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5.0 out of 5 stars Nostalgia Has Never Been So Humourous!
This movie is tremendous for uplifting the Spirits.
To begin, the soundtrack is unbelievable. Mick Jones (Foreigner) and Chris Difford (Squeeze) penned the songs, making Strange Fruit the best thing that ever hit today's music scene.
Unfortunately, Strange Fruit are a strictly fictitional band of the late 1960's to early 1970's. To complicate matters, they were...
Published on Jan. 5 2004 by TemporaryOne

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3.0 out of 5 stars Middle-aged attempt to recapture youth.
This story of once-famous rock stars taking to the road in embarrassing middle-age summoned unavoidable comparisons with 'This Is Spinal Tap'. Here, however, the interest is less in ridiculing preposterous figures - although some of the things their singer does are conventionally silly - than fondly celebrating the desires of middle-age. When we first see our aging...
Published on Jan. 11 2002 by darragh o'donoghue


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5.0 out of 5 stars Nostalgia Has Never Been So Humourous!, Jan. 5 2004
By 
TemporaryOne (Orlando, Florida, USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Still Crazy (DVD)
This movie is tremendous for uplifting the Spirits.
To begin, the soundtrack is unbelievable. Mick Jones (Foreigner) and Chris Difford (Squeeze) penned the songs, making Strange Fruit the best thing that ever hit today's music scene.
Unfortunately, Strange Fruit are a strictly fictitional band of the late 1960's to early 1970's. To complicate matters, they were never a hit to begin with, due to drug use and inner fighting. One wonders what might have been, while listening to their fanatastic music play throughout.
The Fruit draw inspiration from The Rolling Stones, Deep Purple, David Bowie, and The Who.
Each member of Fruit are quite memorable.
Stephen Rea stars as down-and-dead-broke Tony Costello, who is asked by a festival promoter to reunite his band for a reunion tour, with hopes of reaping monetary benefits. Costello haply approaches ex-roadie Karen Knowles, played by Juliet Aubrey, to help him rekindle the flame of a dream long past.
Juliet gathers up the bitter rhythm guitarist Jimmy Nail (Les Wickes), blundering Timothy Spall (David 'Beano' Baggot), and the extravagantly glamouresque lead singer Ray Simms (Bill Nighy). Tumbling in is another ex-roadie, the hippy-toker-jokester Hughie (Billy Connolly), who never let the flame burn out.
As Juliet searches for the last member of their motley band, the elusive lead guitarist-songwriter Brian Lovell (played by the brooding Bruce Robinson), the reunited members squabble, just like old times, fighting over long lost memories.
The band is then given the chance to do a small Dutch tour, to prepare for their promised festival. With young Hendrix-like Luke Shand (Hans Matheson) taking the place of Lovell, the crew hits the road. The sparks fly as their memories flame forward, threatening to burn their unfinished goals...
Be prepared to laugh, sing, cheer, and cry, as these memorable characters etch themselves into your hearts...
"And the flame still burns
It's there in my soul for that unfinished goal
And the flame still burns
From a glimmer and then, it lights up again
In my life"
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4.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly good; dominated by Bill Nighy, Nov. 7 2003
By 
This review is from: Still Crazy (DVD)
"Big Name" stars Stephen Rea (as keyboard player 'Tony Costello') and Billy Connolly (as prototypical rock band roadie 'Hughie' - no last name known or required) are front-loaded into the credits of this 1999 release detailing the fanciful reunion of splintered 1960s British rock group 'Strange Fruit.'
No matter. The film is lorded over by supposed lesser-light Bill Nighy, portraying the David Lee Roth-like, completely self-absorbed lead singer 'Ray Simms.' Try taking your eyes off Nighy when he's on the screen...especially during his spleen-venting histrionics on-stage. This is Grade A stuff.
And, for once, US marketers got it right: the cover box features Rea and fellow band members pushed far to the back, with a preening Nighy front and center in classic rock superstar regalia and pout. That's exactly the way the movie feels.
We rented 'Still Crazy' as a 'second movie' throw-in & wound up being totally enchanted by it. Frankly, I can't even remember the other film, ostensibly our 'big viewing' for the weekend. I'll bet 'Still Crazy' - and especially Nighy - has that effect on you, too. It's definitely worth checking out.
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4.0 out of 5 stars great cast in a fun film about a 70s-band reunion, Sept. 17 2003
By 
audrey (white mtns) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Still Crazy (DVD)
This movie is quite entertaining. It has a great cast and none of the performers are wasted: Stephen Rea is the sweet guy who wants the band to take advantage of a reunion and achieve the success that internal bickering and problems cost them years ago; Billy Connolly is a hoot as the band's pragmatic roadie; Bill Nighy captures dim-witted preening lead singer Ray without making him unsympathetic; Timothy Spall brings laughs as the drummer still living in the past ('If women are from Venus and men are from Mars, drummers are from Pluto'); Jimmy Nail is the guitarist with grudges, regrets and a nice voice; and Juliet Aubrey is engaging as the woman who was a fan/runner and steps in as manager for the group. Though the two younger supporting roles aren't given much to do, that leaves more screen time for the adult characters, each of whom is three-dimensional, sympathetic and interesting. Billy Connolly's voiceovers are well-written and fun, and while not every joke works, there are many one-liners that you will make you laugh the next day.
