The Late Shift Reviews

  • Jan 05, 2019

    interesting. peter lasally is fascinating.

    interesting. peter lasally is fascinating.

  • Apr 23, 2017

    It's fine, I guess, and it definitely screams TV movie. Higgins is actually pretty great as Letterman, but Roebuck as Leno, uh, not so much.

    It's fine, I guess, and it definitely screams TV movie. Higgins is actually pretty great as Letterman, but Roebuck as Leno, uh, not so much.

  • Jun 08, 2015

    An interesting but ultimately not perfect behind the scenes story of the first NBC late night disaster. Kathy Bates is excellent as Jay Leno's manager, who plucked the comic out of obscurity and made him Johnny Carson's permanent guest host. Over time, her abrasiveness ensures that Leno - and not David Letterman, who hosted the 12:30am show after Carson for a decade - would succeed Carson. She's the villain, but could have ultimately been an even more sinister and obsessive character that she was. Even more, Leno - played by Daniel Roebuck - could have been more of a wuss than he was displayed on the screen. John Michael Higgins - who currently stars in Pitch Perfect and many other comedies - is incredible as Letterman, who is portrayed as a man constantly unsure of himself, but deserving of Carson's seat. I wish there was more of that as well. That's the big problem of the film, that it could have pushed their characterizations further. I would honestly like if HBO made "The War For Late Night", the sequel based on the 2010 Tonight Show disaster that left Conan O'Brien without a job.

    An interesting but ultimately not perfect behind the scenes story of the first NBC late night disaster. Kathy Bates is excellent as Jay Leno's manager, who plucked the comic out of obscurity and made him Johnny Carson's permanent guest host. Over time, her abrasiveness ensures that Leno - and not David Letterman, who hosted the 12:30am show after Carson for a decade - would succeed Carson. She's the villain, but could have ultimately been an even more sinister and obsessive character that she was. Even more, Leno - played by Daniel Roebuck - could have been more of a wuss than he was displayed on the screen. John Michael Higgins - who currently stars in Pitch Perfect and many other comedies - is incredible as Letterman, who is portrayed as a man constantly unsure of himself, but deserving of Carson's seat. I wish there was more of that as well. That's the big problem of the film, that it could have pushed their characterizations further. I would honestly like if HBO made "The War For Late Night", the sequel based on the 2010 Tonight Show disaster that left Conan O'Brien without a job.

  • Feb 22, 2015

    Cathy Bates shows off her chops in a pretty good little look at the jockeying that went on to replace Carson.

    Cathy Bates shows off her chops in a pretty good little look at the jockeying that went on to replace Carson.

  • Mar 19, 2013

    A good movie about what happened behind the scenes of Jay Leno getting the Tonight Show over David Letterman.

    A good movie about what happened behind the scenes of Jay Leno getting the Tonight Show over David Letterman.

  • Sep 10, 2012

    Many years later, after the wash up of the Conan/Leno battle has subsided, watching the behind-the-scenes shenanigans from the Letterman/Leno/Carson round-table seems positively prophetic. I really enjoyed this, mostly because I thought that John Michael Higgins performance as Letterman was spot on. It does err on Letterman's side of the story, whilst painting Leno as more of a victim of circumstance than the bad guy (which he certainly is synonymous with now), it's Letterman that gets the heroic finale. In the end it's NBC that is the ultimate evil, history would again repeat. A great little film for fans of the late nite antics.

    Many years later, after the wash up of the Conan/Leno battle has subsided, watching the behind-the-scenes shenanigans from the Letterman/Leno/Carson round-table seems positively prophetic. I really enjoyed this, mostly because I thought that John Michael Higgins performance as Letterman was spot on. It does err on Letterman's side of the story, whilst painting Leno as more of a victim of circumstance than the bad guy (which he certainly is synonymous with now), it's Letterman that gets the heroic finale. In the end it's NBC that is the ultimate evil, history would again repeat. A great little film for fans of the late nite antics.

  • Thom M Super Reviewer
    Feb 04, 2012

    The source material far exceeds this depiction that comes off more like a bad morning news dramatization. Those truly interested in the rich history of late night would be better off reading Bill Carter's book and other existing texts.

    The source material far exceeds this depiction that comes off more like a bad morning news dramatization. Those truly interested in the rich history of late night would be better off reading Bill Carter's book and other existing texts.

  • Dec 17, 2011

    quite enjoyable, great acting - surprised how close they came to the actual people. nice to see what happened behind closed doors. time for a sequel?

    quite enjoyable, great acting - surprised how close they came to the actual people. nice to see what happened behind closed doors. time for a sequel?

  • Dec 11, 2011

    quite enjoyable, great acting - surprised how close they came to the actual people. nice to see what happened behind closed doors. time for a sequel?

    quite enjoyable, great acting - surprised how close they came to the actual people. nice to see what happened behind closed doors. time for a sequel?

  • Oct 23, 2011

    I learned a lot about Jay Leno and David Letterman through this film.

    I learned a lot about Jay Leno and David Letterman through this film.