Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Something Wild (1986)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Something Wild (1986)

In director Jonathan Demme's off-beat black comedy:

  • free-spirited, kooky, black-wigged Audrey Hankel (Melanie Griffith), nicknamed Lulu after actress Louise Brooks' femme fatale (from Pandora's Box (1929)), confronted staid and married, yuppie, NYC tax consultant Charles Driggs (Jeff Daniels) when she noticed that he had pocketed his check in a NYC diner/coffee shop and deliberately did not pay before leaving. After accosting him outside and pretending to be a waitress ("You didn't pay your bill, big boy"), she heard him claim that he was just preoccupied and had forgotten. She realized that he was a kindred spirit: ("You're a closet rebel")
First Encounter at a NYC Street-Corner Diner/Coffee Shop
  • she offered to drive him away in her green 1967 Pontiac GTO convertible with a black top: ("Ready or not, babe"), convincing him to take the Friday afternoon off from work ("You deserve it, really!") as they drove through the Holland Tunnel toward New Jersey
  • they traveled together in her broken-down vehicle as she began drinking directly from a bottle of Seagrams 7. In New Jersey, Lulu stopped at a Country Squire liquor store to buy more Scotch, and stole money from the cash register when the clerk (Tracey Walter) wasn't looking
  • after getting a room in the Apalachee Motor Lodge (an Econo Lodge), a seedy roadside establishment, she engaged in kinky sex with him - handcuffing him to the motel bed and making love to him ("Charlie, you must not be getting enough at home") while forcing him to call in sick directly to his boss and lie about his whereabouts
Kinky Sex at a Seedy Motor Lodge in New Jersey
  • as she offered him oral sex. Lulu complimented him - not realizing how true her observation really was: "Charlie, you're a really good liar when you wanna be." She also pressured him to call his wife - and Charlie faked speaking to her (he had separated from her nine months earlier when she left him with their two kids and the family dentist)
  • during their unforgettable road trip to Pennsylvania, they drove off from Mom & Dad's Italian restaurant without paying, and were forced to buy a used 1970 red Pontiac Catalina convertible after crashing Lulu's car; Lulu also pressured Charlie to buy a new wardrobe for himself at a vintage clothing store. She urged him to dress in a blue suit with a bright yellow tie and white buckskin shoes. For herself, she purchased a girl-next-door white sundress printed with red and green flowers
  • once arriving at her small-town suburban home in Pennsylvania, she gave her real name as Audrey when she introduced Charles as her husband to her square mother Peaches (Dana Preu); Audrey stated: "He's just the kind of man you always said l should marry." But Peaches guessed that he probably had a real family elsewhere, and that their 'marriage' wasn't real. She also warned Charlie that Audrey was unreliable: ("She's got some strange notions about life")
  • Audrey (now a blonde after removing her bobbed dark brunette wig) announced that they would be attending her class of 1976's 10-year HS reunion ("Spirit of '76 Revisited")
At Audrey's 10th HS Reunion

