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Unforgettable (1996)
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by Chef ADogg

"Even Liotta knows it's bad."
1 stars

For most of John Dahl's "Unforgettable," Ray Liotta walks around with a dazed look on his face. "How," he seems to be saying, "did I move from 'GoodFellas' to this in just six short years?" The answer is simple: Ray Liotta is a moron.

Now, you all know Ray Liotta is my favorite actor (and if you didn't--Ray Liotta is my favorite actor), and I would watch him in anything. Given, he's not the spritely young thing he used to be (his skin has begun to puff out over his face, and hang down in small, adorable little jowls), but he's got genuine screen presence and charisma to spare.

Which is why it's so depressing to watch him waste his undeniable talent in shlock like this. In his time, Dahl has crafted both smart, sexy noirs ("Red Rock West") and dull melodramas ("Rounders")--but never has his artistry dipped this low before. After renting it from the video store, I hurried home excitedly--tape clutched under my arm, idiot grin on my face. What did I expect? A fun little B movie starring my favorite actor of all time.

What did I get? A grade Z thriller so slack that the "thrills" turn into mock suspense. In the end, I couldn't even decide if it was a super-sly parody of movies exactly like this, or just a really bad pseudo-noir with a sci fi twist.

I decided on the latter, once I remembered the dumb look plastered on Liotta's face throughout the film. He has that same deranged puppy dog charm, but it's becoming more tiresome with each new film. It doesn't feel as if he's playing a part (indeed, his character is supposed to be strong-willed and spontaneous); it just seems like he's begging to be let out of this film.

In the opening scenes, his character, Dr. Michael Drake, strolls on to a crime scene. After the chief gives him a quick assessment, Drake proceeds to disagree with everything he says. This signalled two things to me immediately: 1) "Unforgettable" was going to be just another formula waste of time (writers of the lowest caliber always making the mistake of creating incompetent characters who can't even do their own jobs). 2) The Ray Liotta I have come to adore was gone, having been replaced by a flashy new android.

Even when Liotta rattles off all the mistakes his superior has made, he never loses his "pathetic / sad" expression--there's none of that old twinkle in his eye. Remember that scene in "GoodFellas" where he pistol whips the guy who tried to take advantage of his girlfriend? Remember that fucked up expression he got on his face in "Unlawful Entry" when his partner confronted him on the jogging trip? Remember in "Turbulence" when he made that surprised little O with his mouth in the scene where he's trying to sweet talk Lauren Holly?

There's none of that joy to be found in "Unforgettable." Liotta sleepwalks through, as does Linda Fiorentino as a teary-eyed scientist. The two play a pair of doctors who experiment with a trippy new memory exchange program, and get caught up in a web of police corruption. By the ninety minute mark, the movie has already gone so overboard that you can't help but stare slack jawed at the screen.

"Can it really be this bad?" I asked myself. "Yes, it can," I replied. "But," I protested, "Liotta is there! How can it be bad?" Too which I retorted, "Bitch, did you see 'Turbulence'?"

Unfortunately, yeah.

Which pretty much brings me back to my original point: Ray Liotta is a moron. If he didn't squander his talent so relentlessly, maybe he'd have a fan base beyond a small group of guys still watching "GoodFellas" once a week and dreaming about the good old days, before "Unforgettable."

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=520&reviewer=123
originally posted: 07/29/99 01:50:42
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User Comments

10/14/08 Carlos Honestly I did not like this movie. I have seen Liotta in other spectacular roles. 2 stars
9/26/08 Bob Lindbeck what happened.. 2 stars
12/26/06 Agent Sands Hardly compares to Kill Me Again, The Last Seduction, or Rounders, but holds its own. 4 stars
11/06/04 KFeyery was there a different release of 'Unforgettable'? Ray is 'David Crane' not 'Michael Drake'! 2 stars
3/08/03 Jack Sommersby Hackneyed but very entertaining. Superbly directed and photographed. 4 stars
8/13/00 Cidec Stark John Dahl's best movie 5 stars
12/18/99 Andrzejewski Olivier This film is a revelation... 5 stars
11/25/98 Mr.Pink Fiorentino is miscast, but it's still kinda fun. 3 stars
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  23-Feb-1996 (R)



Directed by
  Ray Dahl

Written by
  Bill Geddie

  Ray Liotta
  Linda Fiorentino
  Peter Coyote
  Christopher McDonald
  David Paymer
  Duncan Fraser

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