Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Day 82: The Crush

I caught this on HBO in a hotel room in the middle of Kansas last night. About a 14 year old girl played by Alicia Silverstone who has a "crush" (in quotes because anytime someone says the word "crush" in this movie, they say it as if it is the most significant word in the English language, and I want to honor this choice) on 28 year old Cary Elwes, The Crush is a watchable, though middling, piece of tawdry fluff. When Elwes rejects Silverstone's advances, she goes a bit crazy and starts destroying his life to gain his affections. The proceedings feel alternately arbitrary, convenient, or preordained, so much so, that I thought that the movie might first have sprung to life as a trailer and extra material was then shot to pad it out to feature length. The movie also commits a cinematic crime, paying homage, I guess, to the peeping tom closet scene in Blue Velvet by ripping it off.

At the end of the movie, society's order is regained by Silverstone being committed to a looney (or, if you will, a "crushing") bin and the movie indicates that she's now replaced Elwes with a young male doctor as the object of her homicidal affections. A closeup of Silverstone smirking tells us that things are not changing. She's going to "crush" on this guy and the cycle will begin anew. I thought about how many horror movies end this way and I suddenly realized that one probable reason many teenagers get into horror movies is this aspect of them: worlds where things are fixed and permanent. An external reflection of their notion that things won't, can't, and shouldn't change, no matter how bad they may be. I'm sure that this was present during my own horror fixation as a teenager (lately I've found the genre's good/evil conflicts too based in religious ideas for my liking [seriously, can someone please do something about how frightening the prospect of NO God, NO pure good or evil is?]).

Extrapolating pedestrian and amateur insights into my teenage psche to a larger population aside, this is a movie about a 28 year old man who can't outwit a smarter-than-average 14 year old girl. Elwes's character makes so many bumbling, idiotic choices in dealing with the girl who's "crushing" on him, that I was as far from sympathetic with his character as I'm capable of being. Yeah, I mean, I get that people make dumb choices in life, but rarely do they make choices that result in such a neat and tidy narrative. The plot's leanness is one of the movie's most redeeming features, but that's a backhanded compliment. I liked that the movie went from rote plot point to rote plot point in such a clean and efficient manner, since it clearly had no insights, no new observations, no scares, nor, really, anything to say.

I kind-of forgot that movies like this one existed...