Title: Crazy Moon (1986)
Summary: No website can agree on an “official” synopsis of this film. Let’s just say it’s a “rom-com” before that was a thing, and it’s really… strange.
Tagline: Sometimes acting crazy is the only way to stay together.
Note: I found this on YouTube. I believe it is still there; this is a hard film to find, except maybe on VHS tape. So, what I’m watching isn’t the best in picture quality, but I’ll live.
Happy Valentine’s Day, y’all! It’s kind of fitting that I ended up aiming to post this recap on the one day of the year that we’re all pressured to be romantic and shunned if we don’t have a partner. Crazy Moon is one of those “super quirky in an obvious way!” kind of films that I don’t think intended to be a “super quirky in an obvious way!” kind of films.
‘Weird’ is the adjective I keep using to describe this film to everyone I know. It’s a hot mess and needed a better director, writer, and editor. I see so much I want to fix. It’s painful how much I want to fix it.
Because of its age (32 years) and the fact that it was so low budget and is technically a foreign (Canadian) film, information is…lacking. I’m cobbling together what I can from four websites. Talk about frustrating.
A bit of back story: Kiefer Sutherland, who most of you probably best know as Jack Bauer (or in the case of Dove and Wing, as David of The Lost Boys), wasn’t well known until the mid-80s. And even then he’d done more theater then film. Literally his first acting job in the United States was Stand By Me, which he thought he failed at and was convinced he’d doomed his career over. Yes. Amazing, isn’t it.
So. Somewhere between 1985, when Stand By Me was filmed in Oregon and California, and 1986, when he went off to Santa Cruz to film The Lost Boys, he made Crazy Moon in Québec, Canada. Why do I know this? His hair. His hair is the same color as it was in Stand By Me, although longer. And he’s way too tan, which was because the hoodlum gang got frequently sunburned while filming the car scenes in Stand By Me.
Yeah, I am a strange font of even stranger knowledge but I would hands down win “Trivial Pursuit: Kiefer Sutherland Edition”.
Plus, he’s super young. Maybe 19, probably closer to 18, because he was only 20 when he filmed The Lost Boys. Honestly, it wouldn’t surprise me if he filmed this before Stand By Me, but I swear the info I can find is conflicting in every which way. The film appears to have been theatrically released in Canada in 1986, but wasn’t released theatrically in the US until December 1987, in a bid to capitalize on Sutherland’s sudden fame after The Lost Boys was a box office hit that July.
Ironically, the character in Crazy Moon is a complete opposite of David in The Lost Boys, although I think he talks even less in Crazy Moon.
Honestly, I would try to summarize the film, but I don’t want to. I think I’ll leave it all for the recap.
Oh look, Miramax is to blame for this film’s release, at least in the States. Allegro Films is to blame for the actual film. (Do they still exist?) (Answer: looks like they folded in 1999.)
The film starts with white text on black backgrounds, while jazzy? big band? music plays, but now there’s a harmonica, so color me confused. Look, it’s music from somewhere between 1920 and 1940, I’m not going to try to figure it out. (It’s entitled Boo Hoo, according to the credits. And it’s used so much I hope to never hear it again in my lifetime.)
Sutherland and Vanessa Vaughan get top billing credits before the title appears, written in cursive font in a stereotypical 1980s pink over a photo of a full moon. The rest of the credits roll over the moon, in that stupid pink font. Yeah, that’s subtle and I hope the graphic designer couldn’t get another job until they learned their lesson.
The moon, in typical 80s fashion, is subbed out for a round green-screen type effect that showcases a large mansion, the front entry covered in ivy. When the shot widens, we see cars parked along the front of the mansion, while sprinklers run to water the massive lawn.
Basically read this as: MONEY TO BURN.
The credits continue and the image fades into Sutherland’s character, henceforth referred to as Brooks, sitting at a dining table. To his left is a silver domed platter, to his right a silver candelabrum. He’s wearing an off-white sport jacket, a bow tie, and the latest technology in Walkman headphones, all the while ignoring the seven other people at the massive dinner table.
Yes, he’s listening to the song Boo Hoo, just as we are.
Brooks is sitting towards the end of the table, significant space left between him and his brother (to his left) and another party guest (to his right) which I can tell you right now is the director trying to demonstrate that this character is “different”. As if the clothing and the fact he’s listening to 1940s music on a Walkman wasn’t enough of a clue.
The older man at the head of the table stands and announces that it’s Brooks’ birthday, much to Brooks chagrin. I mean, he actually takes off the headphones and looks completely upset that this is being pointed out.
The woman sitting to Brooks’ right, at the opposite end of the table, is his father’s current girlfriend and she’s made Brooks a cake, though she states he probably doesn’t like cake. She fawns over him in a cutesy voice and grabs his shoulders and the growing discomfort of the character is damn obvious.
While the strawberry cheesecake is fetched, his father continues, saying Brooks also received his exam results: first in his class, as usual.
Brooks rolls his eyes and continues to stare at the tabletop, miserable.
As a reward doubling as a birthday present, his father has deposited a sum of money into Brooks’ checking account so he can buy whatever car he wants. Brooks’ older brother, Cleveland, looks nonplussed about this news. The rest of the guests applaud, just before the lights go out.
The cake is carried in while the annoying woman sings “Happy Birthday”. She keeps calling him “Brooksie” and he looks even more uncomfortable as she gets up in his physical space, although now he’s put the headphones back on. This is making me uncomfortable.
Repeated calling for Brooks to blow out the candles go unheeded; Cleveland leans in and blows them out, plunging the room into darkness. Unfortunately, whoever cut this scene blew it (bad pun) because when the lights come back on, Cleveland is sitting much farther away then he would have been to blow the candles out, and Brooks is gone, his chair pushed in, and there’s no way he could have made such a quick getaway.
