What It’s About: Your friend Billy Zane plays a composer in a wig falling victim to the manipulative charms of a young girl who can’t sing and doesn’t take off her bra.
Who It’s For: Music industry professionals. This is the most accurate on-screen portrayal of the recording industry since Alvin & the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel.
Sometimes Netflix has no faith in me. “Best Prediction For You: One Star.” Why would you even think that, Netflix? Blue Seduction stars Billy Zane and it’s called Blue Seduction! It sounds like four-star material to me. What even is a blue seduction? Is that a sad seduction, like people who go to Hardee’s for Valentine’s Day? Is it a type of bath oil my mom would use, or some sort of single-serving frozen pie? This movie is full of mysteries. Its genre is “Steamy Thriller” and there isn’t even any nudity. How can you group this movie in with a hundred other cock-sock-grinding Skinemax thrillers and call it steamy? (In case you thought the actors in late-night pay-cable movies were really having sex, they wear nylon stockings over their genitals. Thank God, because imagine if that’s the story of how your parents made you.) A better genre name for this movie might be “Simmering Awakener,” but Netflix doesn’t have anything else listed for that.
Billy Zane stars as Mikey Taylor, a musician once part of world-famous The Saints. Speaking of past success, remember when Billy Zane was in that movie that made a billion dollars worldwide? (I have never seen it. I jokingly asked my girlfriend if she wanted to see the re-release of Titanic 3D on Valentine’s Day, and she told me that if her 10-year-old self had known that one day she’d both have a boyfriend on Valentine’s Day AND Titanic would be in 3D, she’d have lost her mind. In reality, all these things are not that impressive.)
His rock star days over, Mikey’s cleaned up, staying sober with the help of his real estate broker wife Joyce, who loves him very much, even though all he does is bitch, write bad music, and wear a wig. (Billy Zane wears such a wig in this movie. It’s so intense that every time his character would speak, I was genuinely surprised he was saying anything other than, “Look at my wig!”) Mikey’s career has seen better days. He’s got a publishing deal, but the songs are due soon, and if they’re late, he’ll lose everything. I don’t know much about the music industry, but do things work like that? “If these new love songs aren’t on my desk by Monday at 5 p.m., you are fired from showbiz.”
Mikey’s fortunes seem to turn around when he meets a beautiful young singer named Matty, played by Planet of the Apes’ Estella Warren. When I was younger, I thought Estella Warren was very attractive, so much that I might have watched Driven with the sound off. Who can know? I barely remember. I haven’t thought about her in a long time, though, so I looked her up. Do you know she’s currently living in a residential rehab facility? Right this minute. She’s had DUI trouble in the past, and last year she hit three parked cars and then resisted arrest. That’s already impressive, but once at the police station, she slipped off her handcuffs and tried to run away! Who knew she had it in her? I can only imagine what the cops were like. “Did Estella Warren just run away?” She now has to spend six months in a residential rehab facility, where I imagine she fits right in.
Matty’s in the studio with Mikey and the producers recording a horrible song called “Big Night.” (Here’s some unfun trivia: Estella Warren actually sang the songs in the movie herself! Another reason not to watch.) The song is very bad and Matt does a bad job of it, but everyone in the studio is all “oh, wow, that’s so good.” Time and time again, viewers are reminded that you can’t actually show art in movies that’s supposed to be "good" unless it actually is: more That Thing You Do, less Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. Matty sinks her claws into Mikey after the session and follows him to the hotel where he’s staying. Why’s he staying at a hotel? He’s got a tradition from his rock star days: After a session, he stays in a hotel room by himself. What a cool, insanely expensive, and inefficient tradition.
In the hotel lobby, she tells him how much she loves singing. When she sings, a wave comes over her that she calls a blue seduction. Why does she call it that? She never explains it. Then, two inches from Mikey, she starts improvising a song called “Blue Seduction.” Mikey just watches. If anyone ever did that to me, I’d kill myself. That’s a fact. Mikey says, “You just made that up?” It sounded made up. When they sit at the lobby piano and improvise a song, customers gather, in a very real way. Why is there guitar and drum accompaniment? What kind of piano is this? The waitress drops off two glasses. “Drinks are on the house! You guys sound great. You should make an album together.” I wish she’d say, “These drinks are poisoned. You guys sound terrible. You should Romeo and Juliet each other.”
