Emily is a lawyer. The best lawyer. James is a weirdo. The best weirdo. They are on a collision course in steamy Rio and nothing can stop their adventure of the senses. But can Emily seal the big deal for her company while also helping James get over his rich people problems and find love… before it’s too late? Find out in… Wild Orchid.
How?! Emily is a small town girl who’s made it big as a multilingual lawyer. Hired by a big new firm she is immediately sent to Rio de Janeiro to help facilitate the closing of a hotel deal with a Chinese company under the tutelage of Claudia. When things start to go sideways with the deal, Claudia runs off to Buenos Aires to reign in one of the people involved. This leaves Emily in charge of entertaining Claudia’s friend James Wheeler, a real rich guy who mumbles and stumbles creepily about showing Emily all his rich person stuff. Emily is intrigued by this weirdo but ends up fleeing when he takes her to an Eyes Wide Shut type party. The next morning James is just chilling in her room when she wakes up (sigh, really James?) and convinces her to go with him and a weird rich couple out to a party. While there the wife of the rich dude gets assaulted and James helps get everyone to safety. In the car ride back tensions are high… but apparently not high enough for our boy James Wheeler. He convinces the couple to have marriage reaffirming sex in the car in front of him and Emily. Emily is shocked (shocked!), but soon learns the truth: because of all his sweet moneybags, James can’t love like a normal person. Love has become a game and he can no longer stand being touched. So that night Emily gives into his desires and has sex with a random pervert (the only way James can get pleasure now… for real). The next morning Claudia returns and Emily is dismayed to find that the random pervert is actually opposing counsel on the deal! But Claudia is thrilled and uses the situation to the benefit of the company. Unfortunately, Wheeler is Wheeler and he uses his riches to circumvent the deal and buy up the hotel himself. Claudia is angry and pushes forward with the Chinese company. The next morning she tells Emily all about James (and her own obsession with him) and then they proceed to almost have a threesome before James busts in angrily. Emily calls out James for all his antics and ultimately he ends up signing over the hotel to her, saving the deal. Emily then goes out to find James and they have wild sex for at least an hour and then ride away on a motorcycle. Rad. THE END.
Why?! James Wheeler is a rich person from a bad background who made boatloads of money because basically he didn’t like being poor and didn’t like how people made fun of him for stuttering. You would think this would land him bodacious babes… and it does, but eventually he finds these babes shallow and only in it for the money and so love becomes a game for him and he’s all sad or whatever. For Emily, though, love isn’t a game. In fact it’s nothing. She’s been so focused on rising from her humble beginnings in middle America that she hasn’t had time for love. It is this yin and yang of perversion and innocence that is… Wild Orchid.
Who?! We probably should note when the two leads in a film are married or get married. Rourke and Otis started dating on set and created (almost certainly false) rumors of an unsimulated sex scene. They got married three years later and were together almost a decade, although not happily according to Otis’ memoir.
What?! Rourke shows off how totally rad he is by tooling around on his motorcycle. Eventually the motorcycle becomes a character of sorts as their wild love is sealed by a final ride on the bike into the sunset. As if he is a cowboy and the bike is his faithful steed. And if you weren’t sure what super cool bike he was riding, there is a scene where he goes by a truck full of American sailors who scream “Harley Davidson!!!” at him.
Where?! This surpasses Blame it in Rio for best Brazil film we’ve seen (even though it’s not A+), thankfully. It really takes every facet of Brazil and squeezes all the Brazil it can out of it. I think Zalman King would say it required the Brazil setting, although I would think this is set in Miami 9 out of 10 times… still, A.
When?! Patrick reminded me that this is really Secret Holiday Film Alert since we have a pretty significant Carnival scene and it’s mentioned several times. That is a February event so that’s pretty specific. I think this goes hand in hand with the setting since you can’t squeeze out all the Brazil without setting it during Carnival. A-.
You can see the blueprint for Fifty Shades all over this junk. Rourke is a creepy weirdo but also super rich so that makes him mysterious and exciting but he’s also damaged and doesn’t like to be touched and only Emily’s innocent love can fix this damaged, beautiful, dangerous super rich man that can have anyone he wants but wants little ol’ her. It is trash through and through and I debate whether it’s even interesting trash. It’s interesting because of how weird and bad it is… like how The Room is weird and bad but interesting in its weird badness. You get a sense you’re getting a peek into Zalman King’s outlook on life and love in an unusually unfiltered way, but it doesn’t really make any of it less offputting. I’m not sure I even have much good to say… the main actress is beautiful but not a good actress, Rourke mumbles his way into a performance that is somehow worse than his amateur counterpart, and it all feels a bit exploitative of Brazilian culture in pursuit of a steamy adventure of the senses. So it appears I do not have anything good to say. Patrick?
