Those of us who survived 1980’s filmmaking entered the 1990’s thinking our youthful mistakes were behind us. This magical decade would be the one in which we made art, not easily digestible, instantly dated trash. We were wrong. Last night I caught my film The Long Kiss Goodnight on cable, and I see now that in our misplaced self-confidence, we gave the 1990’s some of the stupidest shit ever made.
The Long Kiss Goodnight is filled with 1990’s skidmarks: everyone orgasmically smokes cigarettes, actors pose rather than act, the heroine is made to look cool by bleaching her hair colorless and putting on two pounds of mascara, and basically everything seems very clever when it is in fact very stupid.
This is also one of the 10,000 Samuel Jackson movies that came out in the 1990’s. As usual, he’s the best thing in the film. We didn’t know it at the time, but Sam Jackson is either the worst thing in a good film or the best thing in a bad film. We just thought he was awesome because all our films were shit; and now that we know better we’re still stuck with him. Just like that fucking Christopher Walken.
Anyway, The Long Kiss Goodnight is about this small town mamma named Agatha Crocker who hits her head and finds that she’s actually a super-trained super-assassin named Crimson Cherry. Along with her hilarious private-eye buddy, she must find the truth behind this unknown personality. Who is she really? The soccer mom, or the badass? That’s The Long Kiss Goodnight in a nutshell, as long as we keep in mind that this is a nut-less nutshell.
Geena Davis plays the mamma assassin. May I please take this opportunity to apologize for your memory of this woman? We were married at the time; you know how it is. I didn’t realize how unsuitable she was for action films. Not only does she only weigh 80 pounds, but her face looks like God put duck lips and crossed-eyes on the Pentagon. Excluding her sister, Lori Petty, she has the least convincing voice in movie history, suitable only for voicing smart ass children in cartoons, which I believe she’s doing now in South Korea. Watching Geena Davis try to look tough is like putting a spiky collar on a chihuahua and sending the poor fucker into a Tijuana dog fight.
And yet, that’s the entire premise of the film. Mamma gets shot at a couple times and the stripper assassin comes out, never to be silenced again. Brian Cox shows up for his 10,000th role of the decade, but he’s killed pretty quickly by David Morse, in his 10,000th role of the decade. Sam Jackson’s character is stuck on an endless loop of saying something funny then getting his ass kicked. Just to wake people up, I threw in a couple seconds of Robert Altman’s The Long Goodbye. At the time I thought I was making kind of a companion film to that classic. Shit like that is what happens when you replace drugs with hugs.
How did I let this happen? How did I film a scene where Geena Davis shoots people while ice skating? Did I really think that was going to come off well? This movie is like watching your proudly ignorant parents misuse the internet. I want my eight months back!
Thank God it’s a new millennium and we’ve FINALLY figured out how to make mainstream actions movies that are less dated and silly like The Long Kiss Goodnight and more thought-out and timeless like Wolverine.