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Crazy in Alabama
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Crazy in Alabama More at IMDbPro »

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20 out of 23 people found the following review useful:

Everything I didn't expect

9/10
Author: Mark0099 from United States
26 June 2000

One doesn't tend to expect much from an actor's directorial debut, especially from a relatively young actor and especially from one who seemed to have risen to fame at least partially by being, um, well, a studmuffin. One also typically expects a movie in which a husband directs his wife in a lead role to be fairly shallow or at least unbalanced. I crossed this movie off my list pretty early, expecting a forgettable Griffith-overload creation and little more.

Wrong! It's well-acted, engrossing, funny, and uplifting without feeling schmaltzy or (despite its farfetched plot) artificial. Every so often you want to rewind a bit, to hear some extra-cute bit of dialog again, or savor an especially well-done shot. (The camera work and sets, both indoor and outdoor, show unusual care, flash, and detail; this didn't dawn on me for most of the first hour but a rewind made it obvious.) Overall, 9 stars out of ten. But:

I wouldn't urge anyone to see this movie for Melanie Griffith. She does a fine job, but she's not what puts it over the top. As with quite a few recent films, I found that the performances of the extremely well-chosen supporting actors were a big part of what held the film together and made it so much more than it might have been. Most notable here is Rod Steiger as the judge, who captivates utterly; John Beasley as Nehemiah -- though his character could have stood a lot more development; and the perpetually underrated Meat Loaf as the slimy sheriff. Performances like Steiger's make you want to ransack the video store to rent all his older films.

Finally, I believe Lucas Black is destined for greatness. I couldn't watch him without remembering River Phoenix as Chris in "Stand By Me."

Why this film doesn't even rate a Maltin summary is beyond me.

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21 out of 27 people found the following review useful:

Great film!

Author: Rose-35 from PA
29 October 2000

I wasn't sure what to expect of this film but afterwards I was glad I had watched it. Great performances, esp. from Meatloaf and Lucas Black. He's going to be a star when he's older! When I saw that Antonio Banderas had directed it, I thought "Oh, here's another one of those films where the actor/director has to put his wife in the leading role.. blah blah blah" but it was a really good film. Overall, I give it a 8/10.

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17 out of 23 people found the following review useful:

A delightful surprise

Author: Dehlia_ from New York
10 December 2001

A real treat, much better than it had any right to be. It's the 1960s in Alabama and Lucille (Melanie Griffith) murders and decapitates her abusive husband Chester, and heads to Hollywood with his head. Meanwhile back home, segregation is being fought in her small town. Our narrator is Lucille's nephew, he is living with his uncle (David Morse), witnessing the evil of the town sheriff (Meat Loaf) and trying to make sense of the civil rights movement.

This is an odd, yet ultimately successful, merging of two very different stories. The Alabama civil rights story is a gentle, human drama, while the Lucille story is broadly colored, with flashy costumes, comical characters, and tart dialogue. Lucille dazzles everyone who meets her, and everything goes her way, despite the fact that Chester's head continues to speak to her, calling her a slut who'll never amount to anything. I can't explain why the surreal comedy works so well in parallel to the small town drama, but it does. Griffith is compelling -- her husband, Antonio Banderas, directs her as he sees her, the camera keeps finding the perfect woman; thrilling, sensual and sweet.

In the "featurette" on the DVD, both Griffith and Banderas say the movie is about freedom, and the stories parallel well because Lucille's freedom from her husband's oppression parallels the blacks' freedom from civil oppression. But I saw it more as an R.D. Laing movie. The truth of Crazy in Alabama is in its title -- sanity IS a sane answer to an insane world. The nation WAS watching Bewitched and shopping for hats while blacks were beaten to death for the right to use whites-only facilities. "Crazy," in this movie, defies definition -- what is individual craziness when the world goes crazy? Lucille's craziness is sweet and understandable; the world's, less so. 9/10

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9 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

This movie still works so well for me!

8/10
Author: danvan346-1 from United States
14 March 2008

I am in the process of trying to clean out an oversupply of VHS tapes and some of them are so easy to toss. Not this one. I had to sit down and watch it again and now I could only get rid of the VHS if I had it on DVD! I have not watched this movie in more than six years and it was "feel good" and "feel" all over again. David Morse is always wonderful. Lucas Black, Cathy Moriarty, Meat Loaf, Elizabeth Perkins, and many others are just a treat to watch. There's something about Melanie. I can't help liking her - even when I am finding fault with her. This movie really is strange with its incredibly serious (and gruesome) subject matter of a woman who methodically murders and decapitates her husband and then carries his head around with her - first in Tupperware and then in a very stylish hat box! The surprising part is that there is any plausibility at all, but it somehow existed for me. It had a strange feeling floating about it that was akin to "Forrest Gump" or "Nurse Betty", because it involved situations that were truly horrible, but everything kept working out for a sweet and naive character. The civil rights story was a very poignant counterpoint to the fantastic silliness of Lucille's odyssey. If I were a film student I may have sat there and criticized the way things came together, but I just watched it with an untrained eye, so it was fine. I certainly would have made the connection about a freedom theme even if they hadn't come out and stated it in the end. No one says a story has to be believable or plausible for it to work. This did work. I laughed a lot when I least expected to.

