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Bad Cinema: The Long Kiss Goodnight (free)

  • Central Library 201 West Mifflin Street Madison, WI, 53703 United States (map)

While the Madison Public Library's Bad Cinema series has mostly focused on bottom-of-the-barrel trash filmmaking from the 1980s, it's nice to see that its curators haven't forgotten the world of 1990s overblown Hollywood bombs. The Long Kiss Goodnight, released in 1996, is maybe not so much a bad movie as it is a completely out-of-control one, with a sprawling storyline weighing down performances from two of the era's most charismatic actors. Despite the film's multi-million dollar budget, the plot isn't much different from those of a million B-movies before it: Geena Davis is an amnesiac schoolteacher who gradually remembers she's a highly-trained assassin, and Samuel L. Jackson is (of course) the wise-cracking low-rent detective who helps her discover her past. Screenwriter Shane Black (Lethal Weapon) delivered a script overflowing with memorable asides and one-liners, while director Renny Harlin came into it with some experience helming action movies, including Die Hard 2 (and some notorious turkeys, such as Cutthroat Island, starring his then-wife Davis). Despite their combined experience, Harlin and Black seem to have forgotten the maxim that an action movie is only as good as its villains, and the villains of The Long Kiss Goodnight aren't especially memorable. Ultimately the big-budget explosive showdown finale isn't nearly as interesting as the developing friendship of odd couple Davis and Jackson. Still, The Long Kiss Goodnight is worth watching just for Davis' incredible performance as a person two battling identities in the same body. —Ian Adcock

Earlier Event: December 17
Chris Speed/Dave King/Chris Tordini Trio
Later Event: December 21
Draw-In (free)