Movie: Tomorrow Night
Writers: Louis C.K.
Directors: Louis C.K.
Studio: Circus King Films
“You keep a very decent house.”
This might as well be some form of “I love you,” coming from the mouth of Tomorrow Night’s central neurotic Charles (Chuck Sklar). The Louis C.K.-helmed film, which originally premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 1998 but never secured distribution or immediate popularity, gives viewers the gift of witnessing the display of promise with the exceptionally rare benefit of hindsight (packed with proof of said promise’s eventual fulfillment — i.e. the FX series Louie), making for a downright remarkable experience.
Chuck Sklar plays the aforementioned Charles like a depressed, underemployed Egon Spengler, trading out the spores/mold/fungus collection for some acute ice cream fetishism. The film slowly but assuredly becomes — essentially — a story of old souls perpetually chased by the dogs of youth, painting the inevitability of death with the usual Louis C.K. colors of strangely bright cynicism. Of course, it’s hard to discuss a film like Tomorrow Night without mentioning the work of Woody Allen. The opening credits here would seem to warrant direct comparison to Allen’s opening credit tactics — that of easing the audience into the world of the story by offering barebones credits set to story-specific (or artist-specific?) music, usually classical in nature. Allen would likely never tackle a topic as seasoned with modernism as Tomorrow Night’s ice cream fetishism, but the comparison in overall method is apt and deserved.
The black-and-white film — featuring a smorgasbord of both current and eventual stars like J.B. Smoove, Steve Carell, Robert Smigel, Wanda Sykes, Conan O’Brien, and more — is far from perfect, but therein lies its charm and inarguable justification for its very existence and recent re-release. It’s not often we, as viewers, are able to witness the early “invisible” work of a future icon with both the previously mentioned benefit of hindsight and the added bonus of “the artist’s blessing” (as in Louis C.K.’s decision to post the film on his website for $5 download). This puts Tomorrow Night in the odd and lonely position of being relatively unrateable, a position of which one can assume Louis C.K. is quite fond.