Thursday, 12 January 2012

Wild Things (1998)

Wild Things is a twisty, stylish, sexy thriller that features a great cast all doing a great job. It's also quite trashy and stretches things further and further with each scene but I still love it (and, no, that's not just because of the scenes in which Denise Richards goes topless . . . . . . . . . . it's because of Theresa Russell too).

While aiming to keep things as spoiler-free as possible, I shall describe the plot thus: Matt Dillon plays Sam Lombardo, a popular and handsome guidance counselor who is accused of a heinous crime by Kelly Van Ryan (Denise Richards). It's simply untrue, according to Sam, but Kelly is the daughter of Sandra Van Ryan (Theresa Russell) and Sandra Van Ryan has the money and influence to make sure that Sam no longer has a place in his town. Kevin Bacon and Daphne Rubin-Vega are the two main cops on the case and Neve Campbell plays Suzie Toller, a girl who may end up playing an important part in the proceedings. Oh, and I'd better not forget to mention the great performance from Bill Murray as Ken Bowden, just about the only lawyer who will take a chance on defending Sam.

There's a clever, fun script by Stephen Peters and great direction from the talented John McNaughton (who provided audiences with the very different, and disturbing, Henry: Portrait Of A Serial Killer and also directed the enjoyable Mad Dog & Glory) that manages to create a darker and darker style while still maintaining the colour and heat of the Florida locations.

A decent score by George S. Clinton accompanies the action but the icing on the cake is the acting from everyone involved. Matt Dillon is always a great actor, as is Kevin Bacon, so you expect them to do good things. And they do. Neve Campbell is just fine and Denise Richards is fantastic (she's actually very good in the right roles, such as her part in Drop Dead Gorgeous, but that often seems to be ignored because of her physical attributes). Bill Murray is another actor I'd watch in just about anything and he's as wonderful as ever here. Daphne Rubin-Vega easily holds her own and does well to avoid her character being pushed into the background.

Trashy and sexy fun, this is the kind of movie you'll probably enjoy if you liked Cruel Intentions and the fantastic Body Heat. And make sure that you keep watching the credits at the end of the movie to see a number of crucial revelations.



  1. I think it's superior to "Cruel Intentions" in every aspect. It's been a while since last time I saw it, though, but even while I have seen more times "Cruel Intentions", I often find it boring. And "Wild Things" sure ain't boring.

    When it came out, I expected Denisse Richards to be big, because I thought she was not only extremely hot, but also talented. Too bad I was wrong. Or perhaps Sheen got the best of her. Who knows. I think she still could pull off a great performance, given the chance.

  2. Agreed on Richards. I think she just doesn't really get offered any roles that could show her in a good light because she is only known as the busty gal who doesn't mind some nudity now and again. And more power to her, I say :-)

  3. I don't know how "Cougars Inc" is, but it seems that she hasn't been in anything amazing in a while. She was in "Jolene" and in "Edmond", but in minor roles.

    I do like "Tammy and the T-Rex". It's a guilty pleasure :)

  4. Funny that you mention Cougars Inc. I had a cougar double-bill planned for this week and watched Cougar Club earlier today with . . . . . . . Cougars Inc. lined up for just about now. Those reviews will be in with my IMDb lot so keep an eye on the weekly thread for 'em.
    Tammy And The T-Rex???

  5. This is one of the best movies of the entire decade of the 1990s (John McNaughton, its director, was responsible for another of that decade's best in NORMAL LIFE). I went to see it with some friends I practically had to drag to it, and by the time it was over, we were ready to go back in and catch the next show (couldn't afford it, though, so we settled for reliving it for the next two hours).

    For those who haven't seen it, there begins, about halfway through the movie, a series of reverses, in which everything you've seen is turned on its head. These reverses continue throughout the movie until the viewer begins to think them ridiculous, then it gives you one last one at the end that makes all of the others make sense. It's a great script, well played by everyone involved, and unpretentiously, boldly, even gloriously "trashy" in its every beat. It's a masterpiece of ruthless, unapologetic cynicism cranked to the nth degree, both within the story and metatextually. I was enjoying the hell out of it from its earliest moments, but when it got to the jeep-washing scene, I fell hopelessly in love with it, and was laughing my ass off at it, just as its creators intended.

  6. Good to find more fans.
    I don't have such high hopes for the sequels, that I'll be watching and reviewing over the next few days :-o

  7. I saw the 2nd and 3rd flick, and they're absolutely awful. I think there's also a 4th one, now--it probably sucks, too.

  8. Yeah. I'll be braving the fourth one tomorrow. Yikes!

  9. A classic. Never watching the sequels though lol

  10. Best not to. I wish I hadn't. lol