Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Kiss Daddy Goodnight|
Actors: Uma Thurman, Paul Dillon, Paul Richards, Steve Buscemi, Annabelle Gurwitch
Director: Peter Ily Huemer
Genres: Indie & Art House, Mystery & Suspense
No Description Available. Genre: Mystery Rating: R Release Date: 20-JUL-2004 Media Type: DVD
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"You've been in Baltimore too long."
Andrew McCaffrey | Satellite of Love, Maryland | 11/03/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"KISS DADDY GOODNIGHT (1988) is a decent enough thriller - the kind of film you'd sit through on the Lifetime Channel and feel was not a complete waste. It's got enjoyable (if predictable) plot twists and a good central character.
However, I doubt that anyone watching this would do so for those reasons. Many DVD distributors have released this movie in a budget format, all of them making a big deal out of the presense of Uma Thurman and Steve Buscemi. In fact, this is Thurman's first role (according to the Internet Movie Database it was even her first audition -- she was hired immediately) and she stars.
Thurman was only eighteen when this movie came out, and yet she already displays a certain maturity. A lesser actress would have been swamped out by this role which the script leaves fairly undefined. But even in her youth she carries this off with style.
Now onto the movie itself. I have never seen a film where the opening credits immediately destroys any possible good-feeling or enthusiasm one could have towards a potential viewing experience. Given the plot summary (see below) I was expecting a dark, psychological thriller with (perhaps) some black comedy aspects. I sat myself down hoping for a tense and atmospheric picture.
Then the opening credits actually start and I had to stifle a shudder and a laugh. Making fun of bad 1980s computer-generated credits is a little too easy, but nothing screams "low budget!" louder. It immediately lowers the audience's expectations about the rest of the movie's production values.
That said, given this is an independent film clearly made with very little money, the general production values aren't awful. Of course, the producers accomplish a lot of this by filming with a lot of low lighting (read: in the pitch dark), but it does adequately set the tone the filmmakers were presumably going for.
The plot summary on the DVD box and, indeed, posted in many locations on the Internet suggests that it's about Uma Thurman as a sultry femme fatale who seduces older, dumber men, drugs them and then robs them blind. And, true, this does happen in the movie. The downside is that it really has nothing to do with the rest of the movie.
At least I don't think it does. But it's a little difficult to tell which movie is actually the focus, because there appear to be about three movies squeezed in here. There's the Uma-as-con-woman movie. The Uma-as-victim-of-older-man movie. And Paul Dillon's character seems to be off in some third movie which features him trying to get his band back together, man. I'm sure that at some point during the scriptwriting there was a kind of thematic link between these subplots, but the end result seems more like one movie having cameo roles in other movies.
By the way, the Uma-as-victim movie involves Thurman's relationship with her upstairs neighbor who at first appears to a kindly older man, but who gradually becomes more obsessed and violent. I don't know if it's just me or not, but I'd swear that the actor based his performance on Gore Vidal. He certainly appears to have Vidal's speech patterns and mannerisms. But maybe that's just me.
You'll notice a last name in the cast list. Paul Dillon plays Thurman's loser friend (and he's from Baltimore; Lord help us), but you'll be more familiar with his brother, Matt. Paul does not seem to have had much of an acting career beyond this film. He only has two other credits at IMDB, one of which is "Cop #1" in something called SPIKE OF BENSONHURST (sounds delicious).
Speaking of the cast list, if you buy this movie with the expectation of seeing a lot of Steve Buscemi doing his usual Steve Buscemi schtick, you'll no doubt be slightly disappointed -- he's only in one short scene. He plays the former lead guitarist in Paul Dillon's band and his first line is "Eeeeeh, alright... Eeeeeeh, wanna beer?" This pretty much encapsulates his entire three and a half minute performance (I timed it). Though despite his brief appearance, he is quite entertaining while he's there.
Additionally, I should give credit to the actors playing Thurman's victims who are so slimy and creepy and unpleasant, that I wished she'd have killed them instead of merely rendering them unconscious. (Actually, watching the film the first time I thought she had indeed been leaving a string of dead rich guys in her wake. It was only after reading summaries on-line and rewatching some passages that I realized my mistake.)
There are enough strange touches to keep this film entertaining; whether they were deliberate or not is none of my concern. Every television in the movie (except, for some reason, Buscemi's) only shows old Donald Duck cartoons. There's a very arty flashback to the creepy older man's daughter leaving on a plane.
It seems to anticipate by a few years the Pulp Fiction style of having two characters sit and talk about unrelated topics purely to demonstrate their personalities. Now, before you hurt yourselves laughing, I will gladly concede that Tarantino did a far far better job that these writers. And yet I couldn't help but be reminded of the dialog from that later film.
