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Crazy in Alabama

Threat advisory: High - High risk of entertaining activities

Movie propaganda

When I was 12, I thought I knew everything about life and death... then Aunt Lucille blew into town, and nothing was ever the same... - Peejoe.

Crazy in Alabama is a black comedy about deciding to follow the path you have always known or being brave enough to break through the world on your own.

Starring Melanie Griffith as the passionate woman and film's protagonist, Aunt Lucille, Crazy in Alabama is set in 1965; one of the most volatile times in American history when women were struggling for emancipation and African-Americans were fighting for their civil rights. And a young boy from Alabama (Lucas Black as Peejoe) is drinking it all up and defining his own way through it all. Peejoe is at once incredulous and impressed by his Aunt Lucille who sets out to fulfil her dream of TV stardom, leaving her abusive husband and seven children behind and breaking a few laws along the way.

Meanwhile, Peejoe expresses his own spirit of independence and refutes the racism running through the inhabitants of Alabama and joins the brewing political wave against such sentiments.

Also starring David Morse as Dove, Cathy Moriarty, Rod Steiger, Meat Loaf Aday, Elizabeth Perkins, Robert Wagner, Richard Schiff and John Beasley. Novel and screenplay by Mark Childress, directed by Antonio Banderas. Venice 99: Golden Lion nomination; San Sebastián 99; Deauville 99.

Intelligence analyst

Special Agent Matti

Theatrical report

A damned good try. Unfortunately, the novel is obviously so complex that it doesn't manage to translate to film.

There are a number of threads in this story: Peejoe's revelations about racism, Lucille's journey to stardom, the Sheriff's descent into bigotry, the courtroom drama, the Hollywood drama and Dove's dramatic wrestle with his conscience and his fears. Antonio almost manages to get them woven together but by the end most of them have gotten away from him. Some frazzle off into a fuzzy ended non-conclusion, others just seem to disappear into the weft. All of which is not to say that Crazy in Alabama is a waste of time, far from it, but it is very much a first time director taking on more than he can handle.

Melanie Griffith is a hoot: all tits and ambition (that combination will get you anywhere you want to go, girls). This is her best role since Working girls. Lucas Black is just incredible. He is innocent, endearing, bold, forthright, clever and wise beyond his years. I officially decrees that this guy is gonna go places (you read it here first)! David Morse is still doing his sensitive-but-determined thing but it's perfect for the part of Dove: father figure, older brother and undertaker.

You'll have a good time if you choose to watch Crazy in Alabama but it's up to you whether you actually make it to the video shop.

Security censorship classification

M (Adult themes)

Surveillance time

108 minutes (1:48 hours)

Not for public release in Australia before date

VHS rental: 17 May 2000
DVD rental: Undated June 2000

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