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Crazy In Alabama  

Lucille (Melanie Griffith)
Dove (David Morse)
Peejoe (Lucas Black)
Sheriff John Doggett (Meatloaf Aday)

Directed by Antonio Banderas Written by Mark Childress

Rated PG-13 for language and violence
Running Time: 104 minutes Distributed by Columbia

Crazy in Alabama is a double-sided movie that has a relatively good side and a really bad side. The good is the terrific drama story in the movie, and the bad side is the dark comedic story in the movie. The film takes place in Alabama in the summer of 1965. The main character is Peejoe (Black), a thirteen-year old boy that grows morally into a strong person in the film. His motivational drive is from his Aunt Lucille (Griffith), who escapes from the evil of her abusive husband and takes off to Hollywood to become a movie star. As the summer moves forward, we see the two characters grow. As Peejoe becomes fearless believer in equal rights, Lucille becomes a believer in herself. The movie becomes a paralleled look at two stories in different places.

The section of the movie that takes place in Alabama with Peejoe is potent and terrific. However, the film is really brought down by the unlikable dark comedic story of Lucille on her way to movie stardom. The result of this is one bad side of a film really pulling down its dramatic entertaining side.

Mark Childress wrote Crazy in Alabama from his own novel. Childress wanted to show two different stories that tie in together with the two lead characters. As I said before, one half is good, the other half is terrible. Childress' strength in the script is his nice characters, which are placed in an historical time in America.

With the exclusion of Melanie Griffith, the acting in Crazy in Alabama is terrific. Griffith just seems to be in a role we have seen before in Born Yesterday and The Bonfire of the Vanities. She plays a brainless pea head that tries to be funny. On the other hand, Lucas Black is outstanding as Peejoe. Black first broke into Hollywood with his memorable performance in Sling Blade. He continues natural character work in Crazy in Alabama with his powerful eyes and original southern accent. I hope to see Lucas Black around for awhile, and the young man can only get better. In addition to, Meatloaf Aday gives a stellar performance in a supporting role as a racist and mean sheriff.

Griffith's husband Antonio Banderas made his directorial debut with Crazy in Alabama. Banderas seems to be a natural visionary director. His most memorably created scene was when Peejoe met Martin Luther King during a rally in his town. This scene really gave the feel and tone to the times that the characters were living in. Directing is new to Banderas, but he proves that he knows what he is doing. Hopefully, next time he will get a better script to work with.

Crazy in Alabama is a movie I can see maybe clicking with audiences at first, but then quickly dying off. Outside of the two different stories, the film's ending is predictable and unrealistic in my opinion, though some might find it good.

Report Card Grade: C-

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