Plot: What’s it about?
Lucille (Melanie Griffith) has always dreamed of being an actress, but something has stood in her way. No matter how she tried to convey her dream to him, her abusive husband never allowed her to pursue it. He did beat her and abuse her mentally, however, which only served to make her dream even more to escape reality. One day, she decided the time had arrived to pursue her dream, so she cut her husband’s head off, said good-bye to her family, and left to become a star, with the head in tow. Her nephew Peejoe (Lucas Black) also begins a journey, as he enters the civil rights movement to help the black folks. As Peejoe watches the local sheriff (Meat Loaf) terrorize the black community, he starts to understand what the movement is all about. Meanwhile, Lucille is well on her way to becoming a star, and actually has earned a role on a television show. While the circumstances are very different, Peejoe and Lucille both learn lessons about freedom, and how much it’s really worth.
This movie is really more like two stories that follow a similar theme, with Peejoe’s battles against racism, and Lucille’s trouble with her newfound freedom. That being said, I think the film presented the two well, and the flow of the story never suffers with the back and forth movement. I was caught off guard by this movie, as I expected a comedy, when in fact this is more dramatic comedy or black comedy. There are laughs to be had, but not the usual mindless laughs I expect from comedies. Nonetheless, this is a very enjoyable movie, filled with a great cast and good writing. I recommend a rental for first time viewers, and the disc is more than good enough to warrant a purchase if you like what you see.
While the movie focuses on two main characters, the film is packed with smaller roles played by excellent actors. Melanie Griffith (Cherry 2000, Milk Money) gives a wacky, charming performance, and Lucas Black (Sling Blade) turns in a surprisingly solid performance as well. The supporting cast is littered with names and good acting turns, including Meat Loaf (Spice World, Leap of Faith), Elizabeth Perkins (The Flintstones, I’m Losing You), Rod Steiger (Mars Attacks!, Modern Vampires), Robert Wagner (Austin Powers, The Towering Inferno), Cathy Moriarty (Forget Paris, Kindergarten Cop), Richard Schiff (The Arrival, Heaven), David Morse (12 Monkeys, The Long Kiss Goodnight), and John Beasley (The Apostle).
Video: How does it look?
Crazy in Alabama is presented in a 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. The image is very good, with no major errors and a very clean print to work with. The colors are vivid and bright, with no oversaturation or bleeding present at all. Black levels appear deep and natural, with excellent shadow layering and high visible detail levels. Aside from some moire pattern problems, the disc is free from compression errors.
Audio: How does it sound?
The disc uses a Dolby Digital 5.1 track for audio, and it sounds great. While this type of movie doesn’t show off all the bells and whistles, the overall experience is quite good. The music has a full, rich texture to it, and the effects are presented well, with some very nice surround use. The most important element, dialogue, also comes across well, with consistent volume and no separation issues.
Supplements: What are the extras?
Here is where the disc really shines, filled to the brim with exciting features. The disc includes two audio commentaries, one by director Antonio Banderas, the other by actor Melanie Griffith. While these tracks are good alone, they would have been even better if mixed together, to eliminate some of the silence. A seven minute photo montage is next, which uses still photos and some behind the scenes footage as visuals to accent Banderas commentary, which gives some insight into the making of the film, and why he chose to do it. Two deleted scenes can be viewed, with optional commentary by Banderas as well. A five minute behind the scenes featurette, talent files, a brief blooper reel, and two trailer, one for this film, one for Body Double, round out the special features.