The Plot: In 1985 Martin Scorsese was all set to shoot The Last Temptation of Christ when, at the last minute, the studio pulled the rug out from under him. The director, frustrated with the cancelled project, decided to trudge on regardless and make an entirely different movie, quick and on the cheap--something he hadn't done since his early days as a filmmaker. After rummaging through a pile of scripts, he came upon an exceptionally clever screenplay by young up and comer Joseph Minion. With a limited budget Scorsese soon began shooting in downtown Manhattan. What resulted was After Hours, one of the director's most under-appreciated efforts and just an all around great New York movie.
Griffine Dunne stars as word processor Paul Hackett, a man who meets a woman in a coffee shop and agrees to meet her later that night at her Soho loft. What was supposed to be a nice night out, soon detoriorates into a hellish Kafka-esque nightmare as he loses his money, gets mistaken for a burglar, gets pursed by a vigilante mob, and becomes involved in other such mishigas. The only thing he is concerned with, aside from not being murdered, is getting back home. Considering his circumstances, however, his home base of the Upper East Side may as well be all the way in Los Angeles. Scorsese's minor masterpiece is one of the tensest, most pitch-black comedies you could ever want to see.
Why this movie could not exist today: Cell phones and ATM's aplenty.
[Side note: does the job title "word processor" exist anymore?]