Crooked Hearts (1991) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

One of the comments at IMDb calls this film "a gem amongst Hollywood hogwash."

Well, here's what happens in the film:

Dad is in love with the same waitress as his oldest son. Dad loves her so much that he leaves town and moves Out West to avoid ruining his marriage. Flash forward about a decade. The oldest son has sex with and impregnates the true love of the middle son, whose narration reveals that he also had a childhood crush on that same waitress Back East. The younger two sons find out from their mean-spirited brother that dad is still so much in love with that waitress that he couldn't bear to throw away her scores of love letters. In the process of burning dad's letters, the youngest son is run over by a truck. The family would all meet at the family home to commiserate, except that the oldest son had by then burned it down. They do manage to come together briefly after the youngest son's funeral, whereupon the two other sons get into a fist fight. The only daughter, meanwhile, has a psychological sleeping disease, and she nods off whenever there is any tension. Given the nature of her family, she bags plenty of sack time.

Does that smell to you like a welcome April-fresh breeze amid the stench of Hollywood hogwash, or does it smell like enough wash to feed a herd of swine? You be the judge, because I can't consider myself an adequate judge of April freshness. No matter how hard I try, no matter which products I use, I have never been able to get fresher than Valentine's Day, except that one time in college, when I got as fresh as St Patrick's Day. Or so my friends told me. I don't remember much about that night. And besides, doesn't everyone experiment with freshness in college? When I was a senior I got so baked one night that I tried to get as fresh as April 15th.

But it was just too taxing.

The film was performed by an excellent cast of established performers and then-rising stars. Noah Wyle, Vince D'Onofrio, Marg Helgenberger, Joshua Jackson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Peter Berg and Juliette Lewis all passed through this turnstile on their way toward the subway of success. Lewis was 17 at the time, Jackson only 11.

I really liked the first half of this film, which seemed to be delivering a credible drama about a dysfunctional family. Up to a certain point in the script, it was very real and totally believable, as if the author had been telling the true story of people who really exist. Since the performances were also excellent for the most part, I started out quite satisfied with the experience. Then the script just piled tragedy on top of tragedy until the drama turned to melodrama and there were so many meaningful, pause-punctuated conversations that I thought I might be watching "Days of Our Lives." The script lost credibility, and I just lost interest.

Jennifer Jason Leigh shows her breasts, as she so often has, and a woman named Sasha Moisewitsch shows one breast. Normally I would suggest that Sasha might benefit from choosing a more memorable stage name, but I guess that won't be necessary because she seems to have left the business years ago, without getting her share of the career riches bestowed on this cast. This movie was made 14 years ago, and Sasha never had another role in which her character had a name. Her only subsequent IMDb credits were two movies in which she played "whore" and "groupie."

She'd probably be bigger than Julia Roberts if she had only changed her name to Ashley Moss.

So it goes.



  • No significant features
  • There is a satisfactory widescreen transfer (anamorphically enhanced, 16x9)



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The Critics Vote ...

  • No major reviews online

The People Vote ...

  • According to IMDb, it grossed a whopping $31,000
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, it's a C. While it is not a great movie, the first half is pretty solid, and it deserves better than the total oblivion to which it has been consigned.

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