why Cranky is in pain
Reviews since 1993:   A-E     F-N      O-Z    Posters       Who We Are and Why We Do What We Do         Search the Site

Your Donations support the Site

Top Selling DVD     Books

50 Shades of Grey
Exodus Gods and Kings
Grand Budapest Hotel
Imitation Game, The
Into the Woods

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit
Theory of Everything
Ride Along
We're the Millers
The Great Gatsby
The Avengers
Amazing Spider-Man
Girl w/ Dragon Tattoo
Dark Knight Trilogy
World War Z
Happy Feet 2
Iton Man 3 combo
Batman Begins
Dark Knight
Fifth Element
The Hangover
Hunger Games
James Bond 11 disc coll.
Lord of the Rings trilogy
Mission Impossible GP
Sherlock Holmes AGOS
Singing in the Rain
Snow White Huntsman
Star Trek Into Darkness combo
Star Wars Saga
21 Jump Street
Ultimate Matrix coll
X-Men First Class
X-Men Trilogy
X-Men Wolverine

 BLU-Ray for Family DVDs 
Alice in Wonderland (2010)
A Bug's Life
Chronicles of Narnia set
Harry Potter 1-8 collection
Iron Man 2 combo
Kung Fu Panda
Lord of the Rings Trilogy Pinocchio
Pirates of Caribbean trilogy
Pixar short films
Shrek the Whole Story
Sleeping Beauty
The Smurfs
Snow White & 7 Dwarfs
Star Trek motion pictures set
Star Trek TNG Season One
Star Wars Saga (1-6)
Toy Story combo
Toy Story 2 combo
Toy Story 3 combo
Wall-E SE


Search engine by FreeFind
Click to add search to YOUR web site!
click to search site

Alice in Wonderland
Beauty and the Beast
Kung Fu Panda
The Lion King
Mary Poppins 45th LE
Princess Mononoke
Shrek the Whole Story
Simpsons Movie
Spider-Man Trilogy
Spirited Away
Star Trek movies set
Star Trek TOS (TV)
ST:TNG complete tv set
Star Wars Trilogy (1-3)
Star Wars Trilogy (4-6)
Toy Story DVD combo
Toy Story 2 DVD combo
Toy Story 3 DVD combo
Wallace and Gromit
Wall-E SE

Buy Movie collectibles
TV/Movie Collectibles

movie review query engine

NY film critics online

Privacy Policy

Starring Sean Penn, Kevin Spacey,
Chazz Palminteri, Anna Paquin and Meg Ryan
Screenplay by David Rabe, based on his stageplay
Directed by Antony Drazan
Website: flf.com/hurlyburly/

IN SHORT:  Ten Years Too Late. (122 minutes, Rated R)

As always, Cranky makes no comparison to the Source Material which was a legendary stage experience way back in my pre-Crankyhood. I'm pleased to report that creator David Rabe has stayed with the project through the screenplay. I'm not pleased to report that it still looks like a stageplay.

As a portrait of the coke-fueled world of entertainment, in this case movies or TV I think, HurlyBurly is a pretty accurate representation of those of us who were just under the movers and shakers level. We put together projects which had the sparkle of legitimacy (regardless of how big a load they were) and we all had plans for the big score of a project which would punt us up into the Big League. More honestly, we made too much money and snorted or smoked or drank most of it away. Not to mention our total disdain for the opposite sex, since the pleasures of the flesh were always way to available for a toot or a toke or a ticket to a high-powered rock 'n' roll show, which is where Cranky fit in. I'm not proud of that part of my life, but it puts a lot of things into perspective as we ponder the depths the characters in HurlyBurly fall to. It's also indicative of how much things have changed since the film's setting in the 80s, to wit . . .

Eddie (Sean Penn) is a high powered film casting director, single, with his separated from wife and kid business partner Mickey (Kevin Spacey) taking up the spare room. Mickey is, relative to everyone else in the HurlyBurly universe, the straight one. Eddie lives on "Bolivian Health Food" as he puts it. Long white lines on the mirror or little white dots poured on to the side of his hand. Coke to bring him up. Thai stick to keep him down. Agents like Artie (Garry Shandling) to shuffle in underage toys like Donna (Anna Paquin) for sexual diversions. Friends like actor friend Phil (Chazz Palminteri) who doesn't know it, but adds color and brutality to Eddie's blizzard of a life.

Into this boys club, in which relationships are usually referred to in the third person, are the two recurring female characters, a stripper named Bonnie (Meg Ryan) and Darlene (Robin Wright Penn) who is essentially involved with Eddie, but has enough of a jones for the fast lane that Mickey may somehow be involved in her life, too. Eddie stays straight and sober for his "love," but only when she's in town.

The language that David Rabe wrote, and adapted for the screen, is razor sharp. The characters vary wildly, all depending on the how intoxicated they are or aren't. It is funny and it is brutal and even a death doesn't help to sober anyone up or change any lifestyle. That's the way it was back in the 80s. That's why HurlyBurly feels like a period piece. Cranky's gut feeling, having lived a bit of that life, is that as an incisive satiric condemnation of the life, the play was dead on in its time frame. If the movie adaptation had come a decade back, (when the play was relatively new,) this review would have been a rave for the same reason. Now, it's a bitter pill of nostalgia. For those that didn't live it, HurlyBurly is a sorry portrait of pathetic losers who dreamed of being Masters of the Universe, in the Tom Wolfe mode. That's no diss on the performances, all of