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Scott Ventura >> Movie Commentary >> March 1998 >> Wild Things

Wild Things

Movie Commentary by Scott Ventura


Scott's Rating:
4 / 5
Times Seen:
Viewing Dates on Record:
March 1998, April 2000
IMDB Name:
Wild Things (1998)
John McNaughton
crime, suspense
MPAA Rating:
R for strong sexuality, nudity, language and some violence.

Guilty Pleasures

There are some movies that can only be properly appreciated with the proper frame of mind. If you're prepared for the trashiness of Wild Things, then you'll have a good time. Go in expecting more than pulp, and you'll be disappointed. So what, you may ask, makes this movie worth seeing? The list is actually quite long.

We'll start with the acting. We have Bill Murray in the type of cynical, humorous role that made him a star. The combination of laid-back bum and self-confident lawyer could only be successfully combined by somebody like Murray. The character doesn't get much screen time, but it's a very memorable part.

We have Neve Campbell and Denise Richards playing girls from vastly different parts of town, but with equally shady backgrounds on both sides. Yes, almost any two fairly attractive females could've been plugged into the role, but fans of Campbell's previous works hit the roof when they see her do what she does here! I suppose I should mention that this movie contains lots of skin. This is not for the faint of heart!

We have Kevin Bacon and Daphne Rubin-Vega playing cops. Bacon plays bad cop. He's kicked off the case, but pursues it anyway, and the rest of the role is just as cliched. Rubin- Vega has great screen presence, but she has to play the worried, good cop. Speaking of cliched, Robert Wagner and Theresa Russell also get to spout juicy lines like "I find you around my daughter again, you'll be finished, period."

Trashy characters like this need a plot and a setting to stink up. The murky universe known as South Florida is used as the stage. With all the heat and humidity, it's much more believable that this kind of thing would happen. The plot probably wouldn't fly in any other part of the country. Add in the George S. Clinton score and you really feel like you're in the seediest town on earth. The plot is oddly silly, but the hook is the constant anticipation of who will double-cross who next. The double-crossing starts pretty early, so the suspense must maintain a fairly steady pitch for a long while. I thought it did alright in that respect. The plot does have some missing details, which are filled in during the credits. I'm glad that these bits are placed at the end, because they would take the wind out of the last hour of the movie if presented in chronological sequence with the rest.

DVD Comments

The Wild Things DVD has two bonuses: a commentary track and deleted scenes. The commentary has director John McNaughton, editor Elena Maganini, producers Rodney M. Liber and Steven A. Jones, cinematographer Jeffrey L. Kimball, and composer George S. Clinton. Between the six of them, somebody is almost always talking. There is one moment I noticed that the movie's audio is not mixed lower, and it's hard to separate the commentary from the dialogue. There are three deleted scenes. The first is Bill Murray and Robert Wagner having lunch with a terrific punchline. The second is a series of improvisations by the masterful Murray. The last is presented without comment or sound, and I didn't realize what it was until I heard the explanation in the commentary track.

The movie is available with 5.1 and 2.0 English audio, 2.0 French audio, and the commentary. The menus separate the commentary as an audio choice but it can be found under "Extra Features". Subtitles are available in English and French, and they don't stray from the letterbox matte, a nice touch. The scene selector setup is resaonable unless you want to go backwards. The "previous page" control is three arrow buttons away from the default control.

See the IMDB information on Wild Things's DVD or compare prices at DVD Price Search.

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Copyright 1998-2001 by Scott Ventura. All rights reserved.