We have watched two DVDs in three days (there was a particularly fussy baby day yesterday that threw a wrench in the works), and I will have to do a double recap on those:
About Last Night: standard 80's schlock with Demi Moore and Rob Lowe in the pinnacle of their respective hotness, based on a Mamet play (I would venture to say 'loosely', judging by the horrible opening dialogue between Lowe's and Belushi's characters). Elizabeth Perkins is annoying and unattractive, and Jimbo is just as annoying and unattractive, as well as sociopathic and repulsive. The leads are nice to look at, and there is an interesting take on what happens when people move in together after having a nice run of romance and great sex, but in the end...not a fabulous movie. This is definitely my addition to the collection, purchased because of it's 80's-ness, and because it was $4.99.
About Schmidt: I had seen this when I rented it right after it came out on DVD, and remember it being very depressing. Upon re-watching, I noted that it was directed by Alexander Payne, and suddenly it all made sense. Yes, it is still somewhat depressing, but there are a few uplifting moments. There are a lot of visual cues of desolation, isolation, death and meaninglessness (shots of disgusting pieces of meat being hacked apart as well as other slaughterhouse allusions) and a sparse soundtrack; but there is also the peek into Schmidt's psyche through his letters to Ndugu which lend to a sweet narration that keeps the interest piqued. If I didn't hear from his heart I don't think I'd have any reason to care about his character, but because of the letters and some heartfelt moments, the watcher ends up caring about this old grizzled bastard who is just trying to figure out where he belongs in the world these days. A must watch, but not one for copious repeat viewings, IMHO.