The Cool and the Crazy (1976) from Tuna

Cool and the Crazy (1994 Showtime) is a slice of life film set in the late 50's.

Two couples marry right out of High School. Two years later, each couple includes one baby, one husband who spends too much time at work and comes home tired, and one wife sick of staying at home and being ignored. Roslyn (Alicia Silverstone) is beginning to realize how unhappy she is, but has no idea what to do about it. Her best friend, Joanne (Jennifer Blank) has the problem already solved. She is having an affair with a "bad boy," and eventually convinces Roslyn to go out with her. The boyfriends are what was then called Juvenile Delinquents. The didn't work, were married, spent hours a day running their combs through their greased DA hair, and generally did anything they thought they could get away with.

Rosyln's husband (Jared Leto) was suspicious, yet at the same time, was facing his own temptation - a Venice Beach beatnik who worked with him. Eventually, Roslyn got caught by her hubby, and both couples separated. Hubby finally did the beatnik chick.


Christine Hamos, as the beatnik chick, shows her breasts in a sex scene.

These types did indeed inhabit the late 50s. On the other hand, who cares? We are long past the "get married and raise a family, wife stays home and makes babies" era, so this has no current relevance, and is not especially interesting. The worst part, however, was the acting. Silverstone had a bad habit of screeching unintelligibly, Leto played every scene angry, and bad boy Joey (Matthew Flint) chewed the scenery in a way-over-the-top performance.

They did nail the period details in terms of costume, set decoration, makeup and attitudes. The soundtrack alternates between believable 50's R&B, and a cool jazz score anytime the beatnik chick is on screen. They got the atmosphere right, but I don't know whey they bothered, because they forgot to tell an interesting story.

Scoop's note:

An interesting sidebar is that the film was directed by Ralph Bakshi, the guy who, way back in the hippie era, directed Fritz the Cat. Animation was Ralph's specialty. He started by directing and writing many cartoons in the 60s, and eventually directed the animated version of Lord of the Rings in 1978. The Cool and the Crazy is one of his rare forays into live action. Given Bakshi's background in cartoons and the meager result, we might call it a jejune foray.

(Sorry, not only a bad pun, but a very obscure one).

The Critics Vote

  • 1/5

The People Vote ...

  • IMDB summary. IMDb voters score it 3.2/10, and it deserves to be that low.
The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. (C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by genre fans, while C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie although genre addicts find it watchable). D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-.

Based on this description, this is a D. Nice period details, but poor story, poorly performed.

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