“Wild Things” (1998) dir. John McNaughton


Oh … my … God! Ostensibly, a modern film noir erotic suspense thriller, “Wild Things” is one of the most deliriously nasty and hysterically funny films ever made. If you aren’t laughing your ass off throughout this movie, you either have no sense of humor or are dead.

Before “Wild Things,” director John McNaughton was best known for the intense classic “Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer” and the critically acclaimed, but under-appreciated thriller “Normal Life” (discussed earlier on Dave’s Strange World). However, “Wild Things” wound up becoming McNaughton’s most popular and best-known film. While “Basic Instinct” is the magna carta of erotic thrillers, “Wild Things” is its disreputable punk rock cousin, pissing all over whatever “class” “Instinct” had.

Recounting the plot is pointless. Mainly because there are double, triple, quadruple, quintuple … ad nauseum crosses with added red herrings that extend even into the credits. The fact that a new (and frequent) plot twist completely changes the meaning of everything you saw before it is part of the fun.

To call “Wild Things” sleazy is damning it with faint praise. Of course it’s sleazy … but trust me, it takes a lot of talent to make something this disreputable so much fun. The performances by Kevin Bacon, Matt Dillon, Denise Richards, Neve Campbell, and Bill Murray are pitch perfect for the insanity you’ll experience while watching it. As much as I love “Color of Night” for its bats–t craziness, “Wild Things” delivers everything “Color of Night” has in a much cooler, confident manner. If you’ve never seen it, you’re in for a major, major treat. Like a bad (but still enjoyable) one-night-stand, you’ll hate yourself the next day … but only to a certain extent.

“Much Ado About Nothing,” a retrospective of the movie “Diner” by S.L. Price, Vanity Fair March 2012


A really smart retrospective of Barry Levinson’s 1982 classic film “Diner,” by writer S.L. Price. Not only did the film launch the careers of Kevin Bacon, Paul Reiser, Mickey Rourke, Ellen Barkin, Daniel Stern, Steve Guttenberg, and Tim Daly, Price argues that “Diner” was one of the major influences on pop culture in the past 30 years. Think about it: Nick Hornby’s “High Fidelity,” the pop and junk culture dialogues in Quentin Tarantino’s oeuvre, “Seinfeld,” and Judd Apatow’s “bromance” genre can all be traced back to “Diner.” All I can say is “Damn, wish I had thought of that!” Nice shooting, Mr. Price.