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Crazy (DVD Review)

1 Jun, 2010 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Prebook 6/1/10; Street 6/29/10
Screen Media
$24.98 DVD, $29.98 Blu-ray
Rated ‘R’ for language and some sexual content.
Stars Waylon Payne, Ali Larter, Lane Garrison, Scott Michael Campbell, Katharine McPhee, John Fleck, Timothy Omundson, David Conrad.

With Crazy as the title and a story arc involving a broken-down country music guitar player, it would be easy to typecast this low-budget release as a wannabe Crazy Heart.

And while the latter earned Jeff Bridges an Oscar portraying a fictional country music singer saddled with personal demons, the 2007 biopic Crazy follows the career of Hank Garland (Waylon Payne from Walk the Line), a real 1950s sessions player who evolved into an acclaimed picker, singer and writer working with the likes of Roy Orbison, Patsy Cline, Hank Williams and Elvis Presley.

Garland was not only a virtuoso guitar player, he was a trailblazer in both country and jazz, bridging the racial divide between the two musical genres (much to the chagrin of Nashville-based record labels at the time), and fighting the business status quo regarding writing/singing credits, including getting paid for both (unheard of at the time).

He was also a ladies man who not only impressed with the fiddle but also had the ability to flash his guitar’s reflection in the eyes of a pretty woman in the audience. Beautiful Evelyn (“Heroes” hottie Ali Larter, in a strong performance), of course, flashes back with a metal cigarette holder, and a terse romance (and marriage) ensues.

As a story, Crazy is strictly by the numbers. The movie works (and convincingly so) by nailing the 1950s time period, country music, wardrobe and mannerisms with aplomb. Impressive turns by Payne (whose godfather was Waylon Jennings); Larter; Scott Michael Campbell as sessions player Billy Byrd, beset by alcoholism; and musical performances by Shawn Colvin, Stacy Earl and Katharine McPhee (2006 “American Idol” runner-up), make the film enjoyable — even to this non-country music fan.

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