The Late Shift

1996

Comedy / Drama

0
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Spilled 57%
IMDb Rating 6.8 10 3400

Keywords:   woman director, talk show, late night

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Synopsis


Uploaded By: FREEMAN
April 11, 2022 at 02:07 PM

Director

Cast

Kathy Bates as Helen Kushnick
Daniel Roebuck as Jay Leno
John Michael Higgins as David Letterman
Ed Begley Jr. as Rod Perth
720p.WEB 1080p.WEB
876.09 MB
1280*726
English 2.0
R
29.97 fps
1 hr 35 min
P/S counting...
1.59 GB
1906*1080
English 2.0
R
29.97 fps
1 hr 35 min
P/S counting...

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by SnoopyStyle 7 / 10

solid TV movie about a fascinating TV story

It's a behind-the-scenes movie about the battle between Jay Leno (Daniel Roebuck) and David Letterman (John Michael Higgins) for the Tonight Show on NBC. Jay's hard-charging agent Helen Kushnick (Kathy Bates) schemes to get him the show. They are approached by CBS. Then she gets him a secret deal with Warren Littlefield (Bob Balaban) and John Agoglia (Reni Santoni). When Johnny Carson surprises everybody by announcing his retirement, Leno is given the show. Letterman hires agent Michael Ovitz (Treat Williams). Kushnick steps on some toes as Tonight Show exec and starts making enemies.

This is a solid TV movie from HBO. The minutia of each piece of information can be pulled apart by those involved. Kathy Bates is great and I'm sure Kushnick has plenty of bones to pick with this movie. Jay Leno doesn't come off well either as a naive puppy desperate for approval. Letterman comes off much better. This is overwrought but the material allows for it. It's a fun take on a fascinating story.

Reviewed by mark.waltz 6 / 10

Taking how "the industry" writes about itself with a grain of canned laughter.

Popular with the public, but ruthless behind the scenes, talk show hosts go toe to toe against each other when Johnny Carson suddenly announces his departure from "The Tonight Show" after 30 years. But the ruthlessness of the people behind the scenes whom late night audiences have never heard of outside of those who read the credits is what really drives the drama, and without them, this cheesy movie would not have existed. But this is the entertainment industry which provides more entertainment in the gossip columns, in the year leading up to Carson's actual departure, apparently there was enough drama to guide several sequels to the fictional film "Network". At the center of it all is an agent played by Kathy Bates whom I had never heard of, a real-life ruthless woman whose antics what are very similar to Faye Dunaway's in that Oscar winning film. Bates really is the only lively presence in the film where I felt I was watching someone actually enjoying what they were doing while the others tip-toed. When she begins to laugh, she really is cackling like a wicked witch, enjoying every moment of this man's game.

Rich Little is basically playing Rich Little playing Carson, and I never once believed him as the legendary talk show host outside of slight vocal patterns. John Michael Higgins as David Letterman and Daniel Roebuck as Jay Leno are a bit better cast as the co-ruling kings of 90's late night TV, and insecure Leno is a complete contrast to the ruthless Letterman. It's a lot of name-dropping going on, and at times, the script seems to be so proud of itself for mocking the industry with cardboard standee cutouts of these characters obviously having no issue in selling their souls for TV success. Success doesn't guarantee happiness, and none of these people are happy unless they are flicking someone off their shoe. It's enjoyable for what it is, but the dirty deals going on gives regular Americans an ill-easy view of what goes on behind the scenes and makes me glad to have not been much interested in this late night TV era regime, tuning it out and never looking back.

Reviewed by rmax304823 6 / 10

Oh, it's not lonely at the top.

I can't tell whether this movie would be interesting to people who are wheelers and dealers, but it interested me precisely because I'm not. If I'd paid half the attention to ploying the system, squeezing the cow, as these characters do, who knows what dazzling heights I might have reached? The story is probably familiar to most viewers by now. When Johnny Carson announces his retirement from The Tonight Show, NBC has to choose between two replacements -- Jay Leno and David Letterman, who can both claim to be qualified. They choose Jay Leno, which annoys Letterman. Not that Leno and Letterman aren't friends, but their socioeconomic interests are in conflict. All sorts of wheelings and dealings go on, which end with Leno keeping The Tonight Show and Letterman moving to an opposite spot at CBS.

Godzillions of dollars are involved of course, so it behooves everyone to act rationally. The problem faced by these characters -- not just the two stars but everyone else -- is defining "rational." Reason ought to lead you to achieving a goal. But suppose you have several goals, equally important, and contradictory? Is "success" measured in dollars? In self-satisfaction? In security at the expense of self expression? How much is friendship and loyalty worth? These are hard decisions to make but, fortunately, for millionaires it's not lonely at the top. There's plenty of advice.

The most reasonable person -- in the sense that he is least influenced by fear or sentiment -- is Michael Ovitz, played by Treat Williams. As someone says jokingly about him, talking to him is like talking to the Godfather. "You have a problem? We can solve it." Ovitz went on, as I understand it, to head Walt Disney but has recently been involved in some sort of contretemps. I think they're kicking him out of Walt Disney and giving him two million godzillion dollars to ease the pain of his passage.

The most interesting character, I thought, was Helen Kushnik, Kathy Bates. She was Jay Leno's totem person. And -- the book is more explicit about this -- she was evidently one of those people who, once in power, go completely berserk and believe that limits don't apply to them. It goes beyond pushiness. They become tyrants. I don't want to sound sexist but Kushnik's behavior takes a distinctly feminine form. The monster sacre hiding behind the stage props. Judy Garland's "stage mother." They protect and advance their clients as if the clients were some rare marketable commodity. Kushnik self destructs, as everyone predicts, but I'd have liked to know more about her.

But it's also fun watching the sparring that goes on between the players. Here is Jay Leno, host of The Tonight Show, sneaking around through a garage and eavesdropping through a crack in the doorway while a discussion takes place that will decide if Leno is kept on or fired.

"The Late Shift" isn't about a subject that occupied much of my life space at the time this was going on, but it held my interest because it's one of those minor inexpensive kinds of projects that cable, especially HBO, does so well from time to time. If it's not quite up to the standard set by "Barbarians at the Gates" it's because it wasn't written by Larry Gelbart and it doesn't have James Garner's outrageous lead performance. "The Late Shift" sees some irony in the story but not much in the way of laughs, but that's okay too.

It's a intensely thought-provoking movie too. Here is the thought it provoked. "Where in the hell was Michael Ovitz when I needed him?"

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