Matty knocks on Mikey’s door, and they have sex, off-screen. From there, Mikey’s life spirals into a Fatal Attraction nightmare, if Michael Douglas wore a wig and yelled more. The motivations of everyone here are confusing. Matty wants a recording deal, or something, but she also offers to give Mikey the terrible songs she wrote, which solve his publishing contract problems. He seems to really want to have sex with her, and her presence inspires him to start writing again. Why don’t they just help each other? But Matty keeps trying to get Mikey hooked back on drugs and illicit sex, so I guess that’s not OK. He has been sober for 15 years, and she takes a pull from a flask and then spit-kisses the whiskey into his mouth. That is grosser than it is a bad influence. That’s why I’m always drunk, by the way. I hate drinking, but I love sloppy whiskey kisses.
Mikey’s wife Joyce comes close to finding out about the affair. Mikey gets a knock on his door, and it’s the mailman hand-delivering one manila envelope, which is not how things happen. Inside is a signed, sexy head shot of Matty, and Mikey starts doing the ride-the-pony gesture and whispering, “You know what I like!” His wife walks in on him, and he yells at her. “You can’t sneak up on me when I’m doing my rock moves!” If I was the wife, I’d be more concerned he does that ass-slap gesture than I would be he’s cheating on me.
Joyce also gets wind of his drinking when Mikey shows up drunk to a dinner with Joyce and her mother, at a creepy restaurant called Club Cozy. Mikey compliments his mother-in-law. “You’re looking hot! She’s got the beige ensemble on. Beige rage on.” Then an old man walks to the table and asks the mother-in-law to dance. “My feet are itching. Do you know any way we can get them scratched?” That is the most terrible way I’ve ever heard someone get invited to dance, so I paused the movie to throw up a lot.
There’s another hour or so of Mikey sleeping and partying with Matty, then calling her a jerk and kicking her out, and then texting her back and doing it again. To be honest, he seems like the scumbag here. No, that’s wrong. They are both scumbags. When he wakes up hungover at her house, he goes into the bathroom to find three lines of cocaine, a rolled-up bill, and a card that says, “Have a Nice Day.” As he’s a recovering addict, that seems a bit unfair. Mikey avoids questioning from those close to him. His manager says, “You look like something the dog found in the garbage.” Mikey responds, “Easy for you to say.” Is it? What? This is followed by a scene of him passed out from doing too much cocaine in the middle of the night. You guys know how cocaine is, right? Conks you right out. “I just can’t seem to stay awake.” Mikey still manages to get in the studio with Matty, where he’s become critical. "I don't think you're feeling it, because I don't think you're going deep enough, so I need you to go deeper." That is very real and good music talk.
Matty gives Mikey a sedative and ties him to a chair. She tries to have sex with him, but he escapes. Does he not want to have sex with her right now? I can’t keep track. He goes to the cops to report a rape, but they laugh off his rape charge. They should not do that. Male rape is serious business. Arousal is not a sign of consent. Following orders, the cops pay a visit to Matty to get her side of the story. Now she accuses him of rape. She lies and says she wasn’t planning to report it, as she was embarrassed. “He got on top of me, and let’s leave it at that. Unless I’m pregnant. Then who’ll want me?” Whoa! When the cops say Mikey claims the opposite, she says, “You see him, you see me; you tell me who’s the biggest, strongest rapist.” What an incredible rape defense. It’s weird more lawyers don’t win trials that way. “Your honor, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, look at my client. You tell me: Who’s the biggest, strongest rapist of them all?"
Matty calls Mikey and tells him she’s kidnapped Joyce. He rushes over to the house, and Matty stabs him, a bunch. She says, “You’re easy to trick, hard to kill.” I agree that he’s easy to trick, but I’d also argue that he’s easy to kill. She’s been sleeping next to him half the movie. Joyce pops out. What a twist! Matty was hired by Joyce to kill Mikey. Mikey was supposed to have a heart attack from the cocaine, so that Joyce could get the insurance. That is VERY complicated. The cocaine insurance? When the heart attack didn’t happen, they set it up as self-defense. Mikey passes out.
An ambulance shows up as Matty and Joyce give their side of the story. They claim self-defense, but they still stabbed him like eight times, so it seems odd that when they ask to ride in the ambulance with him, the cop says OK. That is not how cops are supposed to act. “You promise not to stab him eight more times? All right, get in there, you two.” What nonsense. Mikey is pronounced dead, but then he wakes up. Perfect, now they can make a sequel.
When You Should Watch It: When tied to the chair, about to be raped to death for the cocaine insurance.
Max Silvestri is a comedian and a writer based in New York. Follow him on Twitter, where he mostly talks about food.