In 2011, I went to a double-feature curated by Edgar Wright at the New Beverly in Los Angeles. The first film was one I knew well: The Girl Can't Help It (1956). The second film of the night would leave me with the following phrase "where have you been all my life?" I was, of course, familiar with director Allan Arkush's film Rock 'n' Roll High School, but somehow this other gem had waited until the perfect moment to be appreciated. The moment where I would no longer want to venture out on New Years Eve. Why deal with loud music, drunk drivers, and overpriced drinks? Why? When you can stay home and watch the best and most ridiculous New Year's Eve film ever made? This is my new New Year's eve tradition that I am passing along to you. Ladies and gentlemen, I present you:
It is December 31, 1982 in Los Angeles and where else should you be but the Saturn Theater (aka the Wiltern theatre before renovations). The men and women behind the scenes are prepping for their annual New Year's Eve concert, which should be enough work but... of course there has to be a villain of the piece. That just happens to be concert promoter Colin Beverly (Ed Begley, Jr.) who is frustrated by a ridiculous thirty year lease held by Max Wolfe (Allen Garfield) - who has been operating the Saturn Theater since 1968. Max refuses to sell out his lease to Beverly, but Max's nephew Sammy (Miles Chapin) agrees to help get his uncle signature for the same deal.
Lucky for Max he has a great team to keep the festive night on track: stage manager Neil Allen (Daniel Stern), former stage manager Willy Loman (Gail Edwards), and stagehand Joey (Dan Frischman), along with lighting director Violetta (Mary Woronov). Then there is Neil's younger sister Susie (Stacey Nelkin) hanging about to meet some of her favorite rock stars - like Auden (played by Lou Reed) and Reggie Wanker (played by Malcolm McDowell).
So what makes Get Crazy so special? Well the main plot is simple but the music and shenanigans are those that can only belong to an 80s film.
In addition to the Lou Reed spoof of Bob Dylan and McDowell's Reggie Wanker as a spoof of Mick Jagger (his drummer happens to be John Densmore from The Doors) you have the following: The Turtle's Howard Kaylan playing Captain Cloud, leader of a psychedelic band - bus included; Lori Eastside from Kid Creole and the Coconuts leads my favorite fictional band Nada (a mix of New Wave, Garage Rock, and Bubble-Gum Pop), Piggy played by LA punk legend Lee Ving of Fear, and Bill Henderson brings the vibe of Muddy Waters as the character King Blues (who happens to dig everyone's renditions of Hoochie Coochie Man, especially Piggy. If you are not intrigued by a punk rendition of Hoochie Coochie Man - I'm not sure we can be friends).
Why list all of them, when I can just tease you with a few clips?
Lou Reed, forever the coolest man.
Why is Nada not a real band?!?!
Happy New Year from Electric Larry
You will not find Get Crazy on Netflix, or Amazon, or even available to purchase on DVD (VHS on the other hand can happen, if you still have a player).... but you can find currently here (for free).
Wishing you the best new year! Stay safe, but don't forget to Get Crazy! (from the comfort of your own home).