[Screen It]


(1998) (Stephen Rea, Billy Connolly) (R)

Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Tense Scenes
Heavy Minor Mild Minor None
Mild None None *None Extreme
Smoking Tense Family
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Moderate Mild None Minor Mild

Drama/Comedy: The members of a former 1970's British rock band reunite and, despite their long-standing differences, try to recapture the magic they once had.
Twenty some years after last playing on stage and then breaking up, the classic British rock band, Strange Fruit, is on the mind of former keyboardist, Tony Costello (STEPHEN REA). Aware of the resurgence of music from that era, Tony has the wild idea of reassembling the band for a reunion concert. The problem is, however, he doesn't know where the other members are and isn't even sure if he could convince them to go along with what appears to be a harebrained scheme.

Thus, he enlists the aide of Karen Knowles (JULIET AUBREY), the band's former personal assistant and now divorced mother of a teenager, Clare (RACHAEL STIRLING). With her help, they find Les Wickes (JIMMY NAIL), the former bass guitarist and now a roofer; Beano Baggot (TIMOTHY SPALL), the band's drummer and current greenhouse worker; and Ray Simms (BILL NIGHY), the somewhat spacey and theatrical lead singer who's barely still in the music business and whose Eurotrash trophy wife, Astrid (HELENA BERGSTROM), doesn't want him to participate in this foolish notion.

Nonetheless, the former bandmates, realizing that they miss the glory of recording and performing, decide to go along with Tony's plan. The problem is, the band's former lead guitarist, Brian Lovell (BRUCE ROBINSON), has been reported dead. Thus, young virtuoso Luke Shand (HANS MATHESON) joins the band and they set off to practice and then tour Europe.

Time doesn't heal wounds, however, and the band members' former differences reappear and threaten their potential success as they make their way from one venue to another. As tensions rise and Luke becomes the band's heartthrob -- particularly to Clare -- Tony, Karen and Hughie (BILLY CONNOLLY), the band's faithful roadie, try to smooth things over as the band's popularity grows once again.

Unless they're fans of someone in the cast, or of rock story dramas, it's probably not very likely.
For language, sexuality and drug content.
  • STEPHEN REA plays a condom distributor who reunites his former band. He drinks some and may smoke a joint.
  • BILLY CONNOLLY plays the band's raucous and outspoken roadie, whom we briefly see in bed with a stranger, and who smokes pot.
  • JIMMY NAIL plays the cynical bassist who still dislikes Ray.
  • TIMOTHY SPALL plays the band's gaseous drummer.
  • BILL NIGHY plays the meditative and flighty lead singer.
  • JULIET AUBREY plays the band's divorced personal assistant.
  • HANS MATHESON plays the young and cocky lead guitarist.
  • RACHAEL STIRLING plays Karen's teenage daughter who has the hots for Luke.


    OUR TAKE: 5 out of 10
    With the resurgence of music from the 1970's and the continual touring and new albums from huge rock groups from that era -- such as The Rolling Stones, Kiss & Aerosmith -- it's high time someone delivered a clever jab at such aging musicians and performers. It's too bad "Still Crazy" isn't the best film for the job.

    Something akin to a weak version of "This is Spinal Tap" combined with "The Commitments," "That Thing You Do" and nearly every other story about putting a band together that's made it to the silver screen, this awkwardly titled film has the correct intentions but its execution doesn't always hit the proper high notes.

    Fleetingly funny and featuring the standard eclectic collection of what we used to call "hair farmers" (men with long, flowing manes), the film follows the usual plot -- courtesy of screenwriters Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais (who cowrote the fabulous "The Commitments") -- detailing the troubles and travails of assembling a rock band, their practicing and playing small gigs, and the usual clashing egos and creative differences that threaten to ruin their burgeoning shot at success.

    The only way in which this film really strays from that course is by having this be the second time around for these characters. Although such a notion and the fact that the members are now middle-aged adds a few funny bits to the proceedings, there's not enough charm or comedy present to help this tempo-challenged picture that flounders whenever the group isn't on stage.

    Speaking of which, although a few of the tunes -- as actually performed by members of the cast -- are decent enough and accurately representative of the era of glam rock, there's no one noteworthy song (such as the title track in "That Thing You Do"), nor covers of well-known songs (as in Alan Parker's aforementioned classic about an Irish band performing soul tunes) to appropriately electrify such moments.

    Fortunately, the characters, while certainly not particularly novel for this sort of story, are delineated and interesting enough to compensate for the film's otherwise mediocre pace and delivery of its goods. The strongest performance by far comes from Bill Nighy. The British stage and small screen actor perfectly personifies the grandiose, yet flighty characteristics that are common -- at least in the public's eye -- of glam rock lead singers.

    The always dependable Billy Connolly ("Her Majesty Mrs. Brown," TV's "Head of the Class") also lends his talents to a fun character who, as the band's roadie, is surprisingly more raucous than those for whom he works. The rest of the cast is decent in bringing their characters to life -- despite falling into the shadows of their more flamboyant co-stars -- although Stephen Rea ("The Crying Game") turns out not to be the film's central character despite his prominent introduction and screen-time.

    Nonetheless, and other than the standard story arc of the band reuniting, touring and getting better and then coming apart at the seams, there's not much else present to adequately supplement the material. A long running gag of Beano running from whom he believes to be the tax lady provides sparse comic relief, and budding romances between several characters dry up and are forgotten before they can amount to anything.

    Yet, they, and other moments such as Beano stating, "We didn't play the Hollywood Bowl? That's one of my most vivid memories," and shots of the band performing in tiny spaces not appropriate for extravagant glam rock performance (with them thus bumping into each other), are occasionally funny, but don't provide enough substance to make this film completely satisfying.

