“ Genre: Comedy / Theatrical Release: 1986 / Suitable for 18 years and over / Director: Jonathan Demme / Actors: Jeff Daniels, Melanie Griffith, George 'Red' Schwartz, Leib Lensky, Tracey Walter ... / DVD released 2003-01-06 at MGM Entertainment / Features of the DVD: Dubbed, PAL, Widescreen „
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This film is a classic from the mid nineteen eighties, featuring three great central performances, good direction from Jonathan Demme, and an excellent soundtrack which is so fitting of its age.
Wild chick, Melanie Griffith, takes nervous snob Jeff Daniels for a ride he'll never forget here, that all goes well until they bump in to her psychotic ex husband Ray Liotta at a school reunion. (Who is excellent). Wild antics ensue as his character, Ray, seriously wants her back in his life.
Griffith and Daniels seem an unlikely couple, but definately click together, and Ray Liotta is the psychotic energy that tries to come between their unlikely potential relationship.
Its a shame there are no special features on this release, other than a thatrical trailer, as its a film that deserves much, much more.
As a film though, this is a must own dvd for anybody looking to re-visit and reminisce about the 1980s, or just looking for a fine piece of film making from that era.
It was the movie that jettisoned Melanie Griffith into stardom, and turned its director into a bankable star who went on next to make The Silence Of The Lambs, the director of course being Jonathan Demme.
Charles Driggs (Jeff Daniels) is essentially a loser, all his life he has gone by the safe options, but in recent months being safe has got him nowhere. Once every blue moon Charles will rebel and maybe skip out on a meal without paying, but one day this little hobby gets him rumbled. Free willed Lulu (Melanie Griffith) spots Charles trying to escape on paying for his lunch, but rather than turn him in she decides to play on his rebellious side, practically kidnapping him for her own aims; but as the couple begin to like each other elements from their past come back to haunt them.
Something Wild is a typical 80's movie offering, full of catchy music, a splattering of humour and a strong moral message. Morality being an issue seldom seen since the 80's, a period that remains my favourite decade for movies.
The plot in reality is wafer thin, with little happening until the final 30 minutes, then everything moves so fast you scarcely have time to catch up having been lured into a false sense of security.
Melanie Griffith leads the rest of the characters in their journey, while all others fall in line behind. Even Jeff Daniels by then an established serious actor performs like he is filling the shows of another actor, it's not a bad thing necessarily his awkwardness being exploited for the movies benefit, though his actions and words make me cringe. Normally I'd agree that a portion of this is down to scriptwriting, but I really feel that at this time Daniels was not an actor for comedy, although since he has perfected the art admirably.
Something Wild is a road movie, our two leads travelling across America with a goal that only Lulu, (who you later discover is called Audrey) knowing the purpose of the road trip. On the journey the couple have numerous encounters and mishaps, as Lulu makes good boy Charles (now renamed Charlie) a project, making him do all the bad things in order to help achieve a long term goal. For Charlie you see it's all about being in the wrong place at the wrong time, and it soon becomes apparent that all is not as it seems.
There is some bad boy menace in the form of Ray Liotta who turns up in the last portion of the movie as Lulu's ex husband Ray Sinclair. This too was ground work for Liotta's future, as he gives off a fairly menacing performance of a criminal psycho. But like everyone else in the movie he has a different side, sadly his is not given the chance to progress like Daniels and Griffith.
The movie never really develops into anything much, which is not a bad thing. It's one of those movies that remain a sort of classic despite itself. When I think of Something Wild I think of the starting incidents where Lulu tries to make Charlie bad, I tend not to think of the last portion where the story finally develops, and from that point things all get a little bit tragic. This is not the sort of comedy that will have you laughing in the aisles, but it is the sort of movie that is pleasing on a variety of different levels.
Music pays a big part of the movie with a wide range of artist contributing from the amusingly named Oingo Bing, to UB40 and Jean Michel Jarre. There are numerous variations of the song Wild Thing ending the movie with Rap artiste Sister Carol, who had a short but successful reign in New York around this period.
The movie has lots of nice cameos including Russ Meyer regular Charles Napier, director John Waters, Oscar Winning Kenneth Utt (Silence Of The Lambs Producer) , John Sayles, and comedienne Margaret Colin. All the cameo's to some extent helped to get Jonathan Demme seen as an actor, and their weight in this project took it from the obscure to being a mainstream movie. While being very much a mainstream movie Something Wild is definitely a cult movie, and when presented in Alex Cox's (acclaimed director) movie show Moviedrome he declared it as being one of his all-time favourites.
Something Wild is not only charming but incredibly cheap with a current RRP of £3, as part of MGM's(Sony) new promotion. The DVD comes with no special features other than the original US trailer.