Monday, January 18, 2010

Something Wild

Jonathan Demme's 1986 film, Something Wild, starring Jeff Daniels, Melanie Griffith and an unhinged Ray Liotta, also features The Feelies covering David Bowie's Fame. The bassist seems to be particularly camera-shy, and the group is called The Willies in the film. Check out those white bucks that Daniels is soft-shoeing it on the dancefloor with! This film's arguably in the same genre as Martin Scorsese's After Hours - yuppie gets more twilight Gothamic adventures than he bargains for when he meets a wild girl. The soundtrack's pretty spectacular - New Order's Temptation, a bunch of Feelies songs, the Fine Young Cannibals covering the Buzzcocks, Laurie Anderson*, David Byrne**, and X, amongst many others.

A couple of years after this film, and after Swimming To Cambodia, doing a New Order music video, and, for the sake of argument, Married to the Mob, Mr. Demme would eventually give himself fully over to the pursuit of cinematic boredom, with such armchair snoozers as Philadelphia, an adaptation of Toni Morrison's Beloved, and other treacle borne out of the unholy union of white liberal guilt and the Oscar pursuit.

Despite the fact that, like a later group also from New Jersey Yo La Tengo, the Feelies are about as nerdy a group that have ever formed a rock group (excepting the unbearable They Might Be Giants and The Decembrists), I've always loved 'em since I picked up The Good Earth in Victoria so many years ago.

* Last year I had a strange afternoon where I thought that Big Science was about the most amazing thing I'd ever heard. The feeling quickly passed and has yet to return.
** Actually, the David Byrne song on the soundtrack is pretty much unbearable, as if David Byrne was mostly moved by a recent Miami Sound Machine performance.

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