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7 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Fantastic & moving

8/10
Author: BNVfilms from United States
10 April 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Crazy in Alabama is a great movie the depicts the changing of the world in the 1960s in the south as well as one woman's adventure and dreams. Lucille was a woman abused by her husband for many years and finally had enough. In one foul swoop she killed her husband and ran for Hollywood talking his head with her on her new found freedom. Griffith as the free spirited Lucille is fantastic. Other actresses could have made this character a lot more sinister or evil but Griffith made her some one that you could relate to.

The other story line is that of Lucille's nephew P. Joe, whom she left behind in Alabama. He is dealing with the aftermath of Lucille's departure from Alabama and all of the racism and hatred that is in his town. Meatloaf is great as the racist police chief that has a personal vendetta against Lucille, P. Joe and his family.

This movie is very touching and I believe that Banderas did a good job at directing. I home that he continues he will do more projects in the future that have this kind of caliber. I recommend that you watch this movie because it is great for viewing at home.

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9 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

a masterful overlooked achievement

9/10
Author: taruss from Glen Rose, TX
17 September 2001

I had seen the trailers several times for this movie before running across it in the video store looking through the titles for something I had not seen. After seeing it, I wondered why I had not heard more of it. The trailers did not give away anything about this wonderfully written script. Antonio Banderas did a great job in direction, but Lucas Black stole the show with his acting. After thinking he was masterful in "Sling Blade," it was great seeing him get another role to show off his talents. Steiger was perfect for the role, although anyone could have played the Robert Wagner role. However, seeing such big stars playing cameos, should tell you that the script was a great read. I don't want to give you any insight into the story line, because it is so well interwoven that it has to be seen to understand. It gets nicely tied up in the end from a small statement from Lucas Black. Melody Griffith has not always been a favorite of mine, mostly because she does always pick roles that she fits, but in this one, I cannot imagine anyone else fitting the role. She did an excellent job. I say that, because there were parts where I forgot it was her, and got caught up in the actual character she was playing.

This is one that is definitely worth a look. The overtones of the era are played nicely and figure greatly in the story line. Why it was overlooked when the big awards came out, I have no idea. This one should have won something. It is that good.

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10 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

Enlightening, feel good movie.

7/10
Author: Rob Deschenes (Deshane) from Toronto, Ont.
8 April 2000

Aunt Lucille just could not stand her husband destroying her life. After poisoning and beheading her "problem," she leaves home for Hollywood or bust, the latter not being an option. Meanwhile back at the ranch, poor Pee Joe gets into trouble from the the law. He is not actually in trouble, but a key witness to a murder the sheriff committed. The movie feels great, and Melanie Griffith does an excellent job playing the "crazy" Lucille. Stand out belongs to the actor who played Judge Mead, who's over the top role was excellently done. Feel good slow pace may make everything feel lame compared to other movies of the time (let's face it, this movie does not have special eye candy for people's attention). Not a movie to see in the theater, but a good one to wind down to.

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10 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

An honest spirit lifter with a sarcastic background

10/10
Author: theqmage from Helsinki, Finland
10 December 2001

A woman chops her husband's head off and leaves a punch of kids behind to go fill her dream to become a movie star. The name of this movie is a rather good description. But behind this crazy story line this movie holds a truly honest, sarcastic, picture of a strong, loving woman.

In addition there is another story of a boy who will also become a star even without wanting to become one. In the middle of racism this boy becomes a hero while standing against this oppression. This part of the movie is quite naive, but that didn't bother me, not a bit.

The actors did their job not only well, but great. I know I'm not very critical person, but I really loved this movie and I think I could watch it again and again just to get some energy and to regain my sometimes vanishing positivity.

I was amazed not to see this movie in the top 250. I really believe it belongs there. I've seen Shawshank Redemption and I think this movie, while lighter, doesn't fall far behind.

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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Outstanding

Author: COQUE-3 (jrr8@email.byu.edu) from Utah, USA
7 October 1999

Crazy In alabama is one of the best movies of the year. Antonio Banderas did an awesome job as a director and Melanie Griffith is outrageous. It truly reveals the feelings of the 50s, the quest for freedom , and the insanity of racism.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Almost a Spoiler

6/10
Author: Peter Swanson (bumwuh@yahoo.com) from United States
12 February 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I have such a high opinion of the book from which this was made that I should've been better prepared to be disappointed with any film version, but it seems my guard was down. It's not a BAD movie, actually is pretty entertaining while maintaining the high points of the book. The book, however, is both funnier and more touching. The Eudora Welty-ish family central to the story is much more clearly described in the book, and seems comparatively flavorless in the movie. Writing with any depth and substance is hard to translate to film, but is has been done; see the Jessica Tandy version of Truman Capote's "A Christmas Memory." If you haven't read the book you'll probably like this just fine. If you're a fan of the book, be forewarned that the film is not going to be the same experience.

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