Wild Things (1998) Directed by John McNaughton
Body Heat (1981) Directed by Lawrence Kasdan
FLORIDA – Miami police grapple with two painfully obvious crime cases labeled by local media outlets as Body Heat (1981) and Wild Things (1998). According to police records, these two cases bring Florida’s neo-noir problem front and center.
A perpetually wet personal injury lawyer, Ned Racine (William Hurt), and a high school counselor that drives a Jeep Wrangler, Sam Lombardo (Matt Dillon), went virtually undetected as slimeballs despite their disinclination toward wearing shirts and inability to speak to women in respectable tones.
Attorney Ned Racine reportedly told mild-mannered housewife Matty Walker (Kathleen Turner) that she “shouldn’t wear that body” and followed her to her marital home in Pine Haven on multiple occasions under the guise of “seeing her wind chimes” which was an obvious cover for stalking and possible murder. Police refer to the well-known studies that show males under the age of 60 lack the capacity to identify wind chimes, lumping them all in together with “old lady stuff” like scented candles and birdhouses.
In the second case, high school counselor Sam Lombardo was seen driving his low-tech meets low-brow Jeep Wrangler with student Kelly Van Ryan (Denise Richards) inside, ostensibly taking her home from high school. Especially damning reports label Lombardo as “blasting Third Eye Blind and Smash Mouth.” These offensive reports have not yet been corroborated.
I want something else, to get me through this semi-charmed kind of life, baby, baby.
Detective Ray Duquette (Kevin Bacon) went on record to note that Van Ryan was so thankful for Lombardo’s kindness with the transport home that she went so far as to wash the Wrangler for Lombardo – without payment – in the course of her charity work for her cheerleading duties as a Blue Bay Buccaneer. Van Ryan gave Lombardo the “Full Service Plus” wash and even when, at the end, she found herself with no towels to dry off the vehicle, valiantly offered up her already soaking t-shirt and shorts. Sadly, she was later to have this generosity repaid with murder.
Matty Walker’s character has also been roundly lauded, primarily by neighbors in the town of Pine Haven for keeping a “lovely garden with a veritable orchestra of windchimes” as well as donating money on a weekly basis to the Pine Haven Tavern. All regulars at the Pine Haven Tavern will mourn the loss of Mrs. Walker’s presence, just handing out dollar bill after dollar bill once she finished her bourbons. “We really liked Miz Walker,” one swarthy bar patron offers, “she was somethin’ to look at, what with those all-white dresses that went total, like, see-through after an hour in this hot-ass dump. I didn’t even mind that some batshit weird atonal saxophone seemed to follow her around wherever she went.”
According to police investigations, both Lombardo and Racine live just above the poverty line and seem to funnel all of their discretionary income into douchey cars and high-waisted pants. Meanwhile, Walker and Van Ryan enjoyed comfortable upper-class lifestyles and loving relationships with the families that provided them their closets full of white linen garb and gun lockers.
Detective Duquette considers these open-and-shut cases, with both Lombardo and Racine as obvious stalkers that were in no way encouraged by the beautiful yet demure (in that femme fatale way) Walker and Van Ryan. Lombardo is facing murder charges while Racine is looking at arson. Both cases are stalled, however, at the insistent petitioning of prosecutor Peter Lowenstein (Ted Danson) for the Racine case and high school student Suzie Toller (Neve Campbell) for Lombardo’s.
“Both Lowenstein and Toller have made exceedingly bad style choices,” Duquette opines, “and that is a sure mark of an untrustworthy source. Lowenstein is tooling around town in Junior Soprano glasses and floods. Toller won’t let go of the Craft multi-layered beaded necklace trend. Don’t even get me started on her mushroom haircut.”
- Obvious disreputable source.
This reporter was granted access to interview Lombardo and Racine while in their holding cells, the cells sans air-conditioning, because it wouldn’t be a Florida noir if everyone wasn’t sweating their balls off in every scene.
REPORTER: Hello gentlemen. I’ve come to discuss with you some of the more damning aspects of your cases as explained to me by HPI, the Hillbilly Police Investigators.
SAM LOMBARDO: I’m innocent! Goddamit.
REP: Fine, Mr. Lombardo, we’ll address your situation first. I see here that you secured world-famous comedian Bill Murray as your lawyer.
SM: Yes, that’s right.
REP: Can you tell me why you chose him?
SM: Based on his track record as a weatherman, a Ghostbuster, several mentally unhinged characters, his stint in the army, and then a few more repeats of the weatherman job, he seemed like the most seasoned attorney available. Plus, he had great style, what with his – seersucker suits, white fedoras, and pimp cane – which of course would heavily sway Detective Duquette’s professional opinion of the case since Murray comes across basically as a disabled pimp.
