Plot: What’s it about?
”People who use car phones annoy other drivers.”
A line taken out a movie made in 1990 has eerily predicted the future some fifteen years later. “Crazy People” was, and still is, a much underappreciated movie. Combining elements of “Network” meets “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”, it failed to really connect with audiences. Starring Dudley Moore and Daryl Hannah, it didn’t exactly have the star power to make it a classic, but while watching it again; I couldn’t help but remember how many great lines there were in the movie. I graduated with a degree in Advertising (the movie’s central theme) and have yet to use it in the real world (and readers of the site should note the lack of advertising on this site, a nice change of pace – don’t you think). However, I do know that the average American is deluged with over 1,000 bits of advertising per day whether you know it or not. Yes, really. This can be anything from the publisher of a book, to the more obvious commercials on television. But what are they really saying and trying to sell in the 100 billion dollar world of advertising? And, for once, wouldn’t it be nice if Madison Avenue told us what we wanted: the truth?
Such is the case for Emory (Dudley Moore), an executive at the Drucker Advertising agency in New York. Emory has been left high and dry by his wife and, like Howard Beale, he’s fed up with life in general. He’s tired of lying and decides to tell the truth when it comes to his new ad campaigns. This isn’t met with much enthusiasm by his partner (Paul Reiser) and his boss (J.T. Walsh). Emory is sentenced to a mental institution where he needs some time to reflect. However, it happens that Emory’s ads accidentally get printed instead of the “real” ads and the result is a wave of unprecedented consumer reaction. Emory has now been called back to work, though he refuses to leave the home. Now, with the help of the stereotypical inmates, they are the creative force behind the “truth in advertising” that is making the Drucker Advertising agency the hottest in the country. He meets Kathy (Daryl Hannah), an introverted and beautiful woman who is under the belief that her brother will come away and make her life better. The two develop feelings for each other and, as we might guess, trouble ensues when the demand for more ads become a problem.
The real truth is that “Crazy People” isn’t a perfect movie, far from it actually. It has a colorful cast, a decent storyline and some memorable quotes. I don’t know why I related so much to it and it came out years before I even declared my major in college. Perhaps the most memorable character in the movie is one played by character actor David Paymer. He communicates with only one word – “Hello”. While some will wonder what the fuss is over the movie, others will discover a gem from the early 90’s. Sadly, two of the film’s major stars, Dudley Moore and J.T. Walsh, are no longer with us and this is as good of a movie as anything to remember them by. Both shined in some better movies as well, but their talents are showed here too. If you’re in the mood for a light-hearted comedy that tells it like it is (literally), then I’d say give “Crazy People” a try. I’ve no idea what took so long for this movie to grace the format, but that wait is now over. Hello.
Video: How does it look?
The 1.85:1 anamorphic image has some good points and some bad ones, but it’s the best the movie has looked since being on home video. The opening credits are somewhat grainy, but the image tends to warm up as the film progresses. I noticed a bit of artifacting and it appears that the print used wasn’t the most pristine. Then again this is a 15 year old catalog film from Paramount’s vaults, so I wasn’t expecting too much. Some of the outdoor scenes seemed to be very clear and bright, though some of the other scenes balanced this out by appearing very muddy. On the whole, viewers will be pleased, but there was certainly room for improvement.
Audio: How does it sound?
There are two Dolby Digital soundtracks on the disc, a re-mastered 5.1 track that sounds fairly decent and a Dolby Surround version that sounds almost identical. There’s not much that can be done with a Dolby Surround track that was made for a comedy, but this does a good job of best representing the way the movie sounds. That’s to say “don’t expect much because you won’t get much”. This isn’t a weak soundtrack by any means, but it certainly lacks the punch that even today’s comedies can produce. Dialogue is sharp and well defined and the few surround effects that are included, sound good as well. A nice job, and it really doesn’t matter which track you listen to as I found them nearly identical.
Supplements: What are the extras?
No supplements have been included on the disc.