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Samantha Caine is a perfectly normal mother and schoolteacher. She lives in a peaceful suburban neighborhood, raising her daughter Caitlin (Yvonne Zima), and couldn't want for anything. However, Samantha has no past. Suffering from amnesia after being found badly injured, Sam doesn't know who she was. But that's okay - some other people know who she was, and they're coming to find her.
Now she has to find out why they want to kill her.
The Long Kiss Goodnight (1996) stars Geena Davis as Samantha Caine/Charly Baltimore and Samuel L. Jackson as Mitch Hennessey, a private investigator she hires to find out about her past. During the course of his investigation, Hennessey uncovers some unpleasant truths, and Samatha must decide whether to abandon her past or embrace it at the cost of her family.
This film contains examples of:
- Action Mom: Samantha/Charly turns into this.
- 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.
- Amnesia Tropes:
- Criminal Amnesiac: Luke/Daedalus keeps the lie that he's her fiancee, when he's actually the mark.
- Amnesia Danger: Subverted.
- Amnesiac Dissonance: Who would expect a small-town schoolteacher to be one of the most dangerous women in the world?
- Amnesiac Liar: Being a spy would do that to you.
- Trauma-Induced Amnesia: Forgot her life because she got shot, started getting her memories back after a car accident, and regained them completely after being tortured and almost drowned.
- Bad Boss: Timothy.
Henchman: I'm hurt real bad. I think I'm dying.
Timothy: Continue dying. Out.
- 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 Hot 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.
- Captain Obvious: "Don't hit the cars!"
- Lampshaded with the look Mitch gives her right after she says that.
- Chef of Iron: We wanna meet the chefs that can do that.
- 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.
- The location of Nathan's third gun.
- Click Hello
Alley Agent: Hey honey, this is a real big fuckin' gun.
Mitch: This ain't no ham on rye pal.
- 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. But 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.
- Another example:
Mitch: (in shock) We jumped out of a building!
Waldman: Yes, and it was very exciting. Tomorrow we go to the zoo.
- Deep-Cover Agent: What better cover than Amnesiac Dissonance?
- Deliver Us From Evil: A slightly complicated example here.
- The Dragon: Timothy, who becomes the Big Bad when the previous one is killed halfway through the film.
- actually he's still sort of a Dragon, since he 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.
- Emergency Stash: The locker opened by the key.
- Evil Is Sexy: Craig Bierko as Timothy sure deserves some female fans.
- Evilly Affable: Timothy.
- Eye Scream: Through the peephole.
- Another nasty one occurs in the flash back. We find out exactly how "One eyed Jack" got his name.
- False-Flag Operation: The bad guys' plan is to fake a terrorist attack on US soil so the CIA will get better funding.
- Family-Unfriendly Aesop: Never, never use the peephole.
- Forgot the Call: Imagine The Bourne Identity if Jason Bourne's amnesia was caused by Becoming the Mask rather than a nasty boating incident.
- 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.
- The Handler: Waldman used to be this for Charly.
- Hey, It's That Guy!: Geena Davis, Samuel L. Jackson, Tritter, etc.
- Hot Mom: Samantha who becomes hotter as Charly.
- I'd Tell You, But Then I'd Have To Kill You: A variant: "If you want me to talk in front of him, you may be asked to kill him later."
- 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.
- Informed Attribute: See Living Lie Detector, below.
- People keep on saying Samantha is chubby but she looks perfectly fine.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Samantha in her Charly status is the female version of this.
- Leno Device: Samuel L. Jackson gets to go on Larry King Live!
- Living Lie Detector: Timothy boasts of this ability. It comes back to bite him in the ass when Charley promises to kill him dead. "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.
- Magical Negro: Hennessey is determined to avert this trope. "Yes, Miss Daisy, I be honkin'!"
- Mama Bear: Samantha, made even more dangerous because of her assassin training.
- Martial Arts and Crafts: The protagonist become really good in the kitchen shortly after a car crash. She thinks her memories are starting to return after six years of amnesia, and that her great skill with knives mean she used to be a chef. She's right about the first part.
- Meaningful Echo: "Life is pain. You just get used to it!"
- 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."
- 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.
- A Plague on Both Your Houses: "You're going to die screaming... and I'm going to watch. Am I telling the truth?"
- Psycho for Hire: Timothy.
- 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...
- 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. A Crowning Moment of both Awesome and Funny.
- An earlier example, made even more awesome because he's Samuel L. Motherfuckin' Jackson:
Mitch: Da-da-da-da-dun, got me a handgun. Da-da-da-da-dun, got me a rifle, too. Da-da-da-da-dun, anybody fuck with Mitch, he knows just what to do. 'Cuz I'm a bad motherfucker.
- Salt and Pepper: Played straight with Samantha and Mitch, and then inverted when Charly comes back.
- Shout-Out: Samantha is loosely based on Candy Jones.
- 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.
- Eventually results in a Split Personality Merge.
- Talking to Themself: Briefly in the mirror
- Took a Level In Badass: Charly, definitely.
- Trouser Space: Nathan is well-armed:
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 Could Have Been: In the original ending of the film, Mitch died from his wounds after saving Charly and Caitlin. But it was decided that this would be too much of a Downer Ending and so Mitch survived and became a national hero.
- Why We're Bummed Communism Fell: Take a look at the False Flag Operation.
- Would Hurt a Child: Timothy.