I’m going to say it now: viewed through a 2018 lens, I would highly suspect Brooks of being possibly on the autism spectrum, very high functioning but socially inept. Of course, the film treats it as though he were just socially inept, ridiculously eccentric, and allowed to get away with it because he comes from a wealthy background.
Anyway, Brooks has escaped to the front steps. Cleveland comes out, eating cake, announcing that Mimi is still looking under the table for him. Brooks is once again listening to his Walkman; Cleveland rips the headphone off and yells in his ear. Oh yeah, now I really hate Cleveland.
We’re over three and a half minutes into the film before Brooks says a word. He complains that Mimi has given their father a nickname, and I’m going to add that Brooks speaks very quietly, almost barely above a whisper. The brothers talk about their father’s habit of getting “bored” with women and how they don’t last long. Brooks laments the loss of their mother, wondering if their father grew bored with her.
A bad smash cut and we’re in a car sales lot, looking at TransAm sports cars in every color. Brooks looks uncomfortable as the salesman yammers about the stereo and speakers, before he wanders over to a pile of dog shit in the parking lot.
Brooks pulls a disposable camera from his pocket (oh my God, that thing is huge, and has a flash built in!) and takes a photo of said dog shit, much to the discomfort of the salesman. Then he wanders off and suddenly another smash cut and we’re looking at a motorcycle with a sidecar, painted in glossy black. Brooks is in the sidecar, wearing a leather helmet and old fashioned driving goggles, while Cleveland drives the motorcycle.
Well, looks like Brooks spent his birthday/reward money.
Cleveland pulls to a stop in front of what I suspect to be a sporting goods store. He tells Brooks he’s going to get him a jacket, though Brooks looks apprehensive about this. He stays outside, with the motorcycle and sidecar, while Cleveland is inside, trying on a leather motorcycle jacket.
But instead of actually purchasing it, Cleveland rips the tag off the sleeve.
Brooks notices a young woman in the window, setting up a display; they share a casual glance. But it’s enough that Brooks goes into the store. Cleveland is getting clocked by an undercover store security guy, who’s fake shopping for sunglasses. Looks like older brother has also taken an interest in a blue Frisbee…
Adjusting the arm of a naked mannequin, Brooks attempts to ask the woman in the window if he can purchase said mannequin. She doesn’t appear to hear him. Brooks is just about to ask her again, when the store security guy blocks Cleveland, who throws a bunch of merchandise at the security guy and bolts around the store, pulling over clothing racks and fixtures in an attempt to get away. (Why the fuck wouldn’t you just run out the door, dumbass?)
Cleveland finally makes it out the entrance, the security guy hot on his heels, while Brooks casually picks up the naked female mannequin and walks out the door with it. I’m not sure if it’s a case of him being used to Cleveland’s shitty behavior and shoplifting tendencies or what. Although when he sees Cleveland is already to the end of the block, he starts to hurry and tries to shove the mannequin into the sidecar. Of course, it comes in two, leaving him to stuff the pieces in best he can. The woman in the display window witnesses his folly, laughing.
Brooks pauses, after starting the motorcycle, to notice she’s watching him, before riding off after his brother. The use of upbeat big band music is supposed to give this scene a “madcap caper” feel, but it doesn’t. It’s not even that funny.
It’s the end of the business day and we return to the sporting goods store, to see the woman leaving, the security guy saying goodbye as he locks up. Who’s across the street watching? Brooks. This might be considered stalker-ish behavior but I’m giving him a break because he didn’t really get a chance to talk to her, thanks to that asshole, Cleveland.
She runs for a bus, giving Brooks time to follow, and now it bleeds over into creepy territory, since he’s followed her to her apartment. He pulls to a stop at the curb, calling her for, but he gets no response. The mannequin sits in the sidecar, wearing a leather helmet and a fur-collar bomber jacket. Clearly he had time to go home and get clothing for it? (WTF?)
The woman never stops, entering her apartment, though he calls out relatively loudly. Hm, I wonder why she didn’t answer…
Another crappy smash cut and we’re in what appears to be a clubhouse but is really Brooks’ room. An old jukebox sits among other “old” equipment and “vintage” furniture; a string holds black and white prints of the photos Brooks has taken. The walls are decorated in what would be considered antique advertisements for a multitude of products.
Brooks appears, selects a track on the jukebox then bars the door. He proudly clips the photo of dog shit onto the wire, appropriately next to a photo of a dog. Then it turns out there’s several more photos of dog shit that get clipped to the wire, to be displayed. Okay.
I really have nothing to say about this.
Rounding the corner, past the jukebox, Brooks takes down a framed photo of a basketball team from what looks like the 1920s, to reveal a worn and torn black and white photograph of a woman with two small children, and what looks like a BMW. The car is a dead giveaway, since it’s a model that I remember from the 1980s.
The focus tightens on the woman with the smaller of the two boys in her arms. Do we have to be told this is obviously Brooks and his long-gone mother?
I can’t really decipher the emotion that overcomes him, but let’s just call it an emotional storm, because it’s mixed. Brooks runs his fingers awkwardly over the photograph (that’s just super awkward, did nobody know how to direct him?) before turning around and lifting the naked mannequin off his bed. He carries it over and sets it on what appears to be an antique wheelchair (???) just as a knock comes at the door.
Rushing to answer, Brooks pauses to hide the photograph of his mother before unbarring the door. It’s his father, who walks right in, saying something about… well, I can’t really hear it but apparently he wants Brooks to meet the daughters of some wealthy friends. The dad takes one look at the string of dog shit photographs but to his credit he says nothing, just makes a put upon expression.
Cleveland looms outside the doorway, holding the stolen leather jacket.
So Brooks is to meet Pamela, instructed to make a “good impression”, though you can tell the father has zero hopes of this. He leaves, Cleveland starts into Brooks’ room, but Brooks slams the door in his face. Sadly, no time to bar it again, so Cleveland barges in and literally pulls the plug on the jukebox.
