Monday, February 23, 2009

Netflix pick of the month: THE LAST SEDUCTION

Villains are far more interesting than heroes. Just ask Heath Ledger (if you could). Without Lex Luthor Superman is just another boring jock on steroids. Years ago Marie Osmond was touring in THE SOUND OF MUSIC and one reviewer said she was so sweet and sugary you found yourself rooting for the Nazis. Bad guys = Good movies.

There are villains you love to hate. And then there is Linda Fiorentino in THE LAST SEDUCTION. If I may coin a word, she is a VILF!

THE LAST SEDUCTION is a 1995 film noir treat, written by Steve Barancik and directed by John Dahl (who sadly has been relegated to television while Michael Bay continues to make features). Linda is the ultimate femme fatale, absconding her husband’s drug money (Bill Pullman as Ralph Bellamy) and disappearing into this small town where she turns Peter Berg into her boy toy for utter amusement. In true noir fashion she lures him into committing murder and the twists and turns come fast and furious.

And all the while you love her sultry voice, her chutzpah, smarts, and delicious wickedness. It’s DOUBLE INDEMNITY meets GOODBYE COLUMBUS.

Oh, and it’s one of the sexiest movies this side of first half of BODY HEAT before it dissolved into a jumbled mess.

THE LAST SEDUCTION and Linda should have been up for a gaggle of Academy Awards but due to a technicality (the movie played first on HBO) it wasn’t eligible. But it did win all kinds of Indie Spirit Awards, which everyone knows is far more prestigious.

THE LAST SEDUCTION. See it with someone you want to have sex with or kill.

29 comments:

Tim W. said...

Why does it seem like the Last Seduction came out so much longer ago? Linda Fiorentino was supposed to be on the verge, but it never materialized.

I remember when it came out and I heard so many good things about it. I watched it and was very underwhelmed. Maybe I'd heard too many good things? I might try and watch it again.

Karen from Mentor said...

Ken,
I spewed oatmeal when I got to the line..."see it with someone you want to have sex with or kill".

Anonymous said...

nothing wrong with being "relegated" to television. TV is better then the movies.

have you SEEN The Wire yet?

John F. Opie said...

Hi Ken -

Awesome choice. This is one of the great unsung films of the 1990s, one that was simply extremely well done and Ms. Fiorentino rocked and ruled.

She could of persuaded Mr. Hitchcock not to bother with his bloodless blondes...

Anonymous said...

Anonymous: You are absolutely right. TV dramas are now much more nuanced than the vast majority of movies. TV is the one place we can still have an unhappy ending in popular entertainment.

Lee said...

Anyone who has enjoyed this outstanding movie (and who wouldn't?) should catch "Red Rock West", also by John Dahl and very similar in tone.

Anonymous said...

Ken,
if you enjoyed "Last Seduction", you should check out "Red Rock West". Another wonderful noir film.

Anonymous said...

Loved this movie, and I was disappointed Linda never had another great role like this. Didn't she wind up in "Men In Black"?

rms said...

Terrific choice! I loved this movie. Thanks for the reminder; I'll have to watch this again.

I agree with Karen from Mentor: fabulous last line - ..."see it with someone you want to have sex with or kill."

Mike said...

Sounds great the way you describe it -- and definitely like something I'd love.

But the graphic...which I assume is from the cover... makes it looks like its a straight-to-video stinker you'd find in the bargain bin at Blockbuster... the best of which you'd be able to enjoy on Cinemax on late night weekends, if you know what I mean.

Kirk Jusko said...

That woman managed to stay cool and stay manipulative right toward the "end"

Vermonter17032 said...

Yes, Linda Fiorentino is one of the sexiest actresses alive... I have never understood why she hasn't appeared in more films. I first fell for her as the older woman in the wonderful coming of age movie, Vision Quest (another overlooked gem, especially for former high school wrestlers like myself).

Michael Zand said...

Another terrific John Dahl film was "Kill Me Again," with Val Kilmer and Joanne Whaley. Hot and sexy with usual Dahl twists and turns.

I think Dahl had the misfortune to come along after the heyday of film noir. Our audiences are so dumbed down that the only refuge of intelligent film makers seems to be cable channels like HBO, AMC, FX and TNT.

For anyone who missed it the first season of "Breaking Bad" should be on DVD. Catch it before the 2nd season starts. Dark, hilarious and moving.

the third coast said...

Linda Fiorentino was also good in Dogma.

My other half is fond of a line in Last Seduction (said by Bill Pullman to Linda F) that he uses when I threaten to do something that really, really annoys him:

"You'd better run!"

alan said...

