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read_me.gif Southern Voice Washington Blade

Crazy As Hell

"What The Hell" is more like it

by j. brotherlove

I have been struggling with a way to convey my reaction to Eriq LaSalle's directorial debut, Crazy As Hell. My difficulty in reviewing the film stems from LaSalle's unsuccessful combination of plot elements and directorial vision(s).

In Crazy As Hell, Michael Beach plays Ty Adams, an egotistical psychiatrist with controversial, non-medical treatment methods. Dr. Adams participates in a 30-day study at Sedah State Mental Hospital and is recorded by a documentary film crew the entire time. During his stint, a man (portrayed by LaSalle) checks himself into the hospital, claiming to be Satan. Satan is fascinated by Dr. Adam's arrogance and their interaction is the center of the film; or should be.

Eriq LaSalle deserves attention for adapting an ambitious story (Satan: His Psychotherapy and Cure by the Unfortunate Dr. Kassler, J.S.P.S by Jeremy Leven), diverting from the traditional genre of "black films". Unfortunately, his intent and his execution make strange bedfellows. The film quickly staggers in establishing the plot and when finally on track, fumbles with what is — I assume — a plot twist (an annoying film-making trend). There are several moments where the film loses its pacing and the subplot involving a documentary film team is distracting, serving no discernible purpose.

The film isn't completely dismissive. LaSalle seems most comfortable playing anti-god. Here, as in other movies, Satan is flashy, seductive, witty and unsettling. LaSalle nails it (in — and out — of progressive fashions). Beach's performance is dependably strong, although a bit straight-forward and one-dimensional. Tia Texada has a small, but noteworthy, role in a film that could be much more with much less.

pub: 09/29/2002 | previous entry | next entry | feedback x 9 | subscribe

I was courious to see how you would review this movie. I agree that Michael Beach and Eriq LaSalle both gave strong performances, but that was not enough to carry the movie. I was not aware that the movie is an adaptation of a novel, I must check that out. In the middle of the film, I can see what direction he was trying to go, but in the last 2 minutes LaSalle completely lost me. I left feeling I needed 2 more minutes to tie everything together.

Let me see the movie first, but now that I got a review, it sounds good to watch. Witty, and all that fashionable and seductive.. i bet that man is.

Your comment link is so small. Dang.. how am I gon' find that?

Remember Dynasty when we was kids? Ohhh.. and MY FAVORITE of all... 227!!!! You know!!!

Did we also mention Brandy in her toodly days of THEA?!!

Its on the top of my list of "to see's" wish I knew yall went to see it as I might have tagged along. Oh well, such is life at DIC.

I'll chime in once I've seen it ;)

5. nappy

i thought this movie,was excellent. I believe Eric Lasalle had a great vision with this film.I too, was unaware the movie was based on novel.I must read the book myself.For me the movie was an awakening regarding spirutual life and earthly life. I'm not a big religious, typed person but that movie digs deep to me. I will read the book, but I believe Eric knew exactly what he wanted to portray. Everyones, opinions are something to be heard about this film.I told my friends and family about this movie they are most curious to see. This has been great to share.

6. Michael Daws

explain the ending to me, i just don't get it.

7. evelyn

I'm with Michael. PLEASE me what the heck this was about. I WILL say that Eric LaSalle was superb in this film, Michael Beach strong, but for me it wasn't enough to save the film.

8. Daniel Hazelton Waters

Yeah I was looking for something to watch and started Crazy on demand but decided to watch another movie, then later I began watching Crazy again. It didn't seem extrodinary at first it was getting my attention though. I can see how people can give it a negative rating. But for me it gradually built up then the noose was set and the hangman fell... what a mind fuck! I had to watch it again right away

I admit that first time it came to the end I was dissapointed that it ended so abruptly but after seeing it again it was cool you see it's the non linear nature of this film that drives some away but it all makes sense if you can think abstractly you see sedah hospital is hades backwards and right after the Doc killed himself he was not in hell right off the bat naw he has to prove that he in fact deserves complete hell by letting satan drive him crazy. Do on to others as you would have done onto you is demonstrated too as the Doc grabs Satan by the neck and say I can help you but I don't care enough about you too. ouch he was essentially killing himself all over again and Sinbad kept trying to warn him but the Doc would have none of it so then he is left with a documentary on how much of a "good man" he is and going Oh my god wait I proclaimed there is no god shit I am completely fucked!

I give this movie an original performance award it was like an exeptional twilight zone episode on mushrooms made into a movie. It was way beyond your status quo film there for it's not a movie for the masses it's a cult classic.

9. J. Rapp

I thought this movie was fantastic, except for one small point- i had no idea what happened at the end. I know that you see La Salle's character in the mental asylum room in the straight jacket, and then from there i am lost. He somehow escapes, or takes the body of someone else or something and then all of a sudden the docter ends up in a room with all of the patients waiting there, and the dead patient is now the devil. WHAT? can someone just straightforwardly explain what happened at the end. it has really been bugging me because i want to enjoy the movie to its full potential.