Fatal Instinct Recap

Jamie

Ned Ravine is both a cop and a lawyer (hilarious) who gets a new, hot (with a capital H) case from Lola Cain. This is all a ploy to seduce Ned for reasons that will become clear later. Meanwhile Ned’s wife plots his murder while a former defendant also plots revenge. So lots of sex and murder and sex. Find out if hilarity ensues in… Fatal Instinct.

How?! Ned Ravine is the best damn cop in town. He’s never not got his man. It’s just those damn lawyers that are letting them walk. Who are these dastardly lawyers you ask? It’s him… he’s the lawyer. He’s only ever lost one case, the case of Max Shady, and now Max is out on parole and looking for revenge. Meanwhile, Ned’s wife, Lana, is having an affair with the hot and steamy young mechanic who’s not just working on her car (if you know what I mean… it’s sex). They plan to murder Ned and get a big payout from his triple indemnity clause. Also meanwhile, Lola Cain has pursued Ned to take up her case. What is it? A sham, that’s what, because all she really wants is to get into our boy Ned’s dungarees. And boy howdy, does she. But Ned is distraught. What has he done! He loves his wife and tells Lola that they can never be together again. Lola is driven mad and begins to stalk Ned. Lana’s plan comes together and they are able to get Ned onto a train bound for Santa Barbara so that they can get that sweet sweet triple indemnity. Unfortunately for her (fortunately for Ned (and unfortunately for Max Shady)) she mistakes Max for Ned and kills him instead! Ned thinks that she must have known he was in danger and saved his life so he agrees to defend her in court against the charges of murder. He is of course successful (he’s the best, remember) and following this success Ned confronts Lola about her stalking business. She reveals that she and Lana are identical twins, but she had to have plastic surgery after a horrific face accident. Her plan the whole time was to seduce and steal him from Lana. Upon returning home after hearing this news, Ned’s secretary reveals Lana’s murder plot as well and in a climactic battle Lola kills Lana, Ned Kills Lana, and Ned’s secretary kills her murderous husband we just met. Finally, Ned and his secretary smooch a bunch. THE END.

Why?! Well this is a spoof movie so in large part the motivations are besides the point. Ned wants to solve the crimes despite being an idiot. His wife wants to kill him and get money. Lola wants to seduce Ned and cause Lana pain. In the end they all want to kill each other. 

Who?! Rosie O’Donnell goes uncredited, which is notable as she was the link to the previous movie in the chain, Now & Then. My presumption is that is was simply because the role is pretty small, but it is a speaking part so maybe both sides were OK with it going uncredited in the end. The director Carl Reiner also has a cameo as Judge Arugula, which is funny only because the writers clearly thought that naming a character Judge Arugula was funny… not sure why.

What?! For a while I thought maybe the product placements were part of the joke in the film but eventually I just realized all the Pepsi and Papa Gino’s etc. etc. etc. were just regular boring product placements. It’s a little sad actually. Despite all the jokes on jokes they don’t even attempt to integrate the product placements and play with them. Seems a little banal for a spoof film. 

Where?! Clearly takes place in LA, most notably in regards to the train to Santa Barbara that Ned almost gets killed on. They didn’t do as much as they could have with that, but it was clear enough. The only weird thing is that neither Fatal Attraction or Basic Instinct take place in LA… in fact I mostly think of San Fran when I think of erotic thrillers. Again, the appears to be because this is more of a noir spoof than an erotic thriller spoof. B

When?! This is a silly question. Spoof films almost always deal outside of space and time because they are aiming to spoof films from a long time period. In this case it’s even longer as it clearly spoofs films like Double Indemnity (1944) and Basic Instinct (1992). Probably all in all the films spoofed span just about 50 years… so who’s to say when this takes place. Sometimes it seems like the 40’s, sometimes it seems like the 90’s. F.

I have a major gripe with this film. So while I think Armand Assante was incredibly game, the filmmaking is better than it should be, and (after recapping) I appreciated the humor and goofiness of it all… I can’t help but nitpick the aspect that really bothers me about Fatal Instinct. It’s just not a spoof of Erotic Thrillers. There is way more spoofing of the old school noir and hitchcockian thriller genres and that feels a bit stale. At a time when erotic thrillers were literally at their greatest power they left an awful lot on the table regarding what is already a pretty funny genre, really only using Basic Instinct and Fatal Attraction as a general scaffold and barely touching any of the other major releases. And I don’t know why. Maybe it’s hard to spoof erotic thrillers. Maybe they’re too goofy to really pull too much from or you’ll get a Poe’s Law situation. But my guess is that they just didn’t have the right people for the job. It was directed by Carl Reiner and it shows in the quality, but he was already over 70 at that point and it makes me wonder if he was just more comfortable with the noir aspects of the script. Hard for me to get around that though. As for Two Much, that film really bothered me (and it’s not just because it’s about a man pretending to be twins, which is a crime against twins everywhere). The main character is entirely and utterly unredeemable. He has pretty much no good qualities about him and represents the lowest type of person. A man who has no backbone and is so weak that he can’t simply break up with a woman he just met who is struggling with her mental health. Instead he bamboozles her and ploys her with alcohol and drugs in order to pursue her sister who he somehow is convinced he is fated to be with (and thus justifies his actions). It is terrible and no wonder a US release was scrapped. It’s a terrible, terrible movie. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! The saddest days in BMT are the days we have to watch bad parody films. Weep for us. Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – Oh boy. There are a number of parody films out there that BMT has yet to touch on. Obviously the numerous Friedberg and Seltzer films, the later Mel Brooks, random crazy ones like the Plump Fiction. This one really went under the radar. I had barely heard of it. I have, on the other hand, watched Cape Fear, Basic Instinct, Fatal Attraction, and Sleeping With the Enemy within probably the last year or two. So I was ready to see what Carl Reiner had to offer. What were my expectations? Zero laughs, but silliness with no story. Not necessarily to be bored, but it is more of just an exasperating pointlessness.

