The Long Kiss Goodnight is a 1996 spy/comedy/action film.Samantha Caine (Geena Davis) knows nothing about her past. She had been found eight years ago on a beach, pregnant and injured, but remembers nothing of her former life. Since then she has given birth to her daughter, Caitlin (Yvonne Zima), and met a very nice man. For a while she hired a few private investigators, including Mitch Hennessey (Samuel L. Jackson), but they never came up with anything. She has been living a peaceful, idyllic life working as a schoolteacher and raising her daughter, and has pretty much decided to give her former, unknown life the "long kiss goodnight".One Christmas season, she plays the part of Mrs. Claus in her town's Christmas parade. An inmate in prison is shocked to see her on television, alive, and breaks out.Meanwhile, Samantha is in a freak auto accident, injuring her head. After she recovers she discovers as she cuts carrots one night that she has an unexpected skill with knives and assumes she must have been a chef in her past life. She could not be more wrong...
Alcohol Hic: Near the beginning, Samantha lampshades this trope while on the way home from a Christmas party with her clearly drunk friend, jokingly mentioning bubbles coming from his mouth that make a "hic" sound when they pop.
Bond Villain Stupidity: The bad guys twice have our heroine helpless in their power, but fail to just shoot her. The first time is somewhat justified by their need to interrogate her, but they still leave just one guy to do the job despite knowing how dangerous she is. The second time? They monolog their entire plan to her, then leave her Locked in a Freezer. Luckily, she's filled her daughter's doll with gasoline, you know, just in case she needed to set fire to stuff. Averted in the case of Mitch's case, as they intended to just shoot him (or stab him, there was some debate), but were too slow, giving Charlie time to blow stuff up and distract them.
Bring My Brown Pants: A teenaged boy is smoking a cigarette when he is surprised by Charly the Spy coming up behind him with a big sniper rifle. He pees his pants.
Seeing the local mom in stretch pants and carrying a BFG calmly state "Tell anyone you saw me, I'll blow your fucking head off" would tend to have that effect on a person.
Chekhov's Gun: Samantha slips a matchbook into her daughter's sling, so that she can keep a candle lit while her mother's away. Once Sam has her memory back and is Charly Baltimore, she and her daughter are Locked In A Freezer, where the matches (along with some gasoline) allow her to blow up the freezer door and escape.
Lighting a candle in the window, so Sam can find "her way home".
Alley Agent: Hey honey, this is a real big fuckin' gun. Mitch: This ain't no ham on rye pal.
Contrived Coincidence: For the plot to move forward in this film, Sam had to be seen in the Christmas parade by the inmate in jail, and in a completely unrelated event at the same time Sam is in a car accident that begins to trigger her latent memories. If she had not been in the accident, she may have been murdered by the assailant who saw her on TV.
Crazy-Prepared: Waldman, who carries three handguns on himself at all times.
Mitch: Jesus, old man! How many of those things you got?! Waldman: Three: one shoulder, one hip, and one right next to Mr. Wally. Most pat-downs don't reveal it as an agent is often reluctant to feel up another man's groin.
Deadpan Snarker: Everyone - this is a wonderful movie for snarky lines. Especially Sam/Charly, Mitch, and Nathan Waldman.
Mitch: Excuse me, uh... do you normally curse this much? Sam: I... what, are you a Mormon? Mitch: Yes, I'm a Mormon. That's why I just smoked a pack of Newport and drank three vodka tonics.
Mitch: (in shock) We jumped out of a building! Waldman: Yes, and it was very exciting. Tomorrow we go to the zoo.
Charly: Gun Bulge. Mitch: You think I'm gonna shove it down my pants? Shoot my damn dick off... Charly: So now you're a sharpshooter?
Dirty Old Man: Samantha drives an inebriated older man home from her Christmas party. During the drive, he asks if Samantha and her fiancee ever... followed by a suggestive hand gesture. Samantha attempts to deflect his question by saying "Make a circle with our fingers and move another finger in and out? Every chance we get." Later on he causes a car crash by trying to touch his nose eyes closed, waving a hand in front of Sam, to prove he's not drunk.
Actually, he was using his not-drunk hand waving as a ploy to grab her boobs.
Distracted by the Sexy: When Charly notices that Mitch's bandage needs to be changed, she opens her bathrobe and flashes him right before ripping the bandage off.
The Dragon: Timothy, who becomes the Big Bad when the previous one is killed halfway through the film (though even then, he still works for the corrupt CIA boss Leland).
Dye or Die: Charly dyed her auburn hair blonde. Samantha let it grow out. Didn't help her.
Genre Shift: Technically, both sides are action, but every aspect of the film takes a hard turn when Charly regains her memory.
Gun Fu: One of the earliest western examples before John Woo migrated to America. Noteworthy examples include:
Leaping out of an exploding building and shooting the frozen lake below to soften the impact of landing.