Maybe Cleveland will have a fatal accident before this film is finished. (One can hope.)
Immediately, Cleveland sets into taunting Brooks about his date with Pamela (really, is it actually a date or just an introduction?) and starts going on about how it’s a test (??) and inferring that it’s going to be all about sex. Brooks is hella uncomfortable and so am I.
Snorting a couple lines of coke (which I guess Cleveland keeps hidden in Brooks’ room, because obviously Brooks won’t stand up to his asshole elder brother) Cleveland also infers that their father wants this… date… to be about sex, about Brooks taking command.
He states that Pamela will ‘talk, a lot’ but Brooks is to lock gaze and let her ramble, eventually slide over next to Pamela on the couch, and shove his hands between her legs.
I shit you not, that’s what Cleveland instructs Brooks to do.
And on top of it, he physically demonstrates this shitty plan, freaking both Brooks and me out. Cleveland also says to ‘torture’ Pamela a while before sticking a hand in her panties. “The rest is easy.”
If I didn’t hate Cleveland before, I seriously hate him now.
Smash cut to a young woman wearing a generous white bow scarf thing (I don’t know what you call that, sorry) a dark blazer, and oversized glasses. This is Pamela. She tries to engage Brooks by bringing up law school, mentioning she wants to go into commerce.
And that’s when we see Brooks sitting on an opposite loveseat, next to his stolen mannequin, who is dressed near-exactly like Pamela. Oh no.
Pamela explains she wants to be a mortgage broker, turning on a cassette player on the coffee table when Brooks asks her to. She tries to explain why she loves mortgages, saying most people find it boring, while Brooks is fussing with the mannequin’s clothing in pointed ways. Yeah… this is just… what the fuck…
Suddenly his hand find’s the inside of the mannequin’s thigh, pointedly rubbing it in a sensuous manner, causing Pamela to stumble and struggle through her explanation. The shot is set up in a way that the audience can see up the mannequin’s skirt, the virginal plain white panties visible.
Pamela starts to gasp and bolts from the couch in what I assume is supposed to be some kind of sexual frenzy (??) and then we’re outside watching her run across the lawn as Brooks speeds up and passes her on the motorcycle, the mannequin in the sidecar.
The predatory bent of the scene… I guess in some ways it’s better Brooks did it all to the mannequin, but it raises a lot of red flags at this point in time. It’s probably due to some personal history that alarm bells are going off in my brain and why that scene makes me decidedly uncomfortable. I’m just glad it’s over.
It’s morning again and Brooks has slept in the sidecar all night, parked outside the mystery girl’s apartment. Yeah, that’s not stalkerish behavior. A man walking a Boston terrier comes by, the dog sticking his wet nose in Brooks’ face, waking him.
Mystery girl comes out of her apartment, sees Brooks parked across the street, as a random gaggle of school children are led past (??) and she walks over to investigate. Brooks sleeps through it all, only to awaken to see her running away to catch her bus. He barely manages to get out of the sidecar as the bus drives off, torn between running to get on it or follow after it on the motorcycle.
As the bus sails past, mystery girl smiles at Brooks from the window and I’m just going to say it, Sutherland stands there and smolders like a 20 year old heartthrob. Seriously. How the fuck does he do it.
Brooks watches the bus turn the corner and drive away but then we smash cut to him driving the motorcycle back up to the apartment? WHO EDITED THIS DAMN MOVIE?
He rings the doorbell to the apartment, the door answered by a young woman with dark hair. Brooks explains he’s looking for mystery girl, and he’s holding the stolen leather jacket, but the young woman doesn’t seem to know who he’s looking for. They’re joined by a young ma and another young woman, and Brooks is overwhelmed by the sudden crowd he’s drawn.
And this is where we find out all three are deaf, as they start communicating in sign language. PLOT TWIST.
Suddenly, and this is another sign of crap editing, mystery girl JUST APPEARS at the doorway, walking out to greet Brooks. WHAT THE HELL.
First thing Brooks asks: “Are you deaf?” NO, REALLY, WHAT GAVE YOU THAT IDEA.
After that super awkwardness, Brooks starts to explain re: stolen items, but stops to ask if she understands him. She confirms but he decides to speak in a super slow manner (ugh) before asking her on a date.
I’m going to complain about every single fucking smash cut because this is ridiculous. We don’t see her answer but suddenly we’re in a very 1980s-trendy restaurant, with the couple seated at a table. They’re eating fries and Brooks tries to talk but apparently she can’t read lips when his mouth is full. Okay.
He wants to know if he should return the mannequin. She asks him why but, of course, he doesn’t understand sign language, so she resorts to a handy pad of paper and a pen. This starts Brooks’ journey into learning signs, because that’s obviously where this is going.
He queries as to whether she speaks at all, followed up by a “do you understand me?” which is going to get stupid annoying, and she answers on the paper that she’s too shy to speak aloud. She wants to learn to speak better. And somehow Brooks manages to sign all this slowly, after watching her do so.
There’s an interesting moment where STILL NAMELESS MYSTERY GIRL puts on the headphones and Brooks turns up the volume on the Walkman until she can feel the vibrations. But it’s interrupted by a “I stepped out of 1984 looking like this” punk coming over to the table. Oh that silver ear cuff is tres chic.
Whoever this asshole is, he knows Cleveland and Brooks. He immediately picks on Brooks while Mystery Girl just stares in shock (and some outrage, I suspect) until Brooks gets up and leaves. Mystery Girl, whom I’m beginning to like, stands up and squirts mustard all over the punk’s smug face.
Outside, Brooks offers to take her home and we’re treated to a weird montage of Brooks driving, Mystery Girl in the sidecar, and the mannequin somehow riding the back of the motorcycle behind Brooks. Then they’re running (sans mannequin) through a graffiti’d tunnel to an abandoned lot full of seagulls, Brooks grabbing Mysery Girl’s hand and leading her to a destroyed couch in the lot where they sit and he shows her his favorite… well I guess it’s a painted mural. It’s not exactly graffiti…
MG and Brooks share some pointed glances and it doesn’t take a genius to understand romance is blossoming.
