Before the world went twenty four hours and the invention of social media, most people were safely tucked away in their bed during the night. On occasion, if you were out late, you could have found a twenty four hour diner and may a stray call at a payphone.
While those days have been left behind in the twentieth century, think back on those days and possibly the first time you really fell in love.
Harry Washello (Anthony Edwards) is spending the day at the museum when he begins to notice Julie Peters (Mare Winningham). Their eyes lock, they bashfully smile at each other and somehow manage to end up in the same parts of the museum.
After they flirt in the gift shop, Harry thinks that he's lost the love of his life until Julie finds him outside. They strike up a conversation and before they know it, love has blossomed.
Harry, a musician, invites Julie and her grandfather Ivan (John Agar) to a benefit concert and the three go back to the complex where Ivan lives in a separate building and Julie and her grandmother Lucy (Lou Hancock) live in another.
Julie wishes that Harry didn't have to out of town and he goes to the coffee shop where she works and they make a date for when she gets off work at midnight. He goes back to the hotel, flicks a lit cigarette onto the street, where a blackbird picks it up and starts a fire causing the power to go out.
When Harry wakes up, he thinks it's midnight and after seeing what time it is on the television, hurries to the coffee shop, but Julie has left dejected since she thinks he stood her up.
The waitress (O-Lan Jones) tells him that she left when he stood her up and refuses to give him her phone number, but tells him that it's in the phone book. He orders some food and goes out to the payphone to call Julie (at four in the morning).
After leaving a message, he buys a newspaper and on his way back in, the phone rings and he answers it from a guy named Chip (the voice of Raphael Sbarge) and is told that the missiles have been launched. They should be hitting California in a little over an hour.
Harry thinks the call is a prank and hears gunshots on the other end and goes back into the shop. As he tries to figure out what he just heard, he turns to the smattering of patrons and asks if anyone has a son named Chip or knows of anyone who does.
His frustration grows and businesswoman Landa (Denise Crosby) takes interest in what he's trying to convey and after making some calls on her mobile phone, she deduces that a nuclear war is happening.
Everyone leaves the diner and the cook (Robert DoQui) has everyone that wants to pile into the delivery van and by following Landa's instructions, they'll be able to get out of Los Angeles before the panic begins. He tells Harry that he'll stop by Julie's to pick her up.
Unfortunately, when Harry realizes that they're going in the opposite direction, he jumps out onto an overpass and is picked up by Wilson (Mykelti Williamson). Harry briefly tells him what's going on and at Julie's apartment, he tells him that he'll wait for him, but leaves to get his sister Charlotta (Kelly Minter).
After breaking into Lucy's apartment, he tells her what's happening and since he can't wake Julie, he carries her out and in the lobby, Ivan and Lou briefly reunite before they head off to the helipad.
Julie wakes up from her Valium induced fog and asks Harry what's going on, but he avoids answering her question.
From this point on, Harry has to find a pilot, after Gerstead (Kurt Fuller) an associate of Landa's can't wait any longer for a pilot.
As chaos breaks out on the street, Harry sees Julie also trying to find a pilot and now the two have to make it back to the helipad before the missiles strike.
While I don't consider this to be a disaster movie, per say, the last few minutes do provide some disaster elements. It's not like the aftermath in The Day After (1983) but it does provide some thrills.
The only problem that I have with the movie is the very minor characters seem to be a little bit more developed than Harry and Julie. We know their occupations and with one line of dialogue, we pretty much know their backstory.
Supposedly, they meet and fall in love and these events happen all in one day.
Sure, they meet and spend time together, but, when Harry's at the benefit concert, she's in her black and whites for work and is with her grandfather. He also meets Lucy at the same time.
It's not explained why he's staying at a hotel and why he's going out of town. My question is this, is the band from someplace else?
Julie also mentions about their third date and what's going to happen, so after she gets off of work, is that their third date?
The whole relationship is sort of awkward and because I didn't catch on to it, I really didn't care to much for either one of them.
Anyway, as people say, "it is what it is" and I don't think I'll lose any sleep trying to analyze the movie, but, from a thriller point of view, it is good and it keeps you wondering if Harry is playing Chicken Little by spreading rumors.
In fact, near the end of the movie, news anchors are asking the same thing, since everything that they're reporting is based on unconfirmed rumors.
And if that's the case, then the blame would have to be put on Chip. Harry just asked a question, that was propagated by another and so forth.