Still Crazy
directed by Brian Gibson
(Columbia Pictures, 1998)

Still Crazy follows the rebirth of (fictitious) seminal '70s British rock band Strange Fruit, who broke up acrimoniously in the middle of a disastrous gig at a rock festival. Twenty years have taken their toll: the lead guitarist is dead, the drummer is on the run from the taxman and the singer is a barely functional recovering alcoholic. But when the festival promoter's son offers them a chance to redeem themselves (and make some much-needed cash), the Fruits attempt to put aside their differences for a reunion tour -- with hilarious results.

Still Crazy plays like a cross between This is Spinal Tap and The Full Monty. One major difference between it and the former: although it doesn't deny the pretentiousness of '70s rock, Still Crazy never looks down upon the music. Mick Jones of Foreigner and Jeff Lynne of ELO, among others, wrote original songs for the movie that capture both the appeal and the silliness of that era's rock 'n' roll.

Good performances by Billy Connolly, as Strange Fruit's roadie and mother hen; Bill Nighy, as the tormented singer; and Stephen Rea, as the band's keyboard player and voice of reason, elevate this film above the forgettable fluff it might have been.

Still Crazy is less than profound, but a lot of fun. Ever argued whether Humble Pie was a better band fronted by Peter Frampton or Steve Marriott? This movie's for you.

[ by Chris Simmons ]

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