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Wednesday, May 23, 2012


Welcome, film lovers!  I have started an insane project!  It’s called 365 – I will watch a movie a day for a year and write about them.  Doesn’t that sound like fun?  So, sit back, relax, and place your bets on how fast I give up on this thing…

360: C.R.A.Z.Y. (2005)

In my last semester as an undergrad, I took a course in Quebec Cinema for funsies.  I got to see a lot of really great movies that are either unavailable or hard to find in the US.  One of those movies is C.R.A.Z.Y.  I had no idea what this movie was about, and I just fell crazy in love with this film after we watched it in class.  (See what I did there?)

OK, the players:

Zachery Beaulieu: Played by Marc-André Grondin.  He is our main protagonist.  Zac was born on Christmas, and has hated the holiday ever since.  He has supposed healing powers and as he grows up, may or may not be gay.  He has a strong bond with his mother, and has difficulty connecting with his father or his three older brothers.

Gervais Beaulieu: Played by Michel Côté.  He is Zac’s father.  He’s pretty much your typical conservative Catholic Quebecois father.  He has an obsession with music, tends to sing the same song every year as a “performance” at Christmas parties, and takes issue with his son Zac being… well… different.

Laurianne Beaulieu: Played by Danielle Proulx.  She is Zac’s mother.  She believes in her son’s ability to heal, and loves and supports him no matter what.  She is a quiet strength in the movie, and has a strong bond with Zac.

The Brothers:

Christian: Played by Maxime Trembay; Antoine: Played by Alex Gravel; Yvon: Played by Félix-Antoine Despatie (for the bulk of the movie, he’s also played by Gabriel Lalancette earlier on); and Raymond: Played by Pierre-Luc Brillant.  Christian and Antoine are more or less just “there”, while Yvon has a special bond to Zac, and Raymond is the counter to Zac.


Michelle: Played by Natasha Thompson.  She is Zac’s girlfriend for most of the film.  She’s pretty cool, seems to really care about Zac.  Is mostly just “there”, as well.

The Rundown:

Zac is born on Christmas, and hates the holiday.  The one thing he loves?  That he gets big presents to over-compensate for this fact.  Unfortunately, when he is a little boy, his father buys him an air hockey table instead of the baby stroller he really wanted.  His mother tries in vain to get him one, but his father makes her return it, saying that boys don’t play with such things.  Zac and his mother are so close that, one night when Zac is at camp, there is a thunderstorm.  Thunderstorms apparently cause yellow showers in his bed, and both Zac and his mother wake up, afraid of what inevitably happens.  It’s a short scene, but important in showing the bond between them.

After Zac is born, there is one other kid that comes along, Yvon.  In church one Christmas Eve, Yvon is colicky.  Zac takes him, and he stops crying.  After this, his mother takes him to a psychic who tells him that he has a gift of healing.  Sure enough, every family member with ailments calls the house, asks for Zac to think of them, and they are healed.  Neither Zac nor his father is happy about this, but his mother eats it up.

As we watch Zac grow up, we see that there is way much more going on with this kid.  He decides that he is an Atheist (but still goes to Christmas mass to make his mother happy), and becomes obsessed with his flashy cousin who has the groovy boyfriend, and they dance in discos like they’re Jon Travolta and his chick in Saturday Night Fever.  Now, whether he is more into his cousin or her boyfriend is still left up in the air at this point…

Eventually, Zac makes friends with this kid who he wishes he could do naughty things with, but he suppresses it because of his family.  He finally makes a choice.  He goes to his sort-of girlfriend, and commits to a life enclosed in a beautiful, David Bowie-filled closet…

But this can’t last for long, and he ultimately outed at his brother Antoine’s wedding.  His father condemns him, and he takes off for Europe, stopping in Jerusalem on the way, because his mom would like it.  While there, he comes across a copy of a Patsy Cline record his father once owned, that he broke when he was a boy.  He had been searching for this his whole life, and buys it for him, with the hope of making peace with his father.

Also, while in the Holy Land, he gets carnal for the first time with a man.  Then he… wanders off into the desert?  Ok…

Throughout the movie, we also see his brother Raymond go from being a basic pain in the ass to a drug addicted man-whore, who is still forgiven and loved by his father, because at least he’s getting high and having sex with women.  He finally winds up dying in the hospital, which results in a now longer lost in the desert Zac to return home. 

Zac is now comfortable in his own skin, tries to make amends with his father (which, they sort of do?  They reach an understanding anyway), and he sort of apologizes to his long-time girlfriend for lying to her all those years.  Mom is happy to have her son back, and loves him no matter what. 

While this movie doesn’t end on a happy note, it ends on a satisfying one, with father and son taking a drive together, but never really talking about their differences.

This was an incredibly watered-down recap of this movie because the co-writer and director, Jean-Marc Vallée, just has so freaking much going on (and that’s not a bad thing – trust me, it’s great) that you really have to watch it to get it.  It is in French, with subtitles, but really don’t ever let foreign language films scare you off, or you will miss out on awesomeness such as this.

Jean-Marc Valee
Seriously, friends, check this movie out in all its awesomeness, you won’t be sorry.  And when you’re done, try to get a hold of Vallée’s Café de Flore.

Tomorrow, a little something from that wild and crazy guy, Steve Martin!  That’s a wrap!

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