Now they’re running along what I assume is some kind of canal? And when Brooks sees the water he sort of panics and turns around, explaining to MG that he’s always been afraid of water. But he wants to learn to swim. She signs that she can teach him (how do I suddenly understand sign language? I mean I learned some in like 6th-8th grade but that was over 25 years ago) but Brooks can’t get it, no matter how many times she signs it.
So MG gets up and runs around with her arms out like a child pretending to fly, which Brooks suddenly understands (was I wrong? I’m confused now) and reveals that she wants to fly to Europe, alone.
At least this time we get a fade instead of a smash cut, showing some bridge (sorry, I don’t know the bridges in Canada) and the couple is riding home in the growing darkness. Either the video transfer is terrible or no one knew how to light this scene, because you can’t see anything. I guess MG got the benefit of riding in a sidecar, unlike Jami Gertz who would have to ride on a bike behind Sutherland, after watching him break his wrist. (Okay, who am I kidding, I’d still ride behind him even after watching him pull a dumbass stunt like that.)
Back in his room, Brooks is reading ‘The Joy of Signing’ (is there literally a ‘Joy of’ book for everything now?) and practicing signing (I wonder how much of it Sutherland retained?) but someone is trying to get in his room. Leaping off the bed, he covers the photo of his mother just as Cleveland succeeds in knocking the bar free with a huge kitchen knife. He enters, holding it aloft like fucking Norman Bates (die, Cleve, die) before stabbing into a beam and pulling the plug on the jukebox, again.
Yet again Cleve goes for the cocaine stashed in Brooks’ desk, informing his brother that Pamela’s sister said Brooks has met a girl. Brooks, of course, neither confirms nor denies. After Cleve asks if Brooks is going to ‘pork’ her (DIE CLEVELAND DIE) Brooks quietly asks why Cleveland keeps his drugs in Brooks’ room.
Cleveland doesn’t immediately answer, unless you count snorting a huge line of coke as an answer. (Ironically, Sutherland would play a coke addict in Bright Lights, Big City a few years down the road, and Tad Allegash was just as much a moneyed, yuppie asshole as Cleveland. But Allegash was a suave motherfucker and so. hot.) (Yes, I know, I have issues.)
Cleveland claims the coke was a birthday gift (?) and that no one ever looks in Brooks’ room, so he’s doing Brooks a favor (??) WHO THE FUCK WROTE THIS MOVIE.
MG is working on phonetic sounds in the mirror. Her male roommate wanders past and gives her a look (?) but she works until she’s able to say Brooks’ name to her satisfaction. OH LOOK ANOTHER FUCKING SMASH CUT. Brooks is outside, on the motorcycle, the mannequin finally gone. MG walks out, rocking one of the most quintessential 80s outfits ever (giant white belt! denim mini skirt!) and climbs into the sidecar. Man, this Kowasaki is weak-assed compared to the beast Sutherland rides in The Lost Boys. Sorry, drifted there.
Wow, they don’t even get to be seen starting the bike, it’s just a goddamn smash cut to them walking along a path framed by metal fencing. Brooks demonstrates that he’s learning to sign, by signing that while saying he’s learning to sign. Ugh. MG signs in reply that she’s learning to speak. Brooks is confused and now I will forever know how to sign ‘why’, since it keeps happening. MG has to resort to pad and pen again and explains she wants to be among hearing people, then adds flirtatiously “sometimes” before running down the path, leaving Brooks flustered.
Now we’re bonding over how MG was born deaf and Brooks was abandoned by his mother as a baby. God, this is awkward. We learn there’s a lot of mystery surrounding Brooks’ mother’s sudden disappearance (OH GEE COULD IT INVOLVE WATER?) and no one will tell him what happened or talk about it.
I don’t know much about where this was filmed, but there’s a giant sphere that reminds me of the giant sphere at Epcot, only it’s not solid, and now the couple is running around the abandoned grounds and into the belly of the sphere but now we’re at the top? Of the concrete inside platform? Looking at the city scape? And there’s zero talking? Okay.
They sit on the stairs and MG tugs on the headphone cord, but Brooks doesn’t understand the signs she makes, so MG whips out A FUCKING SPRAY CAN OF BLACK PAINT AND STARTS WRITING HER QUESTION ON THE CONCRETE FLOOR WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU KIDDING ME
MG wants to know what music is like.
Brooks gifts her a really fancy silver Walkman. MG says thank you aloud, Brooks repeating the words for her to mimic, getting a kiss on the cheek in return. Now they both have headphones on and are dancing over the spray painted words. Wow, he can dance. Not perfectly but passably.
Now it’s dark and we’re all trapped listening to Boo Hoo again (oh my god couldn’t they afford a second song??) and the awkward half of me thinks this is adorable because dating in 2018 is a fucking nightmare but the logical half of me is like THIS GODDAMN MOVIE.
We move on to Cleveland driving the motorcycle and Brooks in the sidecar. Cleve is admonishing Brooks for listening to ‘weird’ music, and how he’s going to stay out all night to get good tickets to a rock concert in the morning. Brooks actually grows a backbone and says he LIKES his music. Yay! (Boo Hoo still sucks.)
Oh crap. Cleve starts acting real antsy and tells Brooks that he needs sandwiches if he’s going to stand in line (there is an actual line now, we’ve arrived at the venue, but I can’t identify who the artist is based on the images in the windows) but he’ll get the sandwiches! Brooks just needs to stand in line and hold Cleve’s place.
