Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Crushing On Valentine's Day With LoLicia Silverstone

Sometimes, all it takes is one scene--nay, 11 seconds--to transform a film from forgettable to mind blowing. In support of this statement, I give you--minor spoilers--the climax of 1993’s The Crush:

Sold, right?
Quick Plot: A sometimes American-sounding Cary Elwes plays Nick, a researcher and hack writer for a tabloid who moves to a sunny town to rent a house from a well-off family that includes the precocious Adrienne, a 14-year old Lolita so aware of her Lolita-ness that she introduces herself in short denim jeans and an iconic sunglass tilt. 

Before you can say fatal attraction, Adrienne is seductively leaning on walls in a way that makes her Aerosmith video hair look positively scandalous, much to the discomfort of Nick as he tries to woo his coworker (Bad Dreams’ Jennifer Rubin) and keep his job. Also in the way is Amber Benson (yes, Willow’s girlfriend Tara) as a suspicious pal of Adrienne and Adrienne’s tough guy dad who establishes himself as a tough guy by there fact that he’s played by Kurtwood Smith.
Of course, the fact that dad Kurtwood Smith keeps a working carousel up in his attic hampers his badassness slightly, but without said carousel, we wouldn’t have the aforementioned amazing climax.

So really, how can you complain?

The Crush is a shining example of 90s era trash cinema, making up for its lack of gore by instead cramming in ickily inappropriate sleaze. This is the kind of movie that has a 14-year-old Silverstone explain why she doesn’t like carousels with the pointed line “I ride real horses now,” and note she says this to her dad and titular crush with all the subtlety of Nomi Malone at the gynecologist. 

High Points
In her film and Shortening debut, Silverstone shows plenty of moxie (plus a huge skill at flipping her hair and sulking)

Low Points
Look, I appreciate the Dread Pirate Roberts as much as any child of the ‘80s, but there’s virtually nothing about Nick to make for a good online dating profile, much less focus of obsession for a beautiful and talented teenager like Adrienne

Lessons Learned
Wasps are social AND territorial (come to think of it, so are WASPs)
In the 1990s, real men wore pink dress shirts
Classy barbeques involve marshmallows and wine

As 90s nostalgia gets tastier with age, The Crush is a film that can make you giggle based almost solely on its time stamp. Trashy as a PG13 rating can allow, the movie isn’t by any means good, but it embraces its ridiculousness all the way through its foreshadowed wasp attack and heavy carousel creepily circling in an attic with a pull-down ladder. And no, there is no explanation for how exactly one moves a working carousel into an attic with a pull-down ladder (perhaps it’s some sort of growable carousel?) but that in itself makes The Crush the cheese sandwich that can satisfy any craving.


  1. SOLD! Well actually I was sold the last time I saw that clips. Punches of unusual strength? I don't think they exist! *BAD JOKE ALERT*
    That carousel looks like the killer's hideout in Chuck Norris crime flick Hero and the Terror (which had a fun first half, and a soulcrushingly boring second half, and it had a cameo from Billy Drago, who actually acts like a normal human being, not a slimy, Billy Drago-ish villain! And of course, he's still too cool for school in the cameo!)

  2. Whoa whoa whoa--Billy Drago not slimy is like...it's like...Cary Elwes doing a consistent American accent. These things don't HAPPEN Chris!

  3. Somebody got crushed all right. DOH!

    I realized that I only watched part of this on TV, but not that scene. Thank you. I will accept it as a Valentine's Day gift.

  4. May it bring you more pleasure than...well...anything.

  5. Man, that scene has sneakily escaped my memory. But yeah it's certainly a selling point if the kiddies are still conducting a little event called sleepovers.

    I never had any opinions about The Crush, except for maybe the pacing was a little off. But you did remind me of just how bad the movie is.

  6. It's bad, sure, but THE PUNCH! The Punch makes it not bad, if you know what I mean.

  7. If you follow that 11-second YouTube clip to the end, one of the follow ups it suggests is Alicia's TV acting debut... weirdly enough opposite another Princess Bride star, Fred Savage. The clip is well worth watching, as it ends with Mr. Savage in full drag surrounded by sheep. Sheep, I said.

    As for Cary Elwes, he gets cast as Americans a lot for some reason. You know that episode of "Seinfeld" where Jerry & Elaine are both waiting for another couple's relationship to end so that they can move in on the soon-to-be-ex-lovers? Cary plays the guy, and his American accent does indeed falter. I never noticed it before. In fact, I'd seen that episode several times and I only just realized recently it was Cary Elwes.

  8. WHOA! I've TOTALLY seen that episode and never realized it was Wesley. I think most audiences became aware of his poor Americanness on Saw, but I forgave that one for quick filming. Then I watched him on an episode of Law & Order: SVU and actively felt uncomfortable. What I really don't get is why filmmakers can't just adjust and say 'you know what Cary, let's just make the character British.' In The Crush, it would have at least give the audience reason to see what Alicia saw in him!

    Maybe it's just the law of Cary/rie, i.e., Fisher's surrender of a British accent in Star Wars...