Charlie's Co-Worker Larry with Wife Peggy at Reunion
  • at the reunion gathering, Audrey falsely stated that they were husband and wife with two children; Charlie was completely flustered when one of his co-worker office accountants named Larry Dillman (Jack Gilpin) was in attendance with his pregnant wife Peggy (Su Tissue); Audrey lied again that now they were lovers and that she was expecting. As they parted, Larry expressed his surprise: "Driggs, l didn't think you had it in you."
  • at his wit's end, Charlie expressed his distress: "God, you're a great girl. You got a few problems, but you're a great girl. And you're loaded with potential. But you're just too much for me. I can't handle this" - and he suggested going back to his own "boring, very safe life while if I've still got one"
  • then about 50 minutes into the film, there was the surprising appearance at the reunion of Lulu's dangerous, violent, homicidal and greasy ex-con husband Ray Sinclair (Ray Liotta in his feature screen debut). He had just been released from prison. As Audrey and Charlie were dancing and kissing, another couple suddenly slid behind them, and Ray leaned over to speak to her: "Hi, baby. Surprise!" He had a menacing look on his face, as he leered at them, and Audrey urged: "Let's just go."
  • in the lobby, they formally met Ray and Irene (Margaret Colin), his date; a closeup of Ray's pock-marked, dead-eyed, angry face hinted that there would be trouble, and Audrey tried to leave; he later told Audrey in private: "I missed you so god-damn much! Every sweet little part of you...You should've never quit me, baby."
  • the foursome left the reunion together in Ray's car (a stolen Cadillac convertible), and Ray was able to strand Irene by driving off when he requested she buy him some "smokes"; then amidst heavy drinking, he pistol-whipped a clerk at a second convenience store, stole cash, and broke Charlie's nose before he escaped with Audrey and Charlie in his car.
  • at Ray's cheap roadside motel, Audrey confessed to the situation with Charlie: "He's just a guy. I picked him up on the street in New York. We pretended to be married for Mama, and it just carried over to the reunion. The guy's got a real wife and two real children. It's just a joke that got outta hand," but Ray wasn't entirely persuaded. Charlie was ordered to leave and drive back to his suburban home (with Audrey's car parked outside the reunion), while Ray and Audrey remained in the motel
  • instead of returning directly to his own home in Stony Brook, Long Island, Charlie made a daring play to return to the motel, follow Ray's car and take Audrey back. He bought a T-shirt, shorts, and hat as a disguise at a gas station market, and trailed them into Virginia, where he spied upon them as the two booked a room at the Cozy Rest Motor Hotel
  • in the company of a few police officers in a western-themed restaurant near the hotel - and knowing that Ray couldn't make a scene (as a convicted felon with a concealed weapon who had robbed a store and assaulted the clerk, and was also driving a stolen car and violating his parole from Pennsylvania), Charlie was able to acquire Ray's wallet and car keys, and the two fled to his home on Long Island in Ray's car
  • they were followed there by the terrorizing Ray in pursuit in another stolen car. Audrey asked Charlie about his future plans: "What are you gonna do now you've seen how the other half lives?...The other half of you." Suddenly, Ray crashed through a rear patio glass door, roughed up Charlie, and threatened Audrey: "I'm glad to see you finally made it to the suburbs, bitch!" Ray handcuffed Charlie to the pipes under a bathroom sink. During a horrific fight scene, Charlie released himself from the pipes and used the handcuffs to attempt to strangle Ray
Horrific Bathroom Fight Sequence
  • Ray got the upper hand on Charlie and then produced a knife, but was shockingly and semi-accidentally stabbed to death when he charged at Charlie and was struck in the abdomen. Ray's disbelieving last words were: "S--t, Charlie..." When the police arrived at the crime scene to question them, Charlie and Audrey were separated
  • in the crowd-pleasing conclusion set shortly later, Charlie had quit his job, with a final few words of advice for his friend Larry: "It's better to be a live dog than a dead lion."
  • Audrey (wearing black and white) reappeared in Charlie's life - she met him at the same coffee-shop that opened the film. To get his attention, she had taken the $5 dollar bill he had left on the table with his check for the waitress. She told him: "I never wanted to say goodbye," and offered: "You wanna ride?" He answered emphatically: "Sure, Audrey, why not?" and they drove away in her vintage, wood-paneled, suburbanite station wagon (1941 Ford Super De Luxe Station Wagon) as the film ended

Audrey/Lulu to Charlie: "You didn't pay your bill, big boy"

Lulu to Charlie: "You're a closet rebel"

Lulu: "Ready or not, babe"

Beginning of Lulu's and Charlie's Road Trip

New Wardrobes

Lulu (or Audrey) as a Blonde

Sudden Appearance of Ray Sinclair At the 10 Year Reunion with Date Irene

Ray Confronting Audrey

Charlie - Bewildered and With a Broken Nose

Ray Threatening Charlie in His Own Home

Audrey Reappearing to Charlie Outside the Diner


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