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What to eat while watching:
If you want to laugh, there are things to laugh at in Alabama, like the way a brood of seven fatherless rugrats can trash their grandma's house in minutes. If you want to cry, well, you won't have to go much farther than hearing a good woman recount tales of the spousal abuse perpetrated upon her by that archetypal Southern Chauvinist pig. If you want to feel indignant, watch a few scenes of racial prejudice turning into racial violence. For that heart-wrenching sensation, watch the violence turn into the death of a young boy. Now you say you'd like to feel good about people for a change? Well, see the one court judge alive in the South of 1965 who's spunky, sassy, and "knows the difference between justice and what's just."
This last is a direct quote from the movie Crazy In Alabama, starring Meg Ryan, a movie with a little bit of everything. Like Simon Birch, it's the kind of a movie that's designed to take you on a tour of the major emotions and bring you right back to gladness. Hold onto your seat and trust your heart--the plot's going to take some mighty unlikely turns. But if you sit through it and "willfully suspend your disbelief," as William Coleridge said long ago, then you'll have a relatively nice E-ticket ride.
It's the tale of Crazy Aunt Lucille told from the point of view of P. Joe a young man growing up in the troubled south of the mid 60's. Lucille, played by Ryan, has just decapitated her husband. We are left hanging on the question of her sanity. The head is actually with her, in tupperware, and it speaks to her occasionally. After dumping her 7 kids off with mom, Lucille is off to Hollywood to make it big in pictures. Whoa, Nellie!
Her picaresque is double punctuated, first with fluky run-ins with locals who sometimes help her and sometimes piss her off. And second with stories back home of P. Joe who has troubles with the local sheriff. This character, easily handled by Meatloaf, is painted in a nice broad shade of bad guy, so even the kids can get it! He perpetrates hate crimes against blacks and inspires a riot or two.
About 40 minutes later, what should happen to Lucille, but she actually true-and-good breaks into a television. And she's a hit! To the film's credit, it eschews making her an overnight sensation, which somehow makes her instant ascent to television action downright credible.
At last, as a success, she is ready to ditch her husband's head that has followed her across country and caused its fair share of the zanies. But at the last possible minute, she is caught in the act. Now ain't that a corker! Clearly, this is a film about miracles!
Now we must have a court-room drama, with a judge reminiscent of Lord Buckley. We finally get to hear how the jerk deserved to be murdered. P. Joe has his moment on the stand to accuse Mr. Bad Guy Sheriff of murder. And two or three other funny things happen, too!
Well, I won't spoil the ending for you, but please do understand that your heartstrings will get a strumming you may soon forget.
Antonia Banderas directs this fanciful tale, and proves that he
can direct a movie--a skill most people don't have! But Meg Ryan
takes the cake, pumping out the sexy!
©1999 by Randy Shandis Enterprises. All rights happily reserved.