There is no mistaking this for a anything but a cheaply-made independent film, created by people with a little more enthusiasm than talent. You can see glimmers, however, of where this could have been a much stronger movie. The script is almost there; it needs another draft or two to allow the screenwriters to figure out exactly where the main focus of events should be. The sound editing is poor in places (noticeable changes in the sound levels during cuts within a scene) and the production in general has a very home-made feel to it. But it's a very interesting film in many ways, and I do recommend it to anyone with an interest in studying independent filmmaking. You see things going right and things going wrong. And, for Uma Thurman fans its absolutely fascinating seeing the birth of her movie career, seemingly already with full possession of her powers."
Bindy Sue Frønkünschtein | under the rubble | 06/11/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Yep, this is indeed Uma's first film. She plays Laura, a gal who seeks out rich men, let's them pick her up and take her back to their residences, where she drugs them and robs them blind! An old friend named Sid (Paul "Not Matt" Dillon) shows up at Laura's place unexpectedly. Laura lets him stay with her while he tries to find his old bandmate Johnny (Steve Buscemi). Meanwhile, Laura goes on with her "career". She has an older gentleman friend named William Tildon (Paul Richards), who is quietly obsessed with Laura because she reminds him of his daughter. William gets increasingly weird and Laura seems clueless about his obsession. Laura is being followed by a mysterious dark sedan that appears outside of her victiims' homes. Is it William? Sid? I enjoyed this movie. It's not the best ever, but it's certainly not a bad debut for Ms. Thurman. I gave it 4 stars because I couldn't take my eyes off of her! You can definitely see how / why she would go on to be in films like Pulp Fiction and Kill Bill..."
A bad movie featuring the impressive debut of Uma Thurman
Daniel Jolley | Shelby, North Carolina USA | 09/17/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Kiss Daddy Goodnight's only real claim to fame is its casting of Uma Thurman in her first major film role. Shot on 16mm film by director Peter Ily Huemer, this odd independent film from 1988 has little going for it in terms of plot, production quality, and vision, yet Thurman's performance injects something into the experience that makes it worth watching. Thurman plays Laura, a mysterious girl with a face that belies her character's unsavory proclivities; living alone in some obscure apartment building, Laura takes care of herself by going to bars, accompanying seemingly wealthy men home, slipping them a mickey, and robbing them. She actually has a rather complete set of wigs, each identified by the name she adopts for her money-making excursions. Early on in the film, an old acquaintance named Sid (Paul Dillon) shows up and does his best to drag the movie down into oblivion by dressing and acting as if he were Rocky Balboa. Sid's character is a stone that drags this film down into the depths of futility, and the disjointed plot does basically nothing to help the situation. On the other side of Laura stands an older male neighbor named William (Paul Richards). His relationship with Laura is a friendly one, but his fondness for the younger lady never feels exactly right. Midway through the film, Laura finds herself being stalked by some unknown individual, and tragedy begins to emerge from the shadows. The final climax offers little in the way of surprise, and then a clumsy ending seals the deal on a generally unimpressive film.Thurman, though, bears watching in this role. She really had little to work with here, swimming upstream against a plot that seemed intent on introducing basically senseless scenes whenever the film actually managed to draw one's interest. Sid spends the first half of the film looking for an old acquaintance named Johnny in hopes of putting together a band, making me question at the time why he was even in the film to begin with. Paul Dillon gives a pretty decent performance as the older man William, but the ending of the film does a lot of damage to the good work he put in early on. When all is said and done, Laura is the only character it seems possible to connect to, and Uma Thurman's impressive performance adds the layer of complexity necessary to make any part of this whole experience the least bit worthwhile; this is really a two-star film, but I'm giving it three stars solely on the basis of her performance. Uma Thurman fans would do well to seek this film out, as it is her first movie, but there's really no reason for the casual viewer to make a point of seeing Kiss Daddy Goodnight."
Cult Gem -- This movie ROCKS!!
Bacchus | Philadelphia, PA United States | 01/07/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I'm not going to go into story detail on this one. All I'll say is it's a multi-threaded character study-noir thriller, with an outstanding cast and a funky artsy New York indie tone. How anyone could even vaguely compare this to a Lifetime movie is beyond my comprehension. It belongs in the ranks of obscure under-appreciated cult classics. It's easy to see how this launched Uma Thurman's career. Her portrayal of a cutting edge hipster who's equal parts lost little girl is insanely delightful. Steve Buscemi is equally impressive in a small but tasty role, and Matt Dillon's bro Paul is perfect as a not-so-bright street urchin coming to terms with his loser existence. Paul Richards deserves mention as well, bringing a warped dignity to his character in a subtle and naturalistic performance. All this wrapped up in a neat little seedy thriller whose theme is moral relativism. If you hate big Hollywood packages and pretentious lackluster indie movies, try this puppy on for size. Warning: this one has a dark East Coast feel. Sort of a twisted sadistic version of Smithereens. If you need your morality Midwestern cut and dried and feel that today's movies are polluting our society, this definitely ain't for you. This goes on my Top Ten of all time list."