You can see bits of your favorite 70s bands paid tribute, from Pink Floyd to Deep Purple, with insight and affection and the songs, written by veterans of Foreigner and Squeeze, are quite good. The film is very funny for the first half and then takes a few missteps as the drama quotient is elevated, but it finds its way again before the close. All in all, a lot of fun from a fine cast and talented crew, just the ticket for music fans with a sense of humor.
DVD features include: English, Spanish or Portuguese sound and English, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Korean or Thai subtitles; a short making-of featurette; a trailer; and filmographies for director Gibson and some of the cast members.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Art Imitates Life: 70's Rock Band Reunites, Aug. 23 2003
By 
Ariel Escasa (the Philippines) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Still Crazy (DVD)
The decade of the 90's saw the re-emergence of several rock bands of the 70's. Deep Purple, Emerson Lake & Palmer, Black Sabbath, Yes (the classic lineup), and The Doobie Brothers, among others, all came back loud and proud as ever, much to the delight of those of us who grew up during their heyday.
So it was only natural, and also much to our delight, that a movie about such a band was made. Strange Fruit, actually a fictitious rock group, could very well have been a real-life band. All the requisite elements are here: the member who meets an untimely death by drug overdose (were you expecting a sky-diving accident?), the guitarist who mysteriously disappears, the artistic differences, and the internal bickering that eventually leads to the group's breakup. Not to mention the long hair, the denim jeans and jackets, and of couse, the music.
Not surprisingly, the personality clashes that led to Strange Fruit's demise in the 70's resurface during the reunion phase, threatening to again tear the band apart. Art imitates life once again here, as this situation is reminiscent of the problems that beset Deep Purple, specifically guitarist Ritchie Blackmore and vocalist Ian Gillan, during the 70's and again after their reunion in the 90's.
As we watch the Fruits go through the difficult times once again, we react with genuine involvement and concern, hoping they will pull through, but at the same time wondering if the years have made them mature enough to handle the situation.
Admittedly, this film's appeal is far from universal. If you like rock music, if you are or were the type to not just listen to your favorite bands but also read about them in Rolling Stone, if you rejoiced in the comebacks of the great rock acts of the 70's, and most of all, if you hate disco, this is one movie you will definitely enjoy.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Ten Stars, June 11 2002
This review is from: Still Crazy (DVD)
I can't remember the last time I was so entertained by a movie that I watched it three times within 24 hours. STILL CRAZY took me from my somber, somewhat starchy middle-age existence and transported me back to my college years in the Seventies, when I was in a ragtag part-time band. Make no mistake about it: this movie nails the chaotic, outlandish, self-absorbed, overbearing and irresistibly dysfunctional behavior of rock musicians. The antics of the characters--even in middle age as they attempt to revive their careers--brought back a plethora of memories. I, too, can recall gigs that had gone awry; band members shouting chords at one another during a song; the frequent "artistic" disagreements; impromptu jam sessions in barns, garages, empty high school band rooms; and the thrill of connecting with an audience (usually a drunk audience).
Buy this movie...rent this movie...see this movie. It's more than just a comedy; there is a very real human component that transcends even the tumultuous world of the music industry. You'll laugh, you'll brush away an occasional tear, and you'll be thoroughly entertained.
The flame still burns. God bless rock 'n roll!
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3.0 out of 5 stars Middle-aged attempt to recapture youth., Jan. 11 2002
This review is from: Still Crazy (DVD)
This story of once-famous rock stars taking to the road in embarrassing middle-age summoned unavoidable comparisons with 'This Is Spinal Tap'. Here, however, the interest is less in ridiculing preposterous figures - although some of the things their singer does are conventionally silly - than fondly celebrating the desires of middle-age. When we first see our aging heroes, they are working a variety of unglamorous, 'ordinary' jobs. Unlike 'Spinal Tap', there is little attention to believable detail in this film, to the processes of the music industry, to the wiles of the people running and peopling it, to the alien-like removal from reality of its stars. There are various flashbacks to the band's skinny, youthful selves, but we don't believe for a moment that these pretty young men have any connection to the shabby slobs who have now, pod-like, taken over their names. These men are like any of their middle-aged ilk who reach a certain point of their life, see where they've ended up, a million miles from their teenage dreams and desires, and try to live them out before it's too late (a kind of rock 'City Slickers' if you will). Looked at this way, the film has more pathos than as a study of once-great superstars, or a satire of the music industry.
