of his wedding, gets entangled in a reckless bachelor party. Basically, it was the original The Hangover, except without Mike Tyson. Instead, there are hookers, a coked-out donkey, a kidnapping, an incident with a hot dog and a Chippendale dancer, a trashed hotel room and a guest who unsuccessfully tries to kill himself. Rick’s fiancée’s bachelorette party converges with the bachelor party, leading to the ultimate drunken and hilarious celebration.
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