Tla Video division dekkoo marks aptly marks Pride month with the DVD release of a movie that is one of countless examples of gay-themed films with messages that are equally apt regarding tales that center around straight characters. The recently released "Crazy All These Years" finds beefy Manhattan model Ben returning to his native small-town home to care for his dying mother regarding whom he has been estranged since fleeing that community for "bright lights, big city" life on graduating from high school 15 years earlier. Ben being gay is only one of numerous causes of the estrangement.
The reel and real-life tradition of years of mutual resentment that lead to varying degrees of estrangement that lead to having to come to terms with those tears and recriminations as Mom or Dad are facing fairly imminent deaths occur regardless of with whom the adult child exchanges bodily fluids. "Nothing in Common" (1986) and "Dad" (1990) are two of the better known examples of this sub-genre of film.
The following YouTube clip of the "Crazy" trailer highlights the low-key indie vibe of this leisurely paced (but not boring) film; all this makes is a good choice for a hot-and-humid summer day.
The gay element comes in via literally girl-next-door Lori. This good Samaritan steps in when desperate times in the form of no other option existing regarding the care of Martha prompts the desperate measure of Lori stepping in to care for this mother of childhood friend/high school "its complicated" Ben. For his part, Ben considers Lori's brother Joe, with whom Ben shares a somewhat murky romantic past, the one who got away. For his part, the response of Joe to Ben leaving him behind is to marry a woman. Every gay man (and every audience member) knows that Joe and his never-seen wife are not living happily ever after.
The numerous reasons that all this overwhelms early 30-something Ben include that he is unaccustomed to caring for anyone, let alone having someone depend on him for extensive care that includes help using the bathroom. Further, as indicated above, he must literally face several tough avoided issues. For her part, the very stubborn Martha is none to pleased to rely so heavily on a child whom she considers far from an ideal son.
Moving next door, a divorced Lori is living a not-so-happy life as a tenant in her childhood home. The return of Ben represents a means of escape from a lonely existence that includes a tedious middle-management job with the only large employer in the area.
Joe presents a more interesting dynamic in that the return of Ben stirs related feelings of lost love and of reconsidering his decision to suppress his homosexuality in order to get along in a community in which he otherwise is the only boy previously brave enough to be known to like other boys. The desire of Ben to have his true high-school love realize the importance of the principle of to thine own self be true is the least selfish of his reasons for wanting to convert this current closet case back to the "dark side."
As is the case in any good drama, our four tortured souls realize more about themselves and the people in their lives through the dialogues (and the very limited sets) that create a strong live-stage feel to "Crazy." The saddest part of this is that reel and real families and the important persons in their lives either wait for dire circumstances to obtain this inner peace or allow the root of the aforementioned discord to be planted six feet under before achieving peace, love, and understanding.
Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Crazy" is encouraged either to email me or to connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.