January 28, 2012 9 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

Nicole Oakley (Kirsten Dunst) is your typical teen. The term “typical teen” is a bit different than what we’re used to, though. She is the daughter of a wealthy Congressman and lives in a luxorious house in the hills. But as we all know, material things and money don’t always make for a happy child. In fact, it’s quite the opposite; and especially with Nicole. Haning around with her friend, Maddy (Taryn Manning), the two seem to have a good time, though a good time involves parading around in next to nothing and drinking, wheather it be at school or not! Nicole’s world suddenly changes when she first lays eyes on Carlos (Jay Fernandez), though. She is serving some time by picking up trash on a beach and Carlos and his friends seem tempted to go introduce themselves. They know each other, if only by recognizing each other’s faces. Carlos, you see, lives in a very poor part of Los Angeles and is bused to a very prestigous public school, Pacific High. He has ambitions to attend the United States Naval Academy (where, coincidently, my father went to school and graduated from…if anyone cares) and then become a Naval pilot.

What this movie does is turn the tables on the viewer. One might percieve it to be just another teen movie, but for me, I found it to be much more. We’re used to the white girl being priviliged and rich, having everything going for her and she meets a guy from the wrong side of the tracks. Up to this point, this is all true in this film. What is different, though, is that Carlos is the straight-arrow student. He lives with his family, who all expect him to do well and prosper, but it’s Nicole who is the “wild child” and has a problem with authority. While this may be another telling of Romeo and Juliet, I think it’s a very well-made movie. We can start to pick apart the plot, but just as you think you know what will happen, it doesn’t. That’s a refreshing change of pace when you have seen a lot of movies (and I have). Ultimately it comes down to love. What do the two decide to do with what it is they have? Nicole’s father, a Congressman, can virtually guarantee Carlos acceptance into the USNA, but in return he wants him to stay away from his daughter saying that she might be a bad influence on him! Yes, you read that right. Nicole, on the other hand, is being ignored by his family, as they know that it’s her who is slowing him down.

While I found a lot to agree with here, this isn’t the perfect movie. I think I have already used the term “refreshing change of pace”, but that is what best describes the film. It doesn’t try and pigeon-hole the viewer into watching the same old thing, instead it gives life as it is. This sort of thing is really going on! Seventeen year old girls do go around and get drunk and/or high; they do fall in love and aren’t on the best terms with their parents. While this movie may not be as profound as I make it out to be, I really have to say that I enjoyed it. I might also mention Kirsten Dunst. I personally find her to be one of the most naturally beautiful women in film today. I also have to add that in this movie she paraded around in skin tight clothes and wore a bra in maybe one scene. So if it’s shots of Dunst you’re after, then this may be your movie. Don’t get me wrong, that’s not the only reason I watched and reviewed this movie, but it certainly made the time go by faster!

Video: How does it look?

crazy/beautiful is presented in an anamorphic 1.85:1 transfer that looks very good. It seemed that the movie started out looking very clear and then got a bit worse. That may or may not be the case, but that’s just what I observed. The level of detail is excellent, you can see every hair on their bodies and in some scenes, there is almost a 3-D effect. The black levels are dead on and I only noticed the slightest bit of edge enhancement. A few of the outdoor scenes had a bit of artifacting that caught my eye, but nothing too bad. Overall, it’s another great day and date transfer from Disney and you won’t be angry/disappointed with it (get it)?!?

Audio: How does it sound?

One of the few Disney titles that has both DTS and Dolby Digital tracks, crazy/beautiful sounds just as good as it looks. Initially, I selected the Dolby Digital option and then while glancing at the back of the box, noticed that it had a DTS track as well. Disney will still not let you select a different audio option while the movie is in play (for example, you can’t listen to the commentary then switch back to the movie while it’s playing), and while some other studios have changed this so that you can, Disney has not. Not a bad thing perse, but it’s more of an annoyance. Eventually I did listen to the DTS track and it delivers where the Dolby Digital left short. The discrete surround effects are the things that you’ll notice, that and a richer field of sound. Either way you go, you will not be let down by the audio.

Supplements: What are the extras?

crazy/beautiful isn’t loaded to the brim with extras, but it’s a better offering than most of Disney’s titles. There is a screen-specific audio commentary by Director John Stockwell and Kirsten Dunst is on as well. While the track is a bit dry when it comes to Stockwell, Dunst seems to be the life of it as they talk about the various production hassles, etc. A nice track that is sure to please real fans of the film. Next up is the featurette Blurring Fiction And Reality which is so much like all of the other behind the scenes stuff that we’re so used to. It’s well-made, but it’s a bit proud of itself as well. It’s a nice feature to have, but it wouldn’t break the disc if it were off! Some deleted scenes are up as well, but like most, they are extenstions of scenes that are already in the movie. My only complaint about the movie was that even at 99 minutes, it seemed a bit long. I suppose that’s why these were deleted? These can be watched with or without the commentary. Lastly, a feature that I haven’t ever seen (not to say it didn’t exist before this) is the theatrical trailer with a commentary track?!? Again, it’s only a few minutes long but the commentary is dry and almost preachy. All in all, it’s a great disc, a great movie and the supply of extras are just enough to keep you wanting more.

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