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Thursday, January 04, 2018

Fishing in the Discount Bin - Basic Instinct

Here we go again on Fishing in the Discount Bin, my weekly blog about a movie I own, because I own 'em, so I may as well watch 'em.  Today, we'll take a look at Basic Instinct.  This is in my notes at May 21, 2017

Ah, Basic Instinct.  The film that made Sharon Stone a star.  The film that made headlines in 1992 for its steamy sex scenes, and it's depiction of the LGBT community.  The film that represented the peak of the erotic thriller as a genre from the late 1980s through the mid 1990s.  Which is kinda strange, because the same creative team -- director Paul Verhoeven and writer Joe Ezterhaus -- pretty much killed the genre just five short years later with ShowgirlsShowgirls...that's another one on the list of "classics I've never seen."  I almost bought the Blu-ray and HMV's liquidation sale, but I didn't.  But I digress.

I remember seeing Basic Instinct shortly after it came out on video.  My parents were off at some function, my sister was over at a friend's house, so it was just me and my brother.  We went down to the corner store to rent some movies, and hearing the tales of the film's sex scenes, we decided to rent it.  From what I remember of that initial viewing, once you got past the boobs, it was kinda boring. 

The special edition DVD came out in the early 2000s, and from what I remember of the home theatre message boards I frequented in those days, it's a much praised special edition, with good bonus features and insightful running commentaries.  So you can imagine my surprise when I saw it in the discount bin at Value Drug Mart in Athabasca for just $3.  Then I noticed that there was a 50% of sticker on top of it being in the $3.  "It's only $1.50!" I said in amazement.  "I could literally buy this with my pocket change!"  So I did. 

Michael Douglas is Nick Curran, your standard cop-on-the-edge, a role Douglas played a lot in the late 80s/early 90s.  His latest case has him investigating the murder of retired rocker Johnny Boz, found stabbed to death by an ice pick.  The prime suspect:  Boz's lover, novelist and psychoanalyst Catherine Tramell, Turns out Tramell had written a novel some years before which perfectly outlined Boz's murder.  As Nick begins investigating Tramell, he finds herself drawn to her, and soon sucked in to her hedonistic world of sex and drugs.  And it all leads him to doubt as to whether she's guilty or not.  Is she innocent?  Or is she just playing with Nick's head?

Obviously, it's the second one, as every other character in the film points out to him.  It almost gets kind of ridiculous as the other characters point out how Nick is being manipulated by Catherine, only for the next scene to play out exactly as described to Nick. 

But there is lots of good in it.  Sharon Stone is stellar.  You can see how this made her a star, as she's able to be cold and manipulative in one scene, and have it melt into seductive tenderness.  And the late, great Jerry Goldsmith actually puts together an amazing score for this film.  Very reminiscent of some his sci-fi work. 

So, yeah.I find Basic Instinct to be kind of bland, when it's all said and done

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