10,000 Bullets   Exploring the world of Cinema from the Arthouse to the Grindhouse™

Kiss Daddy Goodnight 
Written by: on June 30th, 2006

Theatrical Release Date: USA – May 21, 1988
Peter Ily Huemer
Uma Thurman, Paul Dillon, Paul Richards, Steve Buscemi, Annabelle Gurwitch

DVD released: 2005
Approximate running time: 78 Minutes
Aspect Ratio: 4:3 Full Frame / Pan & Scan
Rating: R
Sound: Stereo Surround English
Subtitles: N/A
DVD Release: Digiview Productions
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $1.00

Synopsis: An older gentleman and intellectual William (Paul Richards) shrouded in darkness watches upwards during a fashion show with his sights on Laura (Uma Thurman) in a white frilly number. Later, Laura disguises her identity with a black wig and drugs an aging rich male who wanted youthful entertainment. After Laura’s looting, Sid (Paul Dillon) waits for Laura on the doorsteps of her apartment searching for any information about his friend from the past, Johnny (Steve Buscemi). Strangely, Sid confides to Laura that he’s a music store thief. Laura retorts wryly, “I guess that’s one way to break into the music business.”  While all of this is going on in the background, William and Laura are close neighbors who share mutual company when alone. Things begin to get complicated with Laura’s mother’s birthday coming up and people discover Laura’s secrets.

Just by a glance, Kiss Daddy Goodnight was a low-budget affair with blue screen video title cards while end credits and poetry appears to be video footage filming a television screen to save money on titles. Which makes me wonder, was Kiss Daddy Goodnight ever really struck onto 35mm film? Also, Artisan states that the film is 90 Minutes while this version is 78 minutes (minus the 2 minutes of trailers attached to the end.) Which is true? Kiss Daddy Goodnight is tame thriller absent of foul language and nudity that plays out like a television drama in which viewers get lost in the middle of the film. What else to expect from a film presented by Beast of Eden?

Although this is a wild assumption, early scenes of Uma Thurman in Kiss Daddy Goodnight exposes an  element used in Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill. Before Uma departs from her friend Sue (Annabelle Gurwitch) in an early scene, Uma is called Kiddo! Is this really just mere coincidence?

When you see Sid on screen, the answer is NO! This isn’t Matt Dillon, instead it is Paul Dillon, Matt’s lesser known older brother! The mannerisms, the voice and the looks all scream out Matt Dillon. According to the IMDB, he worked in films for only that year then disappeared off the face of the earth. His acting wasn’t bad in this film. Director Peter Ily Huemer contributed on the screenplay with Michael Gabriel, who after this film has never been seen or heard from again. Peter is also credited for the story. Paul Richards wins an award in my award ceremony for playing the best creepy old man in this film. His performance feels real. To Steve Buscemi lovers, his performance lasts for only a minute or two.

The DVD:

Let me begin by saying that I believe that Digiview’s Kiss Daddy Goodnight is a bootleg from Artisan, and a very poor one at that. The video is soft and colors are washed appearing to be sourced from directly from a VHS copy. Video compression blocks are very visible to the naked eye. Kiss Daddy Goodnight appears heavily filtered and although I enjoy a touch of realism in my movies, the night scenes are just too dark. As for the audio, instead of hearing silence, an audible hiss in the background fills the “silent” scenes. The audio mastering is marginal to horrendous, at worst the audio sounds as if recorded in a very narrow hallway – no matter where the characters are. For Kiss Daddy Goodnight, even Ill-reputed Artisan wouldn’t have been this inept with their mastering. (With some research, I’ve discovered that Digiview is most likely identical to Artisan’s release. Kiss Daddy Goodnight isn’t worth 15 retail.) In retrospect, compared to the atypical Martial Arts budget releases, Kiss Daddy Goodnight is watchable and at times even enjoyable.

No real special features except for the generated trailers from the Digiview and chapter stops. If you’ve never experienced this before, it’s somewhat disappointing. The actual clips are much smaller on screen – producing an illusion of a superior transfers. In reality, only one to two of the films featured are ever worth the time of day.  The trailers are integrated after the end credits of the film.

Admirers of Quentin Tarantino will be hard-pressed to pass up a glimpse of this feature starring Uma Thurman in her first role and Steve Buscemi being none other than the Steve Buscemi we all know and love. Even with the poor quality of this version of Kiss Daddy Goodnight, watching the story elements of this movie unfold the second time around was strangely more enjoyable than the first time around despite the poor quality of the video and the story. Not a classic, the actors, the dialog, and the quirky story in this film are sometimes interesting to watch.

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