This doesn't mean there's any great depth to the characters - each is given a particular quality which is only minimally modified as the plot treads its predictable path. The bland trawl through various good-looking Euro-locations doesn't give them the rootedness or context they need (although this, admittedly, is a theme). The film's writers are a legendary British sitcom partnership, and the best scenes are those bantering and slanging sequences in interior, TV-friendly spaces such as pubs, buses or dressing rooms. The amiable cast make the whole thing watchable, but the music is neither funny enough to laugh at, nor good enough to pack the required emotional punch.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Floydian Slip, April 19 2001
By 
D. Hartley (Seattle, WA USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Still Crazy (VHS Tape)
Q: What do you call a musician without a girlfriend? A: Homeless! If that old chestnut still makes you chortle, then you will "get" this movie. Painting an absolutely life-like portrait of an "almost great" 70's British band reforming for a 90's reunion tour, "Still Crazy" does "Spinal Tap" one better (I guess then you could say this film goes to "eleven", actually). The important dinstinction to make with "Still Crazy" is that, unlike other rock 'n' roll satires, it doesn't "mock" its characters, rather it treats them with the kind of respect that can only come from someone who truly loves and understands the music. Great performances all around, with the oft-mentioned Bill Nighy a standout in a hilarious yet poignant performance as the insecure lead singer. Devoted prog-rock fans will revel in many clever "inside" references, and are sure to recognize that the character of the "lost" leader/guitarist is obviously a tribute to Syd Barrett. Keep in mind, however, that you don't have to be a rabid rock fan to enjoy this film; its core issues dealing with mid-life crisis and the importance of following your bliss are universal themes. An exceptional original soundtrack (the kind that SHOULD, but of course NEVER gets nominated for an Academy Award!) puts the icing on the cake.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A pleasant blast, Jan. 19 2001
By 
C. Ebeling "ctlpareader" (PA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Still Crazy (DVD)
Reasons to enjoy this film: 1) You came of age with the rock music of the late 60s, early 70s. 2) Your parents came of age with the rock music of the late 60s, early 70s and made sure you became very familiar with its conventions. 3) You've been to recent "comeback" concerts and wondered what was going on backstage. 4) You like The Last Waltz but love This Is Spinal Tap. 5) You enjoy well-crafted British films that are refreshingly free of American film mannerisms and celebrity mugging. 6) You like it when a film gets something "right," in this case the music and its culture. 7) Bill Nighy as the lead singer is outstanding. 8) You are in the mood for a comedy that doesn't bite much. Reasons not to watch this with very young children or senior citizens to whom you are related: 1) They won't get the music or the topical references and will either comment derisively or interrupt frequently asking you to explain. 2) They won't get the bawdier moments and will ask you to explain.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Do You Have To Be British To Do This Sort Of Thing Right?, May 28 2000
This review is from: Still Crazy (VHS Tape)
"If women are from Venus, and men are from Mars, then drummers must be from Pluto..." -- just one absolutely perfect line among many from this perfect film.
The only thing i've seen in years that can compare to this is "The Commitments"; both films get into the conflicts and camaradery and stress and joy and pain and happiness that being part of a band -- even a mediocre or even a bad one -- can involve.
Even though i knew it was all fiction, i didn't for a minute doubt that these guys really *were* Strange Fruit, a band that *almost* went somewhere and then broke up under strange circumstances.
And i was rooting all along for them to pull it off, to make a success of their reunion, to finally get the breaks they didn't get twenty-odd years ago.
A tour-de-force from beginning to end, thjis is a film that lets those of us on the outside know what it's like on the other side of the footlights... and in the dressing room... and on the tour bus...
Don't start watching this one unless you're willing to give it your full attention,,, because it's worth it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful surprise!, May 27 2000
By 
Marie C. Ray Ford "Hatter" (Louisiana, U.S.A.) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Still Crazy (VHS Tape)
It is odd, actually, that I should be making any statementsabout this movie, being that I missed the whole of the first part ofit! In deed, when I walked into the room, where my husband was watching it, I cried, "What the ( ) are you watching?" Well, as it turned out, a good movie! The thing I liked most about it, was the fact that the characters were so well rounded out emotionally and every personally type was explored: from the emotionally inhibited singer, to the drunken, over sexed drummer, to the mother hen "Let's all get along" organist, to the sneering, yet protective roadie. The elements of conflict that one would expect to see, when a group of talented personalities have been shut up in a bus for monthes on end, are there. The rivalry, the petty back biting, the opening of old wounds, the fear of age and rejection, the longing for group acceptance, the frustraction of trying to get everyone to cooperate, and the love/hate relationships that are the stock and trade of over blown egos, are played out between the band members as they try to get back a piece of their youthful glory. Actists, as a whole, are usually very insecure people, and you could see that clearly with Ray and then again with Brian. Brian being the most touching of all. The confrontation the band has with the press actually makes you want to slap someone. You truly want to protect these characters and reassure them that everything is going to work out fine. Then too, the music was wonderful and believably acted out by the cast. This was a lovely, lovely movie and I will be adding the DVD and the soundtrack to my collection! END
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Still Crazy
Still Crazy by Brian Gibson (DVD - 1999)
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