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Film / Get Crazy

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Tonight we're gonna party like it's, '83.

Get Crazy is a 1983 rock and roll comedy from director Allan Arkush that pays tribute to (among other things) his time working the Fillmore Theater as an usher. It stars Malcolm McDowell, Daniel Stern and lots of real-life rock stars (Lou Reed, Lee Ving of F.E.A.R., Howard Kaylan of Flo and Eddie, et al).

New Year's Eve, 1982: Max Wolfe (Allen Garfield/Goorwitz), manager of the Saturn Theater, is prepping for his big New Year's concert while dealing with rival promoters, young and horny stagehands, sabotage, and a gaggle of musical crazies.

After the failure of Heartbeeps, Arkush tried to recapture the musical zaniness of his earlier film Rock 'n' Roll High School while turning the comedy - as well as the Sex, Drugs, and Rock & Roll - up to eleven. Executive Meddling (coupled with financiers who allegedly viewed The Producers as a training film!) pretty much killed Get Crazy at the box office. (The Other Wiki goes into more detail on Arkush's struggles.) Despite its current absence from home video and only occasional appearance on cable, it's developed something of a cult following.

This film provides examples of:

  • Blind Black Guy: The funeral for Cool's dad ("Blind Howlin' Luther Washington") is nothing but.
  • Cool Spaceship: Max rides a prop spaceship to the stage as part of the New Year's Eve countdown.
  • Cover Version: Each band performs their own unique take on the blues standard "Hoochie Coochie Man."
  • Everybody Must Get Stoned
  • Fan Disservice: At one point, Neil fantasizes about Willy in lingerie... while he himself is dressed like Tarzan, chimp on his arm.
  • Flung Clothing: Susie - intent on sneak off to the Saturn - dresses like a prim school girl to get past her parents. As soon as she's out of eyesight, she sheds her duds to reveal the rock 'n' roll slutwear she had on underneath.
  • Genre Mashup: Traditional blues? Check. Folk music? Check. Hard rock? Check? Punk? Um, which part of "the director of Rock 'n' Roll High School" did you miss?
  • Hollywood Heart Attack: Max suffers one after Colin Beverly's Precision F-Strike. It was only indigestion.
  • I Call Him "Mister Happy": At one point, Reggie - zonked on LSD - has a conversation with his third leg.
  • I Meant to Do That: Invoked directly by King Blues when he walks into a backstage closet.
    King Blues: COOL! Don't drink that wine, it struck me blind!
    Cool: You ain't blind, you just in the damn closet.
    King Blues: [carefully exits closet] I knew that.
  • Kind Restraints: Piggy is so uncontrollable that he is kept locked up in Nada's car trunk - and must be chained to a pillar backstage until the moment he's ready to hit the stage.
  • King on His Deathbed: Max - until Dr. Carver reveals the truth about his Hollywood Heart Attack.
    • And then used by Max and the Saturn crew to call in every celebrity rocker - including the famously hermetic Auden - to turn the New Year's gala into a tribute concert for the "dying" founder of the famed music hall.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Sammy. He'd just been giving Val unwarranted crap about her lighting console malfunctioning - which she, in turn, had fixed with Percussive Maintenance.
  • Last Request: How Max gets the reclusive Auden to play the Saturn.
    Auden: Death...has brought you close to true art as we know it. [Beat] There's a concept album in this. I'll be right over.
  • Ms. Fanservice: At one point, Neil fantasizes about Willy in Fredericks of Hollywood lingerie...
  • New Year Has Come
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Dear Lord, where do we begin?
  • Non-Fatal Explosions: Sammy is caught standing too close to a flash pot. Not surprisingly, includes an example of Ash Face.
  • Precision F-Strike: When Max refuses to sell out to Beverly, the latter angrily vows to replace the Saturn with an arena/office complex anyway, snapping "Fuck you, and fuck rock and roll!"
  • The Precious, Precious Car: King Blues' Rolls-Royce - which Cool destroys in the process of getting to the Saturn on time.
  • There's No Place Like Home: Invoked directly by Neil, complete with heel clicks.
  • Time Bomb:
    • Beverly's henchman Marv and Mark give one to Sammy, the better to blow up the Saturn.
    Sammy: It's...ticking.
    Marv: Of course!
    Mark: It's traditional!
  • Timey-Wimey Ball: Captain Cloud tells Max he's proud to ring in the New Year - 1969. When Max informs him it's actually 1983 they'll be celebrating, Cloud looks away uncomfortably and mumbles, "Yeah, well...time's a trip, man."
  • Trash Landing: Nineteen-year-old virgin Joey is so amazed that Chantamina actually flirted with him that he falls off a scaffold - into a pile of inflated balloons.
    Joey: [dreamily] I'm in lovvvvvvvvvvvvvvve!
    Neil: If this is love, sex is gonna kill him...
  • Vader Breath: Electric Larry.