CAN YOU NOT SEE WHERE THIS IS HEADED HOW CAN YOU NOT
Cleveland gives Brooks a big awkward hug before departing on the motorcycle. (Fingers crossed for a fatal collision!) Now we SMASH CUT to the marquee, which states Rational Youth (a real Canadian new wave synthpop band which I figured out from the clothing of the people in line, and Sutherland might have liked them, don’t ask why I know this) is the act everyone’s waiting in the ticket line for. It’s also dark now. Most of the line is lying on the sidewalk but Brooks is still standing.
Then it starts to pour down rain.
FADE CUT to the next morning, Brooks is barely awake as someone hands him a beer, just as Cleveland rides up. ASSHOLE, HOW DID YOU NOT DIE. Cleveland fake apologies but claims it was an unbelievable night. Just then the line starts moving, abandoning poor Brooks to stand there, exhausted and confused. Dude, you could have fucking left, gotten in a taxi, and gone home. This one is on you.
SMASH CUT TO A SMALL CHILD DUMPING WATER ON HER HEAD FROM A PLASTIC BUCKET. I hate this editor.
MG is trying to get Brooks into the… it’s not really a pool, more like a shallow reflecting pond filled with children… but he can barely put a foot in. Eventually she succeeds, running around to the other side to be there when Brooks finishes crossing, since he’s got his eyes shut. Aw.
Now we’re in an actual swimming pool, watching under the water as Brooks awkwardly tries to walk, MG leading him through the chlorinated water. Chest-deep now, Brooks freezes. MG drops under the surface, popping back up to continue to cajole Brooks into swimming. He isn’t having it, so she swims down and around him underwater. Okay. (The farmer’s tan is killing me.)
Brooks continues to refuse so MG splashes him in the face. It has the opposite effect, sending him to the side of the pool, to cling to the metal ladder. Oops. She consoles him, telling Brooks it’s all right.
Guess what! TIME FOR ANOTHER SMASH CUT. (If this was a drinking game, I’d be smashed. GET IT?)
A speech therapist inquires if the members of the group have been wearing their hearing aids. One girl proudly displays hers. Apparently lip reading isn’t enough and the members are supposed to work on hearing sounds. MG looks none too happy, answering by speaking. Her plan to travel Europe alone looks in doubt.
MG and the other girl are revealed to be sitting in front of a mirror, helpful for practicing pronunciation. I went to some speech therapy as a child for Rs and Ss sounds, though I never used a mirror.
MG’s name is finally revealed! Anne! Finally. That took exactly half of the film’s running time.
Anne is asked to stay after the lessons end. The speech therapist inquires how things are going and Anne says she met a friend. Apparently the speech therapist has heard about this. Wow, news travels fast? The speech therapist then starts in about how a relationship between a deaf person and a hearing person will become difficult because of communication issues. Yeah, okay, hearing people can get impatient, but geez speech therapist lady, way to try and force isolation on Anne.
Anne defends Brooks (yay) as being different. Which is true in a lot of ways.
Now we’re at dinner at Anne’s apartment, where her roommates are all speaking in sign, while Brooks tries to understand. A blonde who has learned to speak interprets, Brooks tries to show off that he actually does understand sign language, but mistakes the signs Anne’s roommate uses. He thinks she called him an animal when in fact she was saying he has a ‘nice body’.
Well, I can’t disagree.
I think the scene is trying to convey that the majority are perfectly happy to communicate in the way they are accustomed and screw outsiders, even though Brooks is making a concerted effort to understand, and Anne is also making effort to speak, instead of relying solely on the blonde woman.
Anyway, Brooks is very ‘oh’ at this compliment and there’s an awkward moment but Anne is smiling and thinks it’s hilarious. There’s a lull in the conversation then the phone rings, demonstrating how technology has helped deaf people via the use of teletype devices. One of the roommates answers then tells Anne it’s her mother on the phone. Of course, yet again, Brooks has to be informed by the blonde, because no one else will do it.
Anne types out that she’s busy but will call back later, before rejoining the group at the table. The blonde informs Brooks that Anne comes from a country where they don’t have speech therapy (??) and Anne announces that she’s going to speak while she’s in Europe (???) You know, for all this movie is attempting to show about acceptance and differences, they’re really going about it in a weird way.
Meanwhile, everyone else is staring at the TV, watching a music video I can’t identify. Brooks takes a chance and asks Anne if she likes rock and roll. She does. Then he asks if she’s been to a concert, but in a long ass way. Like, dude, you could have cut half the words out of that question! Who wrote this!?
Unsurprisingly, Anne has never been to a concert. Brooks admits he hasn’t either, like it’s some shameful secret.
DAMN IT, SMASH CUT TIME. Drink!
Oh, so here’s Val, Pamela’s older sister, who’s Cleve’s date for the concert. Guess who can’t find the tickets? (I can tell you where they are, Cleveland…but then I’d have to kill you.)
Sure enough, there’s Brooks and Anne at the concert, though this is a weird setup. There’s a bunch of people crowded at the barrier but a whole open dance floor at the back. Okay. They easily make their way up through the sparse crowd just behind the few rows of people at the barrier and start dancing. Okay.
Cue stupid montage of them dancing (well, Anne’s dancing, Brooks is just awkwardly stepping in place, guess he lost his skills after that waltz sequence) with some close ups on the front man singing a New Wave ballad.
My head can’t take another hit on the desk. Seriously, who wrote this?!
Whoa, major 80s sweat/headband, Anne!
Brooks is in bed when someone manages to pry up the bar on his door. Oo, plot twist! It’s Father this time, not Cleveland! (So being an asshole runs in this family; it just skipped Brooks.)
Father wanders in, eyes the dog shit photographs and kind of sighs, then informs Brooks he’s “arranged” for him to meet someone named Bruno (?) and I get the feeling this is a therapy appointment. Uh oh.
SMASH CUT (I swear to god…)
We’re treated to a pile of photos of dog shit, being looked over by the aforementioned Bruno, while Brooks sits there, looking slightly worried. Bruno thinks Brooks is locked in a power struggle with his father. (no.) He also says Brooks was in a power struggle with his mother as a child. (no.) And now he and Brooks are going to work together to understand this. (NO.)
