Projections - Movie Reviews

Crazy in Alabama

There are some inspiring and pleasant moments in Antonio Banderas' premier directing effort.  Between the fine spots we find much that is uneven and a script that attempts to deal with two significant issues making it far to heavy too handle smoothly.

In the summer of 1965 Lucille, (Melanie Griffith) disposes of her abusive husband and takes off for Hollywood to become a TV star.  Remaining behind, her nephew Peejoe (Lucas Black - Sling Blade) must deal with the beginning racial integration in their small town.  David Morse plays her brother, Meat Loaf Aday is the red neck sheriff, Rod Steiger is the judge and in California Robert Wagner becomes her agent and Elizabeth Perkins is the star Lucille may replace.

Griffith has a delightful part, she is a free sprit on the run.  Which is just the opposite of her earlier home life and her husband's dominance.  But taking on spouse abuse and civil rights is too much on one plate.  Each story could have been a film on its own.  There are warm beautifully filmed scenes, particularly around the swimming pool when the black community takes it over at night.  A young boy floating in the pool in the shape of a cross inspires, as does the courage of Peejoe when he witnesses the powerful sheriff doing wrong.

The period cars and TV shows are enjoyable to watch particularly the 1958 Ford which Lucille uses to cross the country.  The Spanish moss and the rural roads mask the danger and evil hidden behind.  The characters are clearly good or bad, there is no gray and that limits the quality of the story as does the unevenness to the direction.  There is interesting treatment in many scenes, just not enough.

Crazy in Alabama

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