Sunday, August 27, 2006

Moments of Distinction

Welcome to the birth of a new feature here at filmscreed. I will periodically take a movie moment that I love and try to explain to you just why it resonates with me so much. There will be no rhyme or reason to my selections – It’s just stuff I like.

And so, with no further ado….

The Film – Something Wild, dir. Jonathan Demme, 1986

The Set Up – Kooky Audrey (Melanie Griffith) has kidnapped uptight Charlie (Jeff Daniels) and taken him to her high school reunion. Charlie starts to relax and begins to have feelings for her. This moment starts during the dance, and the Feelies funky version of “Fame”. Charlie shows off his moves.

The walls are down. They kiss. The lights go down and the music changes to a slightly ominous guitar.

Note the black leather jacket on the left.

“Hi, baby. Surprised?”

This is our first glimpse of Ray Liotta as Audrey’s husband Ray, and it is without any doubt my favorite movie entrance. The guy says three words, and the whole tone of the movie changes in that instant. Up till then, it has just been a screwy little romantic comedy. When Ray arrives on the scene, we know as soon as he opens his mouth that he’s trouble.

How many times have you seen the movies give us the girl with the louse in her life? Do you always wonder why she was with the guy in the first place? I do. Here, though, I don’t because Liotta gives Ray a very strong sexual magnetism along with the menace. You have to begrudgingly admit that a girl could fall for him.


Steve said...

Liotta also gets one of the best exit lines of the '80s: "Well, shit, Charlie..." Love this damn movie, I do.

Richard Gibson said...

I really loved this when I first saw it, then it just seemed to disappear from British screens.

I re-watched it again earlier this year and thoroughly enjoyed watching it again but I'll never forget being shocked by Liotta's 'Ray' character.

byrn mawr bloke said...

"charlie..." in '86 i watched this film over & over---the soundtrack LP was really good and well made.