Shadows in the Storm (1988)

“His dreams were beautiful, innocent and harmless. Until the day they came true.” Of all the oddest, most unlikely romantic pairings in film history, Ned Beatty (Deliverance) and Mia Sara (Ferris Bueller’s Day Off) in Shadows in the Storm might rank right up there near the top! Obviously a guilty pleasure of mine, this obscure flick, which was written and directed by Terrell Tannen, features a predictable plot, some shameless overacting on the part of Beatty and even a ludicrous sex scene in the rain. However, it’s best to view Shadows in the Storm as a dark comedy rather than some neo-noir thriller. Beatty portrays “Thelonious Pitt,” a middle-aged, daydreaming bookworm (he’s the kind of guy who goes around quoting John Donne poems!) who gets fired from his job as a librarian for drinking on the job. So he lies to his wife (telling her he’s going on a fishing trip in Death Valley), withdraws a large sum of money from the bank and heads out to the redwood forests to rent an isolated cabin and get back to nature. However, Thelonious soon meets the ideal woman of his dreams, “Melanie” (Sara), who’s involved in an abusive relationship. Of course, as you can probably predict – lust, murder and blackmail follow. It’s all very campy and pointless – and therein lies the appeal! The cast includes Michael Madsen as “Earl,” Donna Mitchell as “Elizabeth” and James Widdoes as “Victor.” You will probably remember Widdoes as Delta Fraternity President “Robert Hoover” in National Lampoon’s Animal House (1978).

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