    Finally, while some are calling this film the rock version of "The Full Monty" -- a somewhat appropriate comparison considering the "middle-aged men become performers" plot -- it's doubtful this film will catch on like that Oscar nominee.

    For one, it doesn't have the humorously scandalous notion of over the hill, out of shape strippers. More importantly, however, and despite its obvious attempts, the film just isn't as clever, nor as charmingly funny. Not a bad movie by any means, it simply feels more like a one-hit wonder instead of an established group that turns out hit after hit. We give the otherwise mediocre "Still Crazy" a 5 out of 10.

    Here's a quick look at the content found in this R-rated film. Profanity is extreme with nearly 40 "f" words and an assortment of other words and colorful phrases. Some drug use and drinking occurs among the band members.

    Two sexual encounters, both with implied oral sex and one briefly showing a woman's bare breasts, also occur, as does other sexually related talk. Beyond that and some limited violence, however, the film's remaining categories don't have much in the way of major objectionable material. As always, though, we suggest that you take a closer look at the content should you still be concerned about the film's appropriateness for you or someone else in your home.

  • There's talk of a former band member overdosing, but we don't see any of that.
  • People drink wine/champagne at a wedding reception.
  • Tony and Beano have beers in a bar and offer Ray something to drink, but he declines (as we later learn that he's a recovering alcoholic).
  • Beano comments on "dropping some acid" in the past and we see a brief flashback of the "high" band members.
  • Hughie smokes a joint and then offers it to Karen, but she refuses, stating that she hasn't done that in years. He suggests maybe it's time for her to start again. From that point on, other characters (Tony, Claire) smoke what may be joints or plain, old cigarettes (it's occasionally hard to tell the difference).
  • People drink at many of the "concerts" held in small venues, and other miscellaneous characters drink as well.
  • Beano and Luke drink beer, and Claire and Luke later drink beer, and other band members later drink on the bus as well.
  • Tony drinks a shot of liquor.
  • A man on the street (who's smoking a joint) asks Ray, "Wanna get high?" Ray initially refuses but then goes back to the man who asks if he wants "to go up or down" and Ray chooses the latter. Moments later, we see Ray spill his pills, but he finds one and takes it.
  • Hughie and Beano have beers.
  • Beano appears drunk during a taped TV interview.
  • We hear the sound of Beano farting and then see everyone's disgusted reaction to the smell.
  • Tony's nose is a tiny bit bloody after a man has headbutted him.
  • Les and Ray don't get along with each other.
  • Astrid shows snobbish contempt for nearly everyone she encounters.
  • A hotel guest pats Karen on her butt.
  • Although it's not playing to be either, some viewers may find a scene where a character falls through and then under ice covering a frozen canal to be a little of both.
  • None.
  • Phrases: "For f*ck's sake," "Sack of sh*t," "Sh*thole," "You little sh*t," "D*ckhead," British slang terms "Shag" (sexual), "Bollocks" "Bugger" "Bloody," and "Wanker," "Bastard," "Hell- bent," "Pissed off," "Piss," "Shut up," "Screwed up," "Balls" (testicles), "Piss off," "Bitch," "Slut," "Horny," "Take a leak" and "Piss off."
  • None.
  • None.
  • None (that we heard, although there's a possibility some otherwise unintelligible lyrics may have contained something objectionable).
  • At least 37 "f" words (1 used with "mother"), 12 "s" words, 4 slang terms for male genitals ("d*ck" and "pr*ck"), 3 slang terms for sex ("shag"), 8 uses of "Bollocks," 7 craps, 6 asses (2 used with "hole"), 3 uses of "Wanker," 1 hell and 2 uses each of "Oh God," "For Christ's sakes," "For God's sakes" and "Oh my God," and 1 use each of "G-damn," "God," "Jesus Christ" and "Jesus" as exclamations.
  • A character comments that the band was most interested in fame, fortune, and fornication.
  • Tony, who fills condom machines, notes that business is slow (after opening a dispenser and seeing that many condoms are still present).
  • Tony and Beano talk about catching Ray in the past "shagging" a backup singer.
  • While pulling items from a trunk, some of the guys play with small plaster penises that are either coat hooks or wall decorations.
  • Although we don't see anything, Hughie comments on "an extensive collection of pornography" on their tour bus.
  • A character makes the comment, "You make me horny."
  • We see Tony (as does Karen) at a condom machine holding a condom that's just fallen from it.
  • Beano comments about the chances of him getting "a shag" being extremely slim, but later says that he "knew how to shag back then."
  • We see a young woman reacting to Hughie, who's on top of her under the covers and obviously at her crotch. They're interrupted by a telephone call, but we do see a glimpse of her bare breast.
  • Finishing the phrase, "If at first you don't succeed," a character states "pull your foreskin over your head."
  • Confronted by a woman who's been chasing him throughout the movie, Beano asks what she wants from him. She says (what sounds like) "Quick, violent sex." She then works on his zipper and as the camera focuses on his pleasured reaction, there's little doubt about what she's doing.
  • Tony smokes several times, while Luke, Ray and several others also smoke.
  • None.
  • Middle-aged rock stars who continue to perform.
  • Following one's dreams even if they've been put on hiatus for a long time.
  • A man headbutts Tony after getting into a brief shoving match with Karen.
  • Jealous over some young woman fawning over Ray, Astrid rushes onto the stage and yanks one off by her hair.
  • Upset with Beano over some comments he made during a TV interview, Ray overturns a ping- pong table and then attacks Beano, punching him several times.

  • Reviewed January 13, 1999 / Posted on January 29, 1999

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