Loosening a cable tied to a corpse hanging from the top of a bridge's bannister, making the corpse drop; holding onto the rope and allowing the corpse's weight to pull you UP RIGHT NEXT TO THE HELICOPTER 50 FEET ABOVE YOU and blowing your evil-ex-lover to smithereens at point blank range, with the Uzi you just grabbed from the falling corpse as you passed it.
IKEA Weaponry: One of Samantha's first steps toward remembering her past is finding and reassembling the sniper rifle hidden in her old suitcase. Seeing her putting together a weapon she doesn't even properly recognize is one of the creepiest scenes in the film.
Important Haircut: When Samantha becomes fully aware of her Charly identity, she underlines the change in her mind by changing her appearance, which includes cutting her hair and dying it blonde. At the end of the film her hair is still blonde, but it's back to it's pre-Charly length, symbolizing that she has embraced both her kind and nurturing Samantha personality as well as her tough and independent Charly personality.
Informed Attractiveness: Calling Geena Davis unattractive would be a stretch, but no fewer than five characters comment on Charly/Sam's attractiveness. Of course, the film was produced and directed by her husband.
Living Lie Detector: Timothy boasts of this ability. It comes back to bite him in the ass when Charley promises to kill him dead.
Charly: "You're gonna die screaming. And I'm gonna watch. Am I telling the truth?"
Locked in a Freezer: Charly uses a meathook to scrape a hole in the ground under the door, fills the hole with gasoline, and blows the door off its hinges. She's nothing if not resourceful.
Luke, You Are My Father: As Timothy is about to leave Charly and her young daughter Caitlin to freeze to death together in a meat locker, Charly reveals that Caitlin's also his. He leaves them both in the locker anyway.
Mama Bear: Samantha, made even more dangerous because of her assassin training.
Martial Arts and Crafts: The protagonist becomes really good in the kitchen shortly after a car crash. She thinks her memories are starting to return after eight years of amnesia, and that her great skill with knives mean she used to be a chef. She's right about the first part.
Mondegreen: Mitch is hearing England Dan and John Ford Coley's "I'd Really Like to See You Tonight" on the radio, and sings along, using the phrase, "I'm not talking 'bout the linen," when Samantha corrects him that the actual words in the song are "I'm not talking about moving in."
Mood Whiplash: This film can run around a bit, with the comedy mixed in with the dark.
Neck Snap: Samantha hits a stag and crashes her car. In the aftermath, she finds the deer bleeding to death and snaps its neck to put it out of its misery. Then she wonders how she did that.
Never Forgotten Skill: Samantha Caine has had amnesia for eight years. But it becomes clear that this hasn't stopped her from executing a Neck Snap, a rabbit punch, and knife moves like a professional.
No Endor Holocaust: When Sam returns to her house it is played straight in the kitchen - everything is neat and tidy in there despite only a day or so passing since the battle where the fridge door was blasted. (Wow, the insurance replaced the fridge fast!)
Averted though when she runs down the steps - the hole in the wall was boarded up and papers are on the banister.
Noodle Incident: We hear a television set say "...so, so much for the skydiving Santa Claus..."
Revealing Skill: The protagonist is a sweet innocent soccer mom with a memory loss - she hit her head five years ago, and her entire life before that is forgotten. Shortly after the start of the movie, she's suddenly creepily good with knives. She says that she must have been a chef before the accident, but it's undeniable that she as well as her family have received the first clue that she was, something else...
Revolvers Are Just Better: Mitch likes revolvers; the two guns he keeps on himself are a snub-nosed Smith & Wesson Model 36 and a Colt King Cobra .357 magnum.
Running Gag: Mitch hums a standard blues riff to himself when he's thinking. This culminates in him driving out of the back of a truck while the riff blares out on electric guitars.
The title seems to be a shout out to the film The Long Goodbye, a Phillip Marlowe mystery/satire where the character is eternally twenty years behind everyone else. The film is even shown on TV in one scene.
Split Personality: Davis does an eerily good job of making the audience believe she's two people.
Mitch: Jesus, old man, how many of those you got? Nathan: Three — one shoulder, one hip, and one here right next to Mr. Wally. Most patdowns never reveal it as an agent's often reluctant to feel up another man's groin. Other questions? Mitch: Yeah — what's the weather like on your planet?
The Vamp: Slinky, knife-throwing terrorist Timothy is a rare male Vamp.
Victoria's Secret Compartment: One of Charly's few allies keeps a gun strapped to the inside of his thigh because he knows it's the only place another man won't search.
If this movie were made today, though...
What Happened to the Mouse?: We last left Sam's friend from the accident unconscious in a car that was catching on fire. While it's probably safe to assume he died, we never learn for sure and his plot is never brought back up.