It’s suddenly dark and Brooks is walking very quietly up a set of concrete stairs. He sets a brown paper bag in front of a door, lights it on fire, then rings the doorbell, fleeing quickly. Of course Bruno opens the door and tries to squash the burning bag with his slippers, which sends a squelch of dog shit everywhere.
Really? Really? Really.
SMASH CUT (I want to die.)
We’re back at the pool, watching a pair of synchronized swimmers practice. Brooks, clad in bright yellow water wings and a snorkel (?????) stands at the side with Anne. He’s even got goggles and nose plugs. Why not just put him in a animal floaty ring while you’re at it!?
Anne tells him to get in and swim. He stops long enough to correct her pronunciation before he refuses. Anne swims to the middle of the pool, trying to get him to join her. Brooks manages an extremely over the top comical dog paddle (oh god the embarrassment) and I swear his feet never actually stopped touching the bottom of the pool but he makes it about half way to Anne before stopping. She comes over, signs and indicates for him to hold his breath and dunk under the water.
It doesn’t happen, because Brooks apparently can’t understand she’s telling him to hold his breath, not just suck in a mouthful of air and look ridiculous.
(I… I can’t watch…)
Anne dunks again but Brooks can’t do it. Surfacing, Anne commands “SWIM!” Brooks refuses. She informs him if she can go to Europe, he can swim. I would call that apples to oranges but I get the sentiment she’s going for.
Brooks refuses yet again and takes off back across the pool to climb out. Oh god he was wearing flippers on top of it all. He sits and sulks on the concrete steps while Anne looks on, super amused.
Anne is practicing vocalizing vowel sounds in a mirror, while the mannequin’s feet are dragged up some carpeted steps. Mimi, father’s girlfriend, barges in (my god, no one fucking knocks) and finds the mannequin wearing a similar outfit to her own, though the mannequin is hanging from a noose.
Brooks seems surprised she’s shown up in his room and caught him. Mimi informs Brooks that she and his father are leaving for Paris the next afternoon (and she keeps touching her throat/neck in a weird way, though I think the director was aiming for her being upset by the noose? I can’t tell!?) but she hears Anne and introduces herself.
She rambles away but Anne doesn’t answer, leading to an awkward pause. Finally Anne manages to say hello but Mimi pulls her hand away super rudely and ugh all these secondary characters are fucking horrible people. There’s more awkward silence before Anne signs to Brooks, who signs in return. He very quietly informs Mimi that Anne is deaf.
Mimi acts like Anne is contagious and a second-class citizen and backs away quickly. “Deaf. That’s nice.” You can die, too, Mimi.
Anne announces that Brooks’ family thinks she’s a freak.
BROOK CORRECTS HER PRONUNCIATION OF FREAK.
…I…I… I can’t. I can not. DUDE, NOT THE TIME.
Anne and Brooks are walking… somewhere that has a fountain… and Anne asks him if he’s ashamed of her because she’s deaf. (?!?!) Brooks emphatically insists that no, he isn’t and I can see it before it even happens… this horrible foresight I am cursed with…
He jumps in the fucking fountain and swims to prove it.
Okay, firstly, a fountain? Secondly, this is the most lively this character has been through out the entirety of the film. And then we get super hotness because Brooks rides home with his shirt unbuttoned and the bow tie undone and I need to jump in a fountain right now.
He arrives home to find his father, Cleveland, Mimi, some other woman, and Bruno sitting around the dining room table. IT’S A FUCKING INTERVENTION!
I don’t like where this is going.
Father announces that more “unconventional behavior” has come to his attention and that Cleveland “found” drugs in Brooks’ room. Oh, Jesus, of course Cleveland smiles brightly at Brooks. I want to punch him in the mouth and run him over with the motorcycle. Fucking asshole. I am pissed off now.
Brooks attempts to explain the coke is Cleveland’s, Father talks over him, and Bruno announces that cocaine is not unusual in a teenage boy (WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK) and then brings up the dog shit photos (again, accursed foresight told me that would be brought up, ugh) and tells everyone that Brooks suffers from fetishism. Which requires institutionalization to deal with.
I’m sorry, what? What the actual fucking fuck?
I have absolutely had it with this film, people. Like I honestly have fears about being institutionalized because of my mental health, and the fact that someone fucking wrote this and not only didn’t know what the fuck fetishism is but then went on to claim a psychologist would claim someone needed to be institutionalized for it (which, okay, was a thing back in the day I’m sure but still this was in 1980-whatever and mental health was still not handled well, I’m losing my point here) is genuinely making me angry.
Mimi claims that means a sanitarium (ugh, fucking twit) but Bruno says it means a residential facility (okay) where they would give him quack medicine and vitamins. I really want to set shit on fire right now.
Father asks if Bruno’s opinion means that Brooks should go to a psychiatric hospital, which Bruno agrees is his opinion. (FUCKING DIE, BRUNO) Father then announces that he and Brooks need to be alone. Everyone gets up to leave, Cleveland walking up to Brooks and asking if he enjoyed the concert, before sniffing heavily like a fucking cocaine addict.
Really, every single one of these stereotypical secondary characters are assholes. Not only that, they’re poorly written. And that makes it worse to watch.
An imposing shot of Father staring down the long length of the table at Brooks blessedly does not dissolve into a goddamn smash cut.
Instead, Father gets up and basically lectures Brooks that he can be as crazy as he fucking wants, take all the photos of dog shit and dress in archaic styles, so long as he keeps up appearances. Sadly, I know how to fake appearances very well. It’s a game no one wins, especially at the cost of your sanity.
Brooks is informed changes will be made: his room remodeled, the mannequin is out, along with the motorcycle sidecar and the dog shit photos. (That last one I agree with.) Cleveland is to stay at the house and be in charge (holy fuck, you’re an idiot) and Brooks is to stay with his aunt Elsa. And he is not to upset Elsa. Okay.