“You’ll watch me in anything, won’t you?”
REP: Fair enough. Now Mr. Racine, I see here that besides representing serious criminals in court you also fraternize with them in your free time? Teddy Lewis (Mickey Rourke), for example. He is a known arsonist that you kept out of lockup. Interestingly, Ms. Walker reported that her boathouse exploded after she had made it clear she no longer wanted any relations with you.
NED RACINE: The only reason – and I told Duquette this – that I hang out with Teddy is for his mind-bending song and dance performances. He is a struggling artist and has to hold all performances in his garage/apartment/bomb shelter. That is why Peter saw me exiting the premises looking especially soaking wet and sweaty the other day. Not because I had just procured a bomb and was nervous about it but because I had been joyfully grooving with Teddy as he exuberantly bopped around the shop.
REP: I see. And you both – you and Lombardo –maintain that the women in these cases – Walker and Van Ryan – were NOT perfect snowy white angels of virtue?
[Note: When visiting Walker and Van Ryan at their palatial estates this reporter was simply bowled over by the gracious manners and gleaming white teeth and clothing of these women. They were perfect hostesses at the pool parties, steak dinners, and boat rides we enjoyed at their husband’s and father’s expense. In fact, when I had had a little too much to drink, they were both equally kind enough to put me in a car and send me home. Whoops. Looks like I’m still missing my driver’s license and social security card. I’ll have Duquette get on that after the interview. But I digress.]
…and that is how, my friend, the femme fatale always gets her man. Me, in this case.
REP: Yes, yes, [clears throat, shuffles papers]. Mr. Lombardo, I see here that you enjoy driving an air boat in your free time. An air boat? Really? You should have taken a spin in Ms. Van Ryan’s yacht! Woo-baby! And Ms. Walker really lets it out when we race down the coast in her red Ferrari.
[Both incarcerated men glare and squint contemplatively.]
REP: You know what? I just remembered. I forgot an appointment I need to be at. [Shuffles through messenger bag, finds sunblock, lovingly pats it, finds some Ferrari keys and jingles them. Reporter returns attention to incarcerated men.] “Gentlemen. It isn’t my place to pass any judgment but I have to say, it’s not looking good for you fellows.
NR: Sometimes the shit comes down so heavy I feel like I should wear a hat.
As both cases progressed, Detective Duquette dug up more damning evidence. Both Racine and Lombardo had been seen moodily smoking cigarettes while looking out windows into neon moonlight. The haunting sound of saxophones followed whenever they drove. Both had that squinty way of looking at you and wryly smiling. It was not very long before they were both locked up in the big house for their neo-noir crimes.
INTERIOR OFFICE, REPORTER, EARLY MORNING
Reporter stands by the window. His eyes are strangely dreamy and he is uncharacteristically drinking scotch far earlier than 5 pm. He watches Matty Walker breeze into the room.
There’s a copy of the Sun-Sentinel on his desk. Walker points to it, grins.
Some men, once they get a whiff of it, they trail you like a hound.
(in a queer, tight voice)
Did you lead me astray, Matty? Was I wrong?
Your Matty’s been kicked around her whole life. And from now on, I’m kicking back.
(intense worry creeping into his face)
What the fuck does that mean? I printed those articles on the basis of your story. Are you telling me that you misrepresented the story?
I don’t go to church. Kneeling bags my nylons.
I’m not asking you to swear on the Bible. Just tell me – did you falsify your story? Because, Jesus Matty, this article really swayed public favor. It was a miracle – right? – that the jury wasn’t moved to a new county, or state, even!
The lie was in the way I said it, not at all in what I said. It’s my own fault if you can’t believe me now.
WTF! Stop talking in riddles and just come clean on your story! Matty, we essentially put two men away on murder charges for a looong time, honey. Wait, what? Where is that saxophone music coming from?
Just come meet me later at my new and improved boathouse set waaay far back from the road. I’ll leave you the key to our new life there. We can go away together, I just need to settle up a few matters first with Racine’s will.
OVER SCENE the SOUND of the corridor door knob rattling. Walker sashays to the frosted window, squints through a crack in the door. The Reporter stands, leaden-faced, entranced by his writing hand.
(in a flat voice)
Ted Danson is here. He brought Demetri Martin with him.
WHEEDLY SHOUT through the DOOR
I’m an unlicensed private detective ma’am.
Matty, get my gun.
We are your new noir.
- Written by Kelli