Hall of Fame Speech #28: Color of Night

Brief note before we start: This year we got together our sixth (!) class to be inducted into the Smaddies Baddies BMT Hall of Fame. As is typical there will be films we watched five years ago which maybe deserve to be considered the merde de la merde of BMT delight. The previews and speeches will be released leading up to the ninth (eleventh?) Smaddies Baddies for the five films ultimately chosen. Some might say the purpose of watching all genres and sizes of movie is to find another Here On Earth, the perfect BMT film. This film is kind of like Here on Earth, except instead of laying our eyes on Chris Klein’s glistening abs, we get to see a whole lot more of Burce Willis’ glistening bod… a whole lot more… like… all of it. Enjoy!

Hall of Fame Induction Speech for Color of Night

I wouldn’t blame you for thinking that Color of Night was inducted for one reason and one reason only. Bruce Willis has made over a hundred films but his dick has appeared in only one, and that’s Color of Night. Oh and you better believe it would have been worthy for that fact alone. But alas the film is far more than just that. It’s one of the worst “twists” of all time, mountain biking scenes even hotter than the sex scenes, and a crazy 80’s art styling that makes you wonder if everyone was in on the joke or just in on a giant pile of cocaine. It is one of the craziest, misguided masterpieces of BMT cinema. Nothing makes sense. Nothing looks normal. Nothing will be the same once you see Bruce Willis’ dick.

So what did I remember from the first time I saw this:

  • Bruce Willis’ dick. Although I remember straining to catch a glimpse the first time and wondering if its fleeting appearance was more figment of imagination.
  • The make-up job on our main gal (when she is dressed as a man) is so horrendous that it really stretches the definition of “twist” when it’s revealed.
  • Two dudes go mountain biking together and it’s almost as sexually charged as any of the actual sex scenes.
  • A snake jumps out of a mailbox… and no that isn’t a metaphor.

The twist is the most important thing I remember about the film. While pretty much everyone will point to Bruce Willis’ dick as the star of the film, it’s not the primary reason this is BMT HoF. Like William Shatner playing two characters in White Comanche, sure it’s memorable, but really just a one trick pony in the end. But the twist? That’s forever. 

So how did the rewatch go? Amazing. I was dazzled by this film. First and foremost I think I underappreciated its profound weirdness the first time around (and I already thought it was very weird). Let me walk you through the plot of the film: a disturbed lady is seeing Bruce Willis for therapy and when he gets a little annoyed at her she runs directly through his office window to the street below and he immediately goes color blind. Then he moves in with his weird, gross therapy friend in his weird, gross therapy house full of glass and mirrors and books of nude women and immediately gets involved with his special group therapy session filled with various psychobabble stereotypes. So when I now read how the director laments the loss of his vision to the producer’s editing hack job I chuckle. There was no rescuing this craziness. The instant you chose that weirdo house to film in you knew you were making this movie. 

And also the instant you put Jane March in some of the worst make-up imaginable to make it seem like she is Richie, you had to know that you were fooling no one. This is easily the most confusing aspect of the film. Jane March performs admirably, despite the absurdity of the situation, and yet I couldn’t shake the idea that ultimately if I were to say “what a horrible twist” the filmmaker would try to claim that indeed it wasn’t a twist at all. That the audiences were always meant to know that Richie was Rose and that the real twist was that she wasn’t the murderer, but rather the psycho brother who forced her to become Richie. And you could almost believe it too. Could it be that Bruce Willis’ color blindness, a blindness that only affects his ability to see red, also didn’t allow him to see Richie as Rose (a red flower, of course)? Could the rest of the patients also be so far into their own self-deception that they didn’t let themselves know? But the audience, ah, the audience, we knew the whole time and were lulled into the false sense of power over the movie, only to have it yanked away when Rose is revealed to not be the murderer at all. Right? Right?! Nope. Just a gloriously bad twist with gloriously bad makeup. I refuse to accept the alternative because it’s bullshit.

Finally, to address the dick in the room. Bruce Willis’? More prominent than I remember. We get a solid gander at his goose. Mountain biking? Just as sexy as I remember. Bruce Willis’ stunt double got to do some neat tricks. Sex scenes? Very steamy. Almost uncomfortably so. The film? Bad and specifically not underrated as some people have tried to claim. The best you can say is that there is something different here and different can be good because it’s not the same. But different doesn’t mean good. It can still be bad. This is bad and very BMT. Welcome to the Hall of Fame, Color of Night.

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