It’s time again for another Doug Benson Movie Interruption at Cinefamily in Los Angeles. For those who are unfamiliar, movie interruptions consist of Benson, a standup comedian/podcast kingpin, and his funny friends making jokes over a movie MST3K-style. Usually Doug chooses recent blockbusters (such as Thor: The Dark World) or recent critical failures (such as Maleficent), but lately he has been tackling movies with a better reputation, hence tonight’s interrupting of the Shane Black-written, Renny Harlin-directed 90’s artifact The Long Kiss Goodnight.
A movie interruption is a really strange way to see a movie for the first time, but I’ve done it before. I probably would not have gotten through Now You See Me or John Carter without the added interest of comedians riffing. But The Long Kiss Goodnight is supposed to be good on its own. Doug spoke to its quality beforehand, and I’ve never seen a Shane Black movie I didn’t like. I’ve also never seen a Shane Black movie that wasn’t set at Christmas. What’s that about?
The film stars Geena Davis as Samantha Caine, a schoolteacher and mother with retrograde amnesia, which has wiped out all memory of her life from before eight years prior. But she seems content with her current existence, hiring private investigators like Mitch Henessey (Samuel L. Jackson) every once in a while to look into her past. Well, Mitch manages to succeed where others have failed and makes a breakthrough – a breakthrough that reveals Samantha’s secret history as a badass CIA assassin long-believed dead. The truth is out now, though, and plenty of people want to put Samantha in the grave they thought she had already occupied.
Joining Doug for the Interruption were Doug Mellard, Kevin Avery, and Geoff Tate. I had never heard of any of these men before, but I am far from a comedy encyclopedia, so I was still prepared to laugh. It all ended up being a bit of a non-factor though, as the evening ended up consisting of a bunch of people just watching The Long Kiss Goodnight. There were a couple of jokes tossed in here and there, but everyone really just watched the movie. At one point Doug even asked the other comics to lay off on the jokes so that he could hear the dialogue.
I don’t fully blame him – Shane Black dialogue can be quite amusing, but The Long Kiss Goodnight isn’t just a Shane Black film. It’s also a Renny Harlin film, with all of the cringe-worthy effects and misogyny that name implies. The movie still works as a Shane Black appetizer, however, in preparation for something like Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. Much like Robert Downey Jr.’s character in that film, Samuel L. Jackson plays a ordinary investigative type who finds himself sucked into a situation with which he isn’t really prepared to deal. The Long Kiss Goodnight is most lively when it allows Jackson to play with sarcasm and incredulity, but unfortunately Davis is main focus. (Also I didn’t realize how refreshing it would be to watch Jackson play a normal guy – more of that, please.) Black obviously took the correct lesson away from this movie, and it shows in his directorial debut.
So, The Long Kiss Goodnight? A fun and ridiculous movie. The Doug Benson Movie Interruption of The Long Kiss Goodnight? Not nearly as successful. Perhaps Doug and company should stick to bad movies. Still, always nice to be exposed to a new film. Thanks, I guess.