Everybody’s favorite SMASH CUT is back!
Anne in the sidecar, Brooks seems to be fleeing the city? Or something? Because they’re riding a long time for a montage. At one point Anne is driving and Brooks is wearing the most “normal for the 80s” clothes I’ve ever seen him in. They eventually arrive in the country, where a trailer home is parked next to an old barn, and a big man is getting out of an old truck.
Plot twist: it’s Anne’s parents! She’s taken Brooks to their home! Double plot twist: they’re not deaf!
Anne’s mother takes her in the house, leaving Brooks to sit awkwardly in the sidecar while her father does the stereotypical interrogation routine. SMASH CUT…
…to dinner, where Anne and her mother say grace and are obviously Catholic, while the dad eats during the prayer and pointedly asks if Brooks is spending the night. AWKWARD.
Anne insists he is, giving her father a pointed look. So Dad tries another tactic, trying to talk motors with Brooks. Brooks has zero knowledge about the motorcycle, so that goes over like a lead balloon. Anne informs her father the motorcycle has two carburetors but she says it aloud instead of sign, shocking her parents. So much so that her mother demands she repeat the sentence a bunch of times, much to Anne and Brooks’ chagrin.
Dad is so thrilled he offers Brooks a whole second helping of macaroni noodles!
Out in the yard, Brooks watches Dad work on the motorcycle. Basically, Brooks knows nothing and Dad is mad that “everything is made in Japan.” (Ugh.) That’s the shittiest segue into how Anne was a tomboy when she was a little girl but that’s what happens. Somehow (?) no one realized Anne was deaf (??) until she was four years old (???) but Dad just thought she was stupid.
Ow, my head.
Oh, good to know, there’s nothing “wrong” with being “stupid”, Dad.
Wait, so now it’s she was super slow to learn to talk and that’s how they learned she was deaf. That is some super shitty writing right there. Like, I can see how it could be both things but whoever wrote it handled it poorly.
SMASH CUT means that scene is over and now Anne and Brooks are running through a field and this is just awkward looking. Oh god, there’s rocks, let me guess, a river or a lake or a pond is coming up?
Brooks slows up and SURE ENOUGH THERE IT IS A FUCKING LAKE DAMN YOU FORESIGHT and Anne is stripping off her shoes and so-very-80s shorts and is down to her bra and underwear and of course she turns and gives the camera this most awkward look that I suppose is an attempt to be flirty and seductive? I don’t know, it just comes off as cheesy and written by a fucking hack writer.
We go from Brooks wandering through the tall grass to a SMASH CUT of Anne jumping feet-first into the lake. DAMN IT, EDITOR. Anne frolics in the water, but Brooks stands at the edge of the high rocks, still dressed, staring anxiously before backing away.
Eventually he just sits in the grass and it is a very long and awkward reaction shot, before Brooks looks up to see a ton of birds wheeling in the sky. Leaning his head back against the rock and closing his eyes, Brooks doesn’t see Anne pop up next to him to kiss his cheek.
Cue awkward kissing. Which leads to super awkward making out in the tall grass. AND SMASH CUT to Dad tightening a bolt on the motorcycle. I dunno, would that be considered a subliminal message about what’s happening down by the lake? If he was screwing a screw, I think that would be more spot on?
Nope, it’s not, because Brooks is sitting on the back of the bike while Dad bitches about metrics and the Japanese again. (Oy.) I guess it’s up to the viewer’s imagination about what happened down by the ol’ watering hole.
They’re packing up to leave and it turns out this is where Brooks has been hiding out the whole time he was supposed to be staying with aunt Elsa. Ohhhhh nice and sneaky! Mom states that Anne has to write letters, since she’s off to Europe next week. Boy, Brooks looks pissed about that news.
(I’m honestly still trying to figure out what country Anne is from that doesn’t have a speech therapy programme but is somehow still Canada. BECAUSE THIS IS OBVIOUSLY FUCKING CANADA.)
Anne bids farewell to her parents while Brooks sulks out of frame, revving the motorcycle and obviously unable to process the emotions he’s feeling. There’s a couple of pointed looks between him and Anne before she climbs into the sidecar and they’re off, returning to the city.
(Seriously, the shots of them riding the bike are so fucking fake it’s laughable. Like, obviously that bike and sidecar are mounted and being pulled, because the bumps are ridiculously huge.)
This is supposed to be a serious scene, Brooks barely processing his emotions (and barely steering the motorcycle) while a sad song plays over the scene. I’m just staring because:
They return to the dome thing, and Anne’s spray painted writing has been rejoined by more spray painted writing that I can’t read because it’s too dark. They climb the metal steps, Anne begging Brooks to speak to her. He won’t and Anne tells him he knew the trip was happening, that she tried to tell him it was sooner than later. (WHEN?)
Annnnd Brooks is all “WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS TO ME, DON’T LEAVE ME. I LOVE YOU.” And now I want to slap him.
In a stunning moment of empowerment, Anne informs Brooks that the trip is for her, is important for her. You go, Anne! Put yourself first! You don’t want to get tangled up farther with Brooks’ awful family!
I’m seriously distracted by Brooks’ filthy white tennis shoes. They’re practically glowing.
He takes Anne’s statement poorly, asking what “ all this” was for. Oh my god, stop, please stop. He turns to walk away, but Anne declares she loves him, too. STOP. But for some reason Brooks has actually run off, down the stairs, and doesn’t hear her. Okay.
Dude fucking ditched her! Damn it! I CAN’T EVEN WITH THE EDITING. Brooks arrives home to find the lawn full of cars, loud music playing, and a beer bottle in the fountain. His room has been broken into and trashed. And, of course, the photo of his mother has been taken. Like I couldn’t see that coming from a mile away.