Smart villains are always more interesting than stupid ones. My vote for most interesting smart villain is Hans Gruber from Die Hard.

Duffy said...

How about "someone you want to have sex with and/or kill"?

45 is the new 30 said...

I originally read Michael Zand's post "Another terrific John Dahl film was "Kill Me Again," with Val Kilmer and Joanne Whaley" as mentioning Joanne WORLEY (the relatively-older brunette from "Laugh In") ... wouldn't THAT have been a disturbing combo???

Thanks for the recommendation, Ken - sounds like a good one to put in the queue!

J.J. said...

As difficult as she is to work with (and she is, believe me), she Fliorentino could seduce me anytime...

There's an awful sequel (starring Joan Severance of TV's Wise Guy fame--say I wonder whatever happen to the three stars of that show anyway) picking up after she sets Berg up and she starts life anew in France...

J said...

Just in case someone hasn't updated you about Heath Ledger.
He died in January of 2008 and was remembered at last years Awards.
I agree with you..best show ever kudos to handsome Hugh..
But I do have one thought about Sophia Loren , Goldie Hawn and anyone else it applies too.
Woman whose breasts are no longer perky should refrain from low cut dresses
GiGi at
greentea.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

or how about "have sex, kill, and then have sex again"?

I agree with Anonymous (but I wish you posted your name, I mean goddamn, how am I supposed to know if you're not a jew if you don't post your names??), good TV is better than most motion pictures. There's no time for character development on a 3 hour movie, which means every character has to present itself as a pre-existing stereotype.

Also, holly crap, Heath Ledger is dead? then who was phone?!?!

Alan Coil said...

John F. Opie said:

"She could of persuaded..."

Sorry to be That Guy, John, but this one really bugs me.

Could have can be shortened to 'could've', but not 'could of'.

"She could've persuaded..."

wv: ledes--something that needs to be buried.

Rob S. said...

Amen! Whatta movie!

rob! said...

My pitch: remake Bound, but with Linda Fiorentino and Diane Lane.

BO prediction: 80 jagillion dollars, opening weekend.

Lizbeth said...

I think it's funny (or maybe telling) that most if not all the commenters who love this film are men.

I barely remember what it's about but do recall I didn't care for it and thought it was wildly overrated. I might have even thought it was a bit cheesy.

Linda Fiorentino never broke out because her acting skills with clothes never matched those of her acting skills sans clothes.

Marisa Tomei is currently suffering the same disease. She can't get an Oscar nod if she's fully dressed. You guys are so easily distracted by boobs. LOL.

Dan Coyle said...

I liked The Last Seduction, but I didn't love it; I felt that it was pretty predictable. Fiorentino's character is clearly so much smarter than anyone else in the room the ending's a foregone conclusion.

Fiorentino has a rep for being mercurial- Kevin Smith badmouthed her after Dogma, praising her performance but saying she was extremely difficult to deal with (then again, perhaps Fioretino looked at the script and realized her character was essentially raped by God at the end- I'd be difficult too).

What really kneecapped her career, though, was a lawsuit she was involved in after dropping out of a film. It sounds like she was in the right- she was doing a biopic of an artist and the producers came in and wanted to sex it up, which wasn't what she signed on for. Then they sued her, she counter-sued, and that took her out of circulation.

Anonymous said...

I'd heard that she was a PITA to work with. Most producers / directors would rather not deal with the hassle unless you are getting a vintage Hoffman performance out of the effort.

I loved the film and thought that the final coupe de gras was particularly vicious.

Joe said...

At least you didn't say "see it with someone you'd kill to have sex with."

P.S. Linda Fiorentino was NASA-hot going back to Vision Quest (memory whiplash, anyone?)

jbryant said...

Lizbeth: I haven't seen Last Seduction in a while, but I recall being similarly meh on it. I did like Fiorentino's performance (even the clothed portions), but she hasn't impressed me much since.

But I've got to stand up for Marisa Tomei, who is a fantastic actress, clothed or unclothed. Despite the crap she's taken for the Academy's daring to honor her over a group of distinguished veterans (in a lowly comedy, no less!), she has continued to give a number of award-worthy performances. I've by no means seen all her films, but she's superb in Unhook the Stars, Slums of Beverly Hills, In the Bedroom and The Wrestler. She was fun in The Guru, and highly acclaimed for Before the Devil Knows You're Dead. I haven't seen the latter, but she wasn't nominated for it, despite mucho nudity. So there goes your theory. :)

Kirk Jusko said...

It was a stereotypical character Tomei played in My Cousin Vinnie, yet she managed to make it seem fresh.