Geena Davis

The Long Kiss Goodnight

Year: 1996
Directed By: Renny Harlin
Written By: Shane Black


Such an interesting time it was when the pairing of Renny Harlin and Shane Black was a formula for success.  This movie came out at the end of an era when mindless action movies could have an R-rating and still have the potential to turn a significant profit.  I miss those days because even though most of these movies were really stupid I still enjoyed most of them.  I was 12 when this movie came out, and at that age the bigger the explosions and the bigger the lead female’s breast the better. This movie has all that but gets a boost from the fact that Samuel L Motherfucking Jackson is in it. Any movie, no matter the premise or context, is better when Samuel L Jackson is in it, period.  The film has a lot of over the top action and unlikely scenarios but those are to be expected from movies by both Harlin and Black. This film, being a collaboration between the two, may exaggerate that quality a bit. While everything might all be a bit too much in this film there is still plenty to like about it.  In fact, Harlin and Jackson both are on record mentioning it as one of their favorite movies that they worked on.

I watched this movie recently when I was on vacation with my brother.  It was interesting because we both grew up with it being a household favorite.  The two of us watching it together found little else in the film but things to make fun of. There is plenty to laugh off as ridiculous in this movie. For example, the scene in which Samantha starts cutting vegetables. The music alone makes it goofy as hell when the tone goes from suspenseful to lighthearted back to suspenseful in a matter of minutes. As a viewer it’s hard to tell if the scene is supposed to be horrifying or humorous. In good company there can be different perspectives on the table though and now that I am watching the movie on my own I’m seeing it differently.  Don’t get me wrong, this is not a film to be taken seriously, but still there can be plenty to like here if you are in the right mood for it.

Samuel L Jackson is a gem who has made many roles his own.  I am generally under the theory that by and large he is and always will be Jules from Inglewood.  That’s OK though, because Jules was one of the greatest characters of all time.  He has played the character time and time again with different names and situations but he will always be Jules. There is a little bit of Jules in Mitch from this movie, and if nothing else it is Mitch who makes this movie worth wild.  He has so many great scenes in this film.  Here is a good example of what he brought to the film:

That’s just a taste of the comedic quality Jackson brought to the movie.  He is hands down one of my favorite actors of all time and while I don’t watch everything he does I do love him in everything I see him in.  I’ll be honest; this film collection may have Snakes on a Plane lurking in the “S” section specifically because Samuel L Jackson is awesome. I think the fact that he has mentioned this movie as one of his favorites when he has made almost 150 movies says something important and if nothing else it makes this movie worth your time to see it.

I have always liked Geena Davis, but in truth that is probably only because she was in her prime while I was going through puberty. Still, despite movies like this, she turned in a few impressive performances in her time. I think it was a bit of a stretch for Renny Harlin to try to make an action star out of his wife but she made a better effort than Angelina Jolie ever did. Despite how much of an apocalyptic failure Cutthroat Island was I always liked it but I think this collaboration between Harlin and Davis was much better. She looked pretty good in the pirate get-up but she had the right attitude for Samantha Caine and Charlie Baltimore both despite being such an exaggerated character.  

Some films have a timeless quality that enables them to live on forever and relate to every generation that comes along.  This is not one of those movies.  The Long Kiss Goodnight is the kind of movie that you just had to be there to really enjoy.  It’s hard to look back now and appreciate this movie but if you were there, living life in the mid 90s and loving these kinds of actions movies, then you get it.  This movie was a product of its time, just as I am, and having that in common I like this movie even though it may be pretty silly when that wasn’t at all what it was going for.  If you remember the good old days when bad guys and good guys alike both used the fuck word with an aggressive frequency and enjoyed them as I did then this one is worth your time.  If nothing else it is worth seeing just because Samuel L Jackson was awesome in it.

NEXT MOVIE: Look Who’s Talking (1989) This is an embarrassment I know, read our next review to see easy it is to get caught up in the moment and make stupid decisions. 

Cutthroat Island

Year: 1995
Directed By: Renny Harlin
Written By: Several writers


OK…..maybe I took a History of Pirates course in college, and received credit for it as part of my American history studies.  The class sounded really cool at the time and should have been really, but it was a disappointment in the end.  We more or less spent the summer semester watching movies about pirates, such as this one.  I do in fact really like this movie, but I have to be honest.  When this film is being viewed in a college class then both time and money has been wasted.