Outside, the pool deck has been utterly trashed, and that’s where Brooks finds Cleveland. It’s set up like a weird gang face off, though Brooks has nobody to back him. Odd. Cleve announces that they’re competing for their father’s attention. What? And Cleveland goes on about pulling crazy stunts to get said attention, because that’s what he believes Brooks does (instead of it being what Brooks actually likes) and everybody is all amused by this and I want to strangle Cleveland with his Clash shirt.
Apparently Cleveland believes Brooks picked a deaf girl to date because that was the ultimate “crazy” attention-seeking stunt he devised to get attention. (What.) Cleveland actually says Brooks did it to “gross everybody out.” WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK.
Brooks runs into Cleveland, intending to maybe punch him? But Cleve knocks him down and spits on him. OH GOD I HATE YOU.
Instead of kicking Cleveland in the nuts, Brooks manages to get up while Cleve pulls the photo of the mother from his oversized pants pocket. (Hey, it was the 80s.) Cleveland insists that Brooks is actually sick and it isn’t an act. Brooks begs “Clevey” (WHAT) to return the photograph.
Standing on the extremely long diving board, Cleveland walks to the very end, taunting Brooks. Of course Brooks climbs on, Cleveland bouncing on the end. He actually asks Brooks if Anne can hear him while he’s “screwing her”. CUE THE FIGHT MUSIC, LITERALLY!
Charging Cleveland, the brothers end up in the pool, the photograph sinking to the bottom. I guess they’re supposed to be fighting but it just looks fucking awkward. FINALLY BROOKS LANDS A PUNCH!! YAY!!!
This is one of the most fake fights ever. Somehow they end up at the side of the pool and I can’t tell if Cleveland can’t swim or what, but Brooks holds him there before he moves to punch his brother, stopping short. GOD DAMN IT!
Cleveland whines that she’s his mother, too, and Brooks is all I KNOW THAT and I’m sitting here SCREAMING AT THE IDIOCY OF THE SCRIPT.
Brooks ditches Cleveland in the pool, leaving him with the photograph, while I guess Cleveland is supposed to be crying? I can’t tell. Brooks wanders away, soaking wet, and SMASH CUT to the International Flight Terminal. Okay.
Anne is hugging her roommates goodbye, looking longingly towards the doors (?) then goes through the once realistic airport security. Wow that gate is like right on top of the metal detectors! Wait, it’s not a gate? But a tram station? CONFUSED.
She hands over her ticket and boards the tram, still looking back every so often. Like, look, at this point we all know he’s gonna show up at the last minute. It’s a standard trope.
Okay, that is the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen in my life! It’s the fucking concourse on wheels??
A note falls from Anne’s pocket or bag (?) and she bends down to retrieve it, only to realize a fucking mannequin is sitting next to her. HOW DIDN’T YOU NOTICE THAT BEFORE? She gets up, looking for Brooks, only to find him riding the motorcycle next to that… thing on wheels… and he holds up a heart-shaped note that has “SEE YOU SOON” written in block letters. Gag.
In a stunning bit of reality, Anne points out that security is coming for Brooks, because you know he’s illegally riding on the airport tarmac and why wouldn’t security be coming for him. Brooks thanks her, and she mouths thank you in return (gagggggg) then makes the hand sign for ‘I love you’ (the same one morons make at concerts when they mean to throw the horns but put their thumb up as well)
The horrible pink typography credits roll over the ending, as Brooks tries to ride away from airport security, as the futuristic thing on wheels docks with the jumbo jet but really Brooks isn’t trying to escape, he’s just riding in circles on the tarmac and I’m like so THAT’S where Sutherland got his reckless riding habits pre-Lost Boys!
Brooks stays long enough to watch the jumbo jet take off, speeding Anne out of his life. The security guard finally gives up and Brooks yells in excitement (much like David during the beach ride, HAHAHAHA, so awkward) before the credits continue to roll and THE END fills the screen.
This is a very problematic movie.
I get what they were going for: eccentric young man with a family comprised of wealthy assholes who verbally, mentally, and physically abuse him makes a connection with a young deaf woman who is trying to bridge both worlds she belongs to and come into her own. Noble concept for a film.
Sadly, the story telling and execution was shitty and awful. I can’t even call the slightly good moments good, because they really weren’t that great or very memorable. The movie also tried to rely on too much humor, too much physical comedy, but it wasn’t funny. It was annoying, that’s for sure.
So many threads were left unexplained. Why did Brooks fear water? What happened to his mother? Where the fuck did Anne grow up that didn’t have speech therapy? Why does Anne’s dad hate the Japanese? Why was Brooks obsessed with Boo Hoo? Did Brooks decide to strike out on his own and escape his family? All that and more were thrown into the mix but never given any sort of satisfying conclusion.
Really, I didn’t expect answers on some of it; some questions should be open-ended and left up to the viewer to decide. But a lot of that was used or made to seem like major plot points or important pieces to the characters and then dropped at the end. It’s shitty writing. And possibly shitty editing, because who knows what was filmed but cut from the final print.
Vanessa Vaughan was great. I don’t know that she went on to do more film/TV projects, but she was great. She was the most believable character and the production got one thing right by casting a deaf actress to play a deaf character.
Sutherland was good, but it bears stating that this kind of role is stuff he’s good at. He doesn’t have to talk, he can emote and look relatively vulnerable when need be. Sure, he’s not 20 anymore but he can still take on a character and become that character, unlike so many actors today. Do I like Brooks? Not really. I may understand some of the character but the plot was too steep to believe that he would come out of his shell and change (rather drastically by the end) in such a short time.
Everything else sucked or was awful, and sometimes triggery, and I hate the director, editor, and writer. So much potential, a pair of excellent castings (the rest were awful) and it was all wasted.
Am I ever going to watch Crazy Moon again? Unlikely, unless I randomly want to watch Sutherland smoulder at a passing bus or wear water wings. Can I honestly recommend it? No. No, I cannot.
So. Happy Valentine’s Day! I am so, so sorry.