Why has time forgotten this classic?
Robert Naugle | 05/02/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I thought Demme walked on water after seeing this movie (and its follow-ups, Married to the Mob and Silence of the Lambs). I love the layers of texture to this movie--there's always some set decoration I never noticed before, and the performances he wrings out of his stable of actors is great. This movie defined "alternative" when it was released, and deftly pulled off the seemingly impossible feat of starting out screwball comedy and turning violent halfway thru without losing its voice. All three leads have never done better than they did here (okay, maybe Liotta in Goodfellas). So why is SW subjected to the basement of video VHS? This movie made tons of critics top 10 lists for the Eighties (sadly not much of a challenge, but still...) and yet can't even get a DVD date to prom. Wild..."
Great musical time capsule for the time
firstname.lastname@example.org | Las Vegas, NV | 01/26/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"First, the music in this movie. Director Jonathan Demme has always put good songs in, but "Something Wild" might be the best example. Just about every song used reminds me of the good things about inventive creative music from the 80's, while leaving the garbage out. Thus the "time capsule" header, as this is the way I'd like to remember that era. The movie itself is a wild roller coaster that is somewhat of an updated version of a Hitchcock movie. The comparison here is based on an everyday guy getting himself drawn deeper and deeper in to a situation, where he not only at times escape is fairly difficult, but he'll eventually have to fight for his life. But what makes it more intriguing is that when the everyday guy does get a chance to escape, he finds his situation so intriguing that he changes his mind. He not only spies on the situation he probably should be running away from as fast as he can, but he also confronts it in one of the most ballsy scenes in movie history. The restaurant scene where he virtually walks in and takes the girl from the nasty bad guy is a cinematic treat. So is the casting. Jeff Daniels is perfect as the everyday guy. It's disappointing to see Melanie Griffith today, because in this movie she absolutely sizzles as the bad girl who gets him into the predicament, but also has a good side that wants to get out of the bad life. And the screen debut of Ray Liotta is absolutely electrifying as an intelligent violent man, and I'm sure this is what got him the recognition that led to "Goodfellas". I'm amazed that I saw this movie while well into my adult life, and considering that was already sixteen years ago, I'm starting to feel old again."
email@example.com | 09/01/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I realize it might be a little late, but to the student from Santa Clara, to proclaim "Something Wild" as a deeply religious movie would not be too far off the mark. Director Jonathan Demme uses an abundance of crosses and portraits of the Virgin Mary in many scenes (at "Mom and Dad's Restaurant"; "Peaches"'s house; Lulu's apartment) and many scenes from the film mirror the Good Samaritan parable of the Bible: the hitchhikers Charlie and Lulu pick up; the little black girl who asks Charlie if he needs help outside the gospel church; the naive teen who pays for Ray's dinner after Charlie and Lulu leave him stranded at the restaurant; the gas-station attendant ("Attempt to be cool!"); the man at the motel who offers Charlie Pepto-Bismol to conquer his hangover ("It's better to be a live dog than a dead lion."); and ultimately Charlie and Lulu, who each gives the other something they've been longing to have. Lulu gives Charlie a rebellion which had only previously been "channeled into the mainstream" and thusly ends his repression; and Charlie gives Lulu a sense of comfort and love after years of one-night stands in motel rooms. I'm sure you could even make something out of the religious radio program Ray is listening to as he is embarking for an all-night search for revenge. Of course I have seen this film many times and one of its many strengths is its watchability. Why this film isn't cited in more film-buff circles is beyond me, but let me go on record saying that this is a great movie. It is precisely these deep subtexts which make me want to pop it in the VCR for the millionth time. Well, that and the soundtrack. I love this movie simply because it's so damn quirky! Besides, when's the last time a movie had the nerve to end on such a bizarre note as this one and still not seem tacked on? Of course let me warn you, do NOT view this movie on Comedy Central: they edit so much out and break so frequently for commercials that the spontaneity one gets from watching this movie for the first time is lost. I suggest renting this movie, turning out all the lights and popping it in the VCR at midnight or so. Trust me, there's magic in it."
Bomojaz | South Central PA, USA | 03/19/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"A straight-laced banker (Jeff Daniels) is confronted by a woman (Melanie Griffith) after walking out of a restaurant without paying; rather than turning him in, she invites him to come with her--and there begins a wild and eventually tragic weekend. She takes him first to a motel to make love, then home to her mother, then to her 10th-year high school reunion, where she meets an old hoodlum flame (Ray Liotta). They rob a store and Liotta kidnaps Griffith, so Daniels decides to rescue her. The best part of the movie is the first half, where nothing makes sense and everything is a surprise: there's total unpredictability and Daniels is basically helpless. Things get fuzzy after he decides to rescue Griffith, but he's broken from the "chains" (routine, dullsville) that have bound him before he met her. Quite a romp."