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Featured Blu-ray / DVD Review: Crazy

June 23rd, 2010

Crazy - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray

Inspired by the real-life story of Hank Garland, Crazy was made in 2005. After debuting in 2007, it spent the next year or so touring Film Festivals. It even won numerous awards during this time. However, despite this, it was never able to find a theatrical distributor. Now that it is coming out direct-to-DVD, is it worth checking out? If so, is the DVD or the Blu-ray worth picking up?

The film starts with a man being dragged away by two orderlies, which is a bad sign. The movie then cuts back to 1945 and introduces us to Hank Garland, played by Waylon Payne. I have to stop right there and point out that Waylon Payne is the perfect name for a country singer. In 1945 he had his first performance at the Grand Ole Opry, where he wows the crowd, and country superstar Hank Williams, with his lightning fast finger work. Cut to ten years later, and he's an in demand studio player, but his talent in the recording studio is matched by his talent at pissing off the labels, which control the music industry in Nashville. In order to get away for a bit and let things cool down, they go on tour. For a little variety, they decide to head north to Chicago. It is here that Hank first meets two forces that will change his life. Firstly, he discovers Jazz. Secondly, he meets Evelyn, who will soon be his wife.

We see his career take off, but we also see the toll it takes on his marriage. (The fact that he is a horndog doesn't help.) He tries branching out into Jazz, but performing with black musicians alienates some of his white fans. Meanwhile, his caustic nature starts to take a toll on his career, as he begins to piss off the wrong people. And considering what we saw in the beginning, we know it's going to end in tragedy, it's just a matter of when and how.

Even though the ending is known, it is a story worth watching. There are excellent performances by Waylon Payne and Ali Larter, while the music is even better. For a low-budget independent production, it really captures the essence of the era. It perhaps doesn't go as deep into the social changes of the times as it should have. Yes, it does touch on the fact that performing with black musicians was unpopular with some, to understate things, but that's not as large of a focus of the film as it could have been. The other complaint I would have is the predictability. Not only does it start with a major plot point spoiled, it is also inspired by the real-life story of Hank Garland, so if you know his story, a lot of this will be familiar. (Although liberties have been taken, again to understate things. For instance, there's no evidence the car accident was intentionally caused, but it makes for a more dramatic movie.) More importantly, it is a very by-the-numbers biopic.

It's a very well made biopic, but if you have seen Walk the Line, then this will suffer in comparison.

Extras on the DVD are limited to some deleted scenes. There are 15 deleted scenes with a total running time of close to 21 minutes, but that's it for extras on the DVD.

I don't have the Blu-ray to compare, but it only costs 20% more. As long as there are no issues with the transfer, it is the better deal.

The Verdict

Crazy might be a by-the-numbers biopic, but it is a well made biopic and it is loaded with great music and strong performances. Fans of the music will certainly want to check it out, and while the limited extras hurt the value of the DVD and the Blu-ray it is still a solid rental, leaning toward a purchase.

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