The Good – I think this film is way funnier than people at the time gave it credit for. At the very least I found myself chuckling at the silliness. It isn’t like Wet Hot American Summer, but there are at least a few fun moments in the film, which is not at all what I was expecting. The Friedberg and Seltzer comedies are just gross and raunchy, this has an innocent silliness to it that I could appreciate. A kind of funny who’s who of early 90s actors, especially the women. I really liked Sherilyn Fenn from Twin Peaks in particular, but then there is also Sean Young who was the police chief from Ace Ventura. Best Bit: Sheer silliness.

The Bad – The film isn’t that funny and the storyline is bizarre. Halfway through you could be forgiven for wondering what exactly the storyline was meant to be. It is somehow partly a copy of several movies (Cape Fear and Sleeping With the Enemy are lifted wholesale for B storylines), but then also a noir Hitchcockian thriller with characters from Basic Instinct and Fatal Attraction peppered in. Once you get away from the heyday of the erotic thriller a lot of it just makes no sense. While the film is better than one would think, it still isn’t particularly good, and it certainly isn’t funny. Fatal Flaw: Nonsense noir story.

The BMT – This is, so far, probably the best parody film we’ve done. But that isn’t saying much, we really don’t do that many parody films. Dracula: Dead and Loving it, might end up being the one that beats it in the end, Robin Hood Men in Tights narrowly doesn’t qualify. I do think we managed to watch it at the perfect time for me, I watched a good number of the (more recent) films being referenced. If we had tried to watch it 5 years ago I would have been so lost. Did it meet my expectations? It exceeded them. At least it wasn’t boring. I don’t think it’ll have much legs in BMT lore, but it’ll probably come up in terms of other more recent parody films we do.

Roast-radamas – A just okay Setting as a Character (Where?) for the clear Los Angeles setting. It is necessary for the Chinatown / general noir feeling, so definitely ends up being a very LA film. I’ll throw Worst Twist (How?) out there as an unfortunately odd and convoluted twin connection. I think I’m going to throw this lightly into the Bad bin because I wouldn’t want to watch it again, I’d rather watch Mafia!

StreetCreditReport.com – I can’t find any list that includes it. The only video I could find including it was just a Siskel & Ebert video whereby they merely gave it two thumbs down, it didn’t make their year end worst of list. And it definitely didn’t even get close to getting onto any worst spoof film lists I could find. Basically this is the definition of mid-table. If not for its twin connection I’m not exactly sure when we would have watched the film. That is 100% its cred, the fact that the plot involves twins.

Bring a Friend Analysis – This week we watched the barely-not-qualifying Two Much starring Antonio Banderas, Melanie Griffith, and Darryl Hannah. Released to around 500 theaters there was much debate at BMTHQ as to what exactly the qualifications are to be a BMT film, but we finally relegated it to Friend as the traditional cutoff is “wide release” on Box Office Mojo (i.e. 600 theaters). And wowza, is this film a doozy. The main issue is that the main character is a reprehensible monster. We meet him as he is grifting widows during their husbands’ funerals. Later on, because god forbid our “hero” learn anything, he drugs Griffith’s wine so that he can date Hannah later in the evening, but whoops! The sommelier merely thinks he’s a serial rapist and is aghast at the gaul of this monster to rape two women in the same evening by drugging the same extremely expensive bottle of wine at the same restaurant … what is happening in this film!? All of it winds away to its inevitable (happy?) conclusion. Ultimately it feels like an incredibly gross film I can’t stop thinking about … but also one that you can kind of get the gist of just by reading the above paragraph. Glad we watched it though, very strange stuff, this weirdly seems to happen whenever they adapt French farces, they come across as less funny and more gross. B+.

Twin Analysis – Both odd twin films this week. With Fatal Attraction I found myself somewhat distressed as I wondered “wait … is this actually a twin film?” But then right at the last second, phew, they pull it out. Turns out the totally different looking female leads are, in fact, identical twins. One of them just got smashed in the face with a shovel and had to receive radical face altering plastic surgery. Amusing from a twin perspective I guess, but ultimately means the twin factor is a lot less important than one would think. Too bad. C. I think this is about as bad a score as you can get for apparently identical twins playing a major role in a film. Congrats. Two Much on the other hand is an easy peasy F+. Because guess what? They ain’t twins! Antonio Banderas is just pretending to be twins. It is actually a crime against twin-hood. “But Patrick!” you scream, “the twins play such a prominent role in the film!” Yeah I don’t really care about that, they just aren’t twins. Much like clones or robots or shapeshifting aliens it just isn’t the same thing. I gave it the plus because it played a big role in the film, that’s the biggest concession I’ll make. For the record we did this partly because it felt necessary to do a non-twin twin-centric film for the cycle, but rest assured all other films in the cycle do, in fact, feature bona fide twins.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

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