I find this film really exciting mainly because I was eleven years old when I first saw it and it was the most awesome movie ever.  I still enjoy this movie because while it is over the top and regularly ridiculous it is still awesome. This film is, or at least was, actually listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the biggest box office bust of all time.  It is the movie that put Carolco Pictures in the tank being the last movie the studio made before filing for bankruptcy.  Carolco Pictures made many big time action movies during the 80s and early 90s, many starring Stallone or Schwarzenegger.  This movie literally put an end to pirate themed movies until Disney made Pirates of the Caribbean.   While the movie does deserve plenty of the criticism it receives the film isn’t as bad a plenty others that only stand apart because they made more money. This movie was made on a $98 million budget and had a US gross of only $10 million.  That is pretty low but I really don’t understand why more people didn’t go to see it.  I think obviously the world wasn’t ready for Geena Davis to be a powerhouse action star.

Geena Davis was actually married to the director of the film, Renny Harlin.  He obviously wasn’t thinking straight when he decided to cast his wife, and he practically killed her career.  Although they would do another over the top action movie a year later that I also love, it was the Long Kiss Godnight . I am a big fan of Geena Davis and irregardless how campy and goofy she might be in this role I still liked her as a pirate.  Her lines are dumb, but she looked so good and she is always kicking ass.  Matthew Modine did nothing to advance his disappointing career with this role.  His lines are worse than Davis’s and he doesn’t deliver them as well. I do like Frank Langella as the bad guy though, it’s a shame nobody saw this movie simply because he does do a good job.  He will never be able to top his best role as a villian though.

I have been pretty open about the fact that I can be a sucker for a stupid action movie so this movie is obviously right up my alley.  It is overloaded with action to the point that I am shocked the budget was on $98 million.  On top of all the action the movie does great work in production.  The costumes look good, the sets and ships look good.  The movie follows many cliches about pirates but I’d have to say that was appropriate for an action packed pirate movie.  I’m pretty sure Renny wasn’t after any Academy Awards when he made this one. He just wanted to make a fun action movie, and there is alot to be said about a fun movie you don’t have to put too much thought into.


Ryan told me this movie was still good even though it holds the Guinness Book of World Records for the biggest box office flop in history. How can it still be good? That is like saying Gigli was a good movie. That movie may have even surpassed this one in box office flops. When we watched this movie the other night I thought I was going to die. This movie is completely boring and unrealistic. And although I really do like Geena Davis, I really can’t stand her in this movie. I also just in general did not like this movie. Unless you are an eleven year old boy, I wouldn’t recommend watching this movie. It is a total snooze fest.

NEXT MOVIE: The Darjeeling Limited (2007)


Year: 1988
Directed By: Tim Burton
Written By: Michael McDowell & Larry Wilson


I love this movie, it is one of my favorites of all time.  It’s such an imaginative story and the movie is so well made.  Tim Burton had a great cast to work with and Danny Elfman added the magical touch with a great musical score. The afterlife is life’s ultimate mystery, this movie offers a unique view of what comes after death. This is one of those movies that is really one of a kind, you won’t find any others like this.  That was what made Tim Burton great, that he could make something so different and interesting.

This movie was made when Tim Burton was red-hot, coming out right before Batman in 1989.  This is one of those movies where everyone was really great.  Winona Ryder was great as the young gothic Lydia.  Michael Keaton was fantastic as the title character, he has said before that this was his favorite character of all that he played.  Catherine O’Hara is perfect as the snobbish and über stylish Delia.  Jeffery Jones, I always liked him as an actor, his fall from grace has been disappointing and unforgivable.   Alec Baldwin was so young in this movie that he is nearly unrecognizable. I am a Geena Davis fan and like many of her movies but I have never thought she was especially good in this one.  Anybody could have played her part.  Danny Elfman delivers big time for Burton with his score on this film, he is a great composer.  The rest of the soundtrack is great too and the “Day-O” dance scene is classic.

I remember watching the Beetlejuice cartoons as a kid which were inspired by the film and also produced by Tim Burton.  Maybe it’s that show that endeared the character to me so much but I have always loved the character and this film.  If you have never seen Beetlejuice then you should give it a shot.  It comes on ABC Family on a regular basis.


This is one of my favorite movies of all time. I don’t mind having it playing in the background and I don’t mind watching it a million times. There is something so intriguing for me when there is a movie about the after life, whether it is serious or not. I am a huge fan of the idea that you still live among the living to either haunt them or whatever. Michael Keaton does a great job as Beetlejuice in this movie. I think it shows his diversity. I also think his Batman voice was a lot better in this film than in the Batman movies.

I also have to point out Wynona Ryder here in this post. Isn’t she just so cute and innocent. Before all the wierdness and shoplifting. I really thought she was going someplace when I was younger, it is sad to see how that turned out.

What is your favorite scene in this movie? Mine is definitely by far the dinner scene when they are all forced to sing “Day O.” How awesome is that scene, for real…in fact here it is for your entertainment. If you haven’t seen the movie it should give you the motivation to see it.

NEXT MOVIE: Beverly Hills Cop (1984)