If you ever find yourself ranking which directors had the best prolonged stretches of films—something you should be doing if you’re any kind of respectable film geek—don’t leave out Jonathan Demme’s run from 1980 to 1991. Swing Shift aside (and rumors persist that there’s a far superior extended director’s cut of that one), Demme spent the 1980s working on an eclectic set of very lively, very American films: Melvin And Howard, Stop Making Sense, Something Wild, Swimming To Cambodia, and 1991’s The Silence Of The Lambs. The most underrated Demme of the decade is 1988’s Married To The Mob, starring Michelle Pfeiffer as the widow of a high-level mafia goon (played, all too briefly, by Alec Baldwin). The Barry Strugatz/Mark Burns script is a well-constructed bit of farce, with Pfeiffer’s Angela de Marco being courted by her late husband’s boss (Dean Stockwell), pursued by the boss’s angry wife (Mercedes Ruehl), and getting cozy with an FBI agent (Matthew Modine). But as he did with Something Wild, Demme maintains the snappy pace and light comic tone of the material without shying away from the violence and vulgarity of its criminal milieu. The result is a “fun” movie with serious stakes—a film that never feels disposable. Married To The Mob airs on HDNet Movies at 8:45 p.m. Eastern, and again 12:45 a.m.
February 03, 2014 newsreel