Welcome to Pillow Talk, a He Said/ She Said review of films! We’re just a married couple trying to navigate sharing the Netflix queue while balancing our diverging tastes in movie genres. Sometimes we agree – and sometimes one of us loses our place in line!
Charlie McKenzie (Mike Myers) is a San Francisco-based beat poet terrified of commitment. He invents random reasons to repeatedly breakup with girlfriends, experiences that are later used as inspiration for his performances at a local café. His fear of relationships suddenly dissipates when he meets a local butcher, Harriet Michaels (Nancy Travis), and falls head over heels in love. The only catch? The new apple of his eye just might be a serial killer. Bummer, man!
This year marks the 20th anniversary of this delightful film – and it was a pure pleasure to revisit it for this review. I can’t recall a movie in recent history that so deftly melds comedy with horror and suspense. In short, this ain’t your cookie cutter rom com. We normally break down the plot as it follows our discussion, but there’re too many great spoilers we didn’t want to reveal. Instead sit back and enjoy, as Larry and I rave on…
He Said: The first thing I want to say on the record is, “Will this hold up, or am I going to be annoyed?” Also, what ever happened to Nancy Travis? [She’s had a long, successful career and is currently starring in the television sitcom, Last Man Standing.]
She Said: I’ve got my fingers crossed – I really loved this movie, back in the day. I’m also really digging the Seventies-era TV cop show/Odd Couple music.
He Said: They were coming out of the Eighties when they filmed this, so everyone’s eyebrows are too big. There’s some funny-ass writing in this. [For example, “What do you look for in someone you date? I know everyone always says ‘sense of humor,’ but I’d have to say ‘breast size.’”]
She Said: It’s pretty frickin’ awesome, so far. I love that The Weekly World News is used as a plot device (as a way to introduce the axe murderer crimes). It’s great to see shots of classic SF too. Oh, and the cop subplot is fantastic. [Charlie’s best friend, Tony Giardino (Anthony LaPaglia), is a cop dissatisfied with his work because it doesn’t reflect the drama he sees in the movies. He begs his sweet boss (Alan Arkin as the police captain) to act more short-tempered with him, in hopes of making his workday feel grittier.]
He Said: I hope Nancy’s not a vegetarian! I can tell you one thing – a movie set full of raw meat and hot lamps? Disgusting. [Charlie visits Harriet at her butcher shop, Meats of the World; which is pretty much the best business name I’ve ever heard of.]
Nothing makes me giggle more than a day of butchering animals.
She Said: Smells or no, that sunflower in her hair has got to go. The butcher scene allows for some of Mike’s best improv. By the way, regarding Mike Myers hairdo, is it even legal to part your hair in the middle anymore?
He Said: I wonder if they set this in SF in honor of Vertigo? It’s got that same Hitchcockian air of mystery, but mixed with humor. Everything comes back to Vertigo; it’s the best movie in the world.
She Said: Oh, man. I’m tearing up. Pour one out for Phil Hartman (as John “Vickie” Johnson, the Alcatraz tour guide). [Charlie and Tony take a day trip to Alcatraz, for some unknown reason.]
He Said: Yep, he was the best. I wish he were still around. [Clinks glasses] I think this film is a lot funnier than the critics gave it credit for. It’s really great.
She Said: I agree. I vote “cult classic.” [It unfortunately was considered a bomb, both at the box office and by critics. Don’t believe the (lack of) hype!]
Do you ever get that ‘not so fresh’ feeling?
He Said: I think, for the mass audience, it just wasn’t dumb enough. It’s pretty witty.
She Said: I agree. I mean, not to be shitty – but it’s quirky and there’s the off-base, darker aspect that could’ve been off-putting to the general public. But it’s rockin’ my balls. I’m glad we’re seeing it again.
He Said: It’s hilarious! Plus it’s a ninety-minute movie. There’s no extraneous filler bullshit. Spoiler alert – hijinks ensue! It’s just so great. One of the best things is that you can’t see the twist coming. It’s such a highlight.
She Said: You just don’t see much stuff like this these days. They keep you guessing to the end. It’s fun, suspenseful, clever and ridiculous.
Whether seeing it for the first time or revisiting it like a beloved relative, this film is sure to make its way into your family of favorites.
Take a Drink: every time you hear Only You… and get goosebumps.
Take a Drink: every time Mike Myers hams it up to the camera, Wayne-style.
Take a Drink: every time you hear a version of “This Poem Sucks.” Wikipedia the details for extra credit. By “extra credit,” I mean a shot. Woman! Woah, man.
Take a Drink: every time Mike Myer’s bonus character gets screen time.
Take a Drink: every time you think you see a clue as to who the axe murderer might be.
Take a Drink: every time you can name a San Francisco landmark.