CANNON MONTH 2: Something Wild (1986)

EDITOR’S NOTE: Something Wild was not produced by Cannon but was sold on videotape by HBO/Cannon Video.

I’ll be perfectly honest: so much of what I find attractive in the opposite sex can best be summed up by a series of Melanie Griffith roles: the toughness of Edith Johnson in Cherry 2000, the smarts of Tess McGill in Working Girl, the unashamed sexuality of Holly Body in Body Double and the dangerous edge of Audrey Hankel in this film. Thanks, Melanie Griffith for if not always introducing me to the right women at least having me find the interesting ones.

Charles Driggs (Jeff Daniels) has no wife, a job he hates and no excitement in his life when Audrey (or Lulu) blows into his life like a hurricane. The problem is that she also has a violent husband Ray Sinclair (Ray Liotta) who tears their new relationship into pieces.

Directed by Jonathan Demme and written by E. Max Frye, I remember staring at the box art for this movie and wondering how nervous I’d be if I ever encountered an Audrey in my life, never mind Ray. Girls always seemed — they still do, who am I kidding? — like a mystery, a frightening thing that could destroy your life and make you do things you never dreamed of. This movie in no way dispelled my thoughts. In fact, it both excited and frightened me.

Demme has a great cast in those too, like Tracy Walter (Bob the Goon!), John Sayles, Charles Napier and John Waters as a used car salesman. I love that he went from movies like Caged Heat and Crazy Mama to Married to the MobThe Silence of the Lambs and Philadelphia. His death left behind a major hole in American cinema. He also wrote Angels Hard as They ComeThe Hot BoxFighting Mad and White Mama Black Mama, along with writing Stop Making Sense and directing videos for The Talking Heads. Speaking of them, when you see the older ladies running the re-sale shop, that’s Demme’s and David Byrne’s mothers.

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