If you love the rock’n’roll of the 60s, 70s, and early 80s, and if you can laugh at your own absurdities, you’ll get a kick out of Get Crazy. Never heard of it? This wildly absurd 1983 comedy came and went far too fast. The music is good too.
Get Crazy takes place on New Year’s Eve at a rock’n’roll venue inspired by the Fillmore East, where director Allan Arkush worked in the ’60s. The musicians are stoned. The audience is stoned. The crew? Most of them, too.
Of course, there’s a villain. An evil promoter (Ed Begley Jr.) wants to take over the beloved Saturn Theater, and he’s willing to commit horrible crimes to do it. But the lovable owner of the Saturn, played by Allen Garfield as the best qualities of Bill Graham, cares more about the music than the money. Luckily, stage managers played by Daniel Stern and Gail Edwards keep things together while they’re falling in love with each other.
The movie is about as realistic as a Bugs Bunny cartoon. A musician takes a hit on a joint and literally walks on air. A blues band is replaced by a Jews band. The music goes from psychedelic to punk, and there’s one song that every male musician seems to play. The best sequence has Malcolm McDowell playing a near-perfect imitation of Mick Jagger. If you stay around for the ending credits, you’ll get to see Lou Reed mimicking Bob Dylan.
Director Arkush and his three screenwriters occasionally goes too far. For instance, there’s a scene in the men’s room where everyone is wading in six inches of water. A good visual joke. Arkush tops the gag with a shark’s fin – adding more laughter. Then he cuts to a closeup of the fin; and that kills the gag. There are also occasional unnecessary subtitles; they’re neither funny nor needed.
So why haven’t you heard about this movie? The film’s producers decided to act like – well, The Producers. They decided to make more money by making a flop. But instead of Springtime for Hitler, they made a good movie but set it up to bomb.
Some of the gags may seem unacceptable by today’s standards, especially when dealing with illegal drugs. Some other scenes may not be up to today’s level of wokeness.
How It Looks
Kino Lorber’s new restoration is only 2K – most restorations these days have four times that resolution. But this is not a visually beautiful motion picture. For what it is, it’s good enough.
How It Sounds
Get Crazy‘s original soundtrack was in Dolby Stereo – the sound of 1980s movies. That system had only two discreet tracks, but through some electronic wizardry, those two tracks played as four channels (three front, one surround).
Kino released the disc with only the two discreet tracks. To get the original surround mix, you need to turn on your receiver’s Dolby or Sound Decoder option. I wish Kino had released the disc with four discreet tracks. That gives you the original mix without any ambiguity about how the audio should be set up.
By the way, both tracks are lossless HD Master Audio.
And the Extras
- Audio Commentary by Director Allan Arkush, Filmmaker Eli Roth and Filmmaker/Historian Daniel Kremer: The director and two friends talk about the movie. Most of the time it’s worth listening to.
- The After Party: 76 minutes. Mostly a Zoom meeting with the cast and crew almost 40 years after the movie was made. Sometimes fascinating, and occasionally funny.
- Fan Fiction: 8 minutes. The Punk Podcasters No Dogs In Space does a parody of Internet fan videos, set in the universe of Get Crazy. A few laughs.
- Trailers From Hell: 4 minutes. Director Arkush tells the story of how the film’s producers intentionally turned the movie into a bomb.
- Get Crazy Theme Song by Sparks: 4 minutes: Just a rock video, made when the movie was new. Truly horrible image quality.
- Not Gonna Take It No More: 4 minutes. Lori Eastside & the Nada Band – a group in the film – does a rock video intended to promote the movie back in 1983. It’s fun.
- Not Gonna Take It No More…again: Again, 4 minutes. Almost 40 years later, The Nada Band do a new video to the old soundtrack. They can still do it.
- Theatrical Trailer: 2 minutes: Absolutely horrible, but that was intentional. Remember that the producers wanted a flop.