Something Wild (1986 film)
Something Wild is a 1986 American action comedy film directed by Jonathan Demme and starring Melanie Griffith, Jeff Daniels and Ray Liotta. It was screened out of competition at the 1987 Cannes Film Festival. The film has some elements of a road movie combined with screwball comedy.
|Directed by||Jonathan Demme|
|Written by||E. Max Frye|
|Edited by||Craig McKay|
|Distributed by||Orion Pictures|
|Box office||$8.4 million|
Charlie Driggs is a conventional yuppie investment banker who works in New York City. After he leaves a greasy spoon diner without paying, a wildly dressed woman with a brunette bob who calls herself Lulu confronts him. Charlie is befuddled to learn she is only impersonating a waitress. Lulu offers Charlie a ride downtown but instead heads for New Jersey and throws his beeper from the moving car. Lulu openly drinks liquor while driving and stops in a town to buy more. While Charlie phones his office, Lulu — unbeknownst to him — robs a liquor store.
Charlie claims the cash he is carrying is for his Christmas club account, but Lulu persuades him to pay for a room at a roadside motel. Once inside she handcuffs him to the bed. She phones his boss and puts the receiver to his head while they are having sex, forcing him into an awkward conversation. Later Charlie pretends to phone his wife but Lulu is unaware that his marriage ended nine months ago.
After sharing a meal with Lulu at an Italian restaurant, Charlie realizes he is unable to pay with what little cash he has left. Lulu leaves him with the check, forcing him to flee the restaurant to escape an angry chef who demands payment. After spending the night at a motel, Lulu and Charlie awake to find a police officer and tow truck near the car she drove down an embankment and into a signpost the night before. Lulu abandons the car and buys one from a sleazy used car dealer, leaving Charlie wondering where she got the money. He starts to enjoy Lulu's free-wheeling lifestyle and realizes he is falling in love with her.
Lulu confesses that her real name is Audrey and introduces Charlie as her husband to her mother, Peaches, at her Pennsylvania home. After she dyes her hair blonde and dons ordinary clothing, she takes Charlie to her high school reunion, where a former classmate recognizes him as a coworker from their Manhattan office. Audrey's violent ex-convict husband, Ray Sinclair, appears and makes clear that he wants her back. After ditching his date, Ray takes Audrey and Charlie along while he robs a convenience store. He pistol-whips a clerk and intentionally breaks Charlie's nose. They drive to a cheap motel, where Ray forces Charlie to admit his wife left him (having learned this from Charlie's coworker at the class reunion). Realizing Charlie is also good at deception, Audrey stays behind with Ray.
After Ray warns him to stay away from him and Audrey, Charlie secretly tails them as they leave the motel. Charlie confronts Ray in a Virginia restaurant with several police officers seated nearby and threatens to reveal Ray's parole violations unless he allows Audrey to leave with him. He demands that Ray hand over his wallet and car keys and leaves the check with Ray to force him to stay behind as they flee.
Charlie takes Audrey to his Long Island home, but their idyllic suburban retreat is literally shattered when Ray hurls a patio chair through their sliding glass door. He severely beats Charlie and handcuffs him to the pipes under the bathroom sink before attacking Audrey. Charlie frees himself by pulling the pipes apart and strangles Ray with the handcuffs. During the scuffle, Charlie retrieves Ray's dropped knife. Ray dies when he accidentally impales himself on the knife Charlie is holding. Audrey is taken away for questioning when the police arrive.
Charlie later quits his job and looks for Audrey at her apartment, but finds she has moved. Outside the diner where Charlie met Audrey, a waitress accuses him of leaving without paying. Audrey suddenly appears with the cash he left on the table in her hand. She invites Charlie into her woodie station wagon and back into her life.
- Jeff Daniels as Charles Driggs
- Melanie Griffith as Audrey Hankel, aka Lulu
- Ray Liotta as Ray Sinclair
- Charles Napier as Irate Chef
- John Sayles as Motorcycle Cop
- Tracey Walter as The Country Squire
- Gary Goetzman as Guido Paonessa
- Robert Ridgely as Richard Graves
- Buzz Kilman as TV Newscaster
- Adelle Lutz as Rose
- John Waters as Used Car Salesman
- Margaret Colin as Irene
- Jack Gilpin as Larry Dillman
- Su Tissue as Peggy Dillman
- Sister Carol as Dottie
- The Feelies as The Willies
Something Wild was acclaimed by critics. The film currently holds a 91% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 45 reviews, with an average rating of 7.39/10. The website's critical consensus reads: "Boasting loads of quirky charm, a pair of likable leads, and confident direction from Jonathan Demme, Something Wild navigates its unpredictable tonal twists with room to spare." On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 73 out of 100, based on 14 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
The film was later released on DVD on June 5, 2001. The film was presented in its original 1.85:1 widescreen aspect ratio. The only special feature was the original theatrical trailer.
The film was released on Criterion Collection DVD and Blu-ray Disc on May 10, 2011. The Blu-ray has a new, restored high-definition digital transfer, supervised by director of photography Tak Fujimoto and approved by director Jonathan Demme. It also features new video interviews with Demme and writer E. Max Frye, the original theatrical trailer, and a special booklet featuring an essay by film critic David Thompson.
|The Village Voice||B+|
The film's soundtrack was released as an LP and CD, featuring only 10 of the 49 tracks in the title credits. All the school reunion songs performed by The Feelies, including "Fame" and "I'm a Believer", were omitted, and The Troggs' "Wild Thing", which gave the film its title and which was sung in the convertible scene, was also left out.
- Track listing
- "Loco De Amor (Crazy For Love)" by David y Celia – 3:45
- "Ever Fallen In Love" by Fine Young Cannibals – 3:48
- "Zero, Zero Seven Charlie" by UB40 – 3:48
- "Not My Slave" by Oingo Boingo – 4:23
- "You Don't Have To Cry" by Jimmy Cliff – 3:57
- "With You Or Without You" by Steve Jones – 4:46
- "Highlife" by Sonny Okosun – 3:40
- "Man With A Gun" by Jerry Harrison – 4:32
- "Temptation" by New Order – 3:28
- "Wild Thing" by Sister Carol – 4:05
|Australia (Kent Music Report)||62|
- 1987 Golden Globe Awards
- Nominated – Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy: Jeff Daniels
- Nominated – Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy: Melanie Griffith
- Nominated – Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture: Ray Liotta
- 1987 Edgar Awards
- Won – Best Motion Picture Screenplay: E. Max Frye
- Something Wild at Box Office Mojo
- "Something Wild". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved March 28, 2016.
- "Festival de Cannes: Something Wild". festival-cannes.com. Retrieved 2009-07-25.
- "Something Wild (1986)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved 5 March 2018.
- "Something Wild Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 5 March 2018.
- "Something Wild". The Criterion Collection.
- Christgau, Robert (December 30, 1986). "Christgau's Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. Retrieved June 9, 2020 – via robertchristgau.com.
- Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 284. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.