‘Ello everyone! We’ve got creepy Mickey Rourke, we’ve got … actually that’s all I can remember about this movie, creepy Mickey Rourke will haunt my dreams forever. Let’s go!
P’s View on the Preview – What can you say about a film that has been so long in the making for BMT? Ever since Color of Night we’ve been champing at the bit for more of ‘dem erotic thrillers. Well, this was the last jewel for our weird erotic thriller crown. I think we’ve seen most of the qualifying genre at this point, so this has to be good, right? … Right? What were my expectations? Well … the director comes across as an … eccentric if I were to be kind about it. It seems like he directed cable porn in the 90s if I were to be unkind. So with that in mind I really just desperately hoped I wasn’t watching porn.
The Good – I can kind of see what people must have seen in Rourke at the time. It is a bit like Kevin Costner in that his characters now come across as a bit emotionally stunted (if not in need of actual therapy), but at the time I think made sense from a “oh my God, this guy just sulks around and doesn’t talk … so hot!” perspective. Love the film for the Brazil setting, better than Blame it on Rio (although no less creepy …). As the crowning achievement as to the boundaries mainstream audiences were willing to see pushed, this is maybe a better example than, say, Showgirls (although I would have to rewatch that to be sure). Best Bit: Brazil and Carnival.
The Bad – My god could the guys in this film be any creepier? I don’t know what the writer/director of this film is thinking, but if any of this is sexy then count me out my friend. There is a bit in the middle where Bruce Greenwood’s character seems to propose that the main character some back to New York City to be his captive sex slave? I’m not sure about the visa situation in this plan, but it sounds sketchy. And Rourke is so repressed and brooding that all of his teachers thought he was mentally challenged when he was growing up … hot, amirite? For real, this went so far beyond Color of Night that it came back around a few times and just left me feeling bad. Fatal Flaw: Can we just not with these, please? More Bruce Willis hanging dong, less Creepy Rourke sexually assaulting women with his eyes.
The BMT – I mean it had to be done, but did it have to be done? I think this officially marks the point where the remaining erotic thrillers are either so small as to be really borderline wide releases, or so egregious as to have been forgotten to time. Too bad, I was hoping the genre would go out with a bang, but instead it taught us all a valuable lesson about the limits of enjoying bad things. Did it meet my expectations? Somehow I think so. It is tamer than you would think from an exploitative or gratuitous nudity perspective. It is just reprehensible, not actually pornography.
Roastra-damus – I think a genuinely bizarre Product Placement (What?) for Rourke’s two Harley Davidson motorcycles he “brings everywhere” (and a year later he would play Harley Davidson in a bad movie so …). Definite Setting as a Character (Where?) for Rio, as the film could not be any more Rio. A (not-so) Secret Holiday Film (When?) as they indicate it is explicitly Carnival in Brazil, which makes it late-February as well. And a pretty excellent MacGuffin (Why?) for the decrepit hotel that is the key to the big Chinese deal (and Rourke’s heart) that Emily is working on. I want to say it is bad, but it is actually closest to BMT since you can’t stop thinking about it after watching it.
Sequel, Prequel, Remake – I think this is the one to break the Half Past Dead cycle, we obviously have to get a Prequel in here to explain the brooding sexy nature of James Wheeler. We open in Miami, James Wheeler is a sweaty mess (so sexy) and has zero lines of dialogue for the first 45 minutes of the film (so sexy). He’s playing the game, you know the game … the one where it broods and thinks about women being objects to be manipulated (so sexy). In strolls Claudia Dennis, a woman of profound capability, and one to be supremely manipulated. They ride Harleys and look real cool, and then he gets the deal and strolls into the sunset with Claudia vowing she won’t let this silent, brooding, sexy man out of her life. Wild Orchid: The Wheeler Chronicles – Part 1: Origins. You better believe there are going to be a few more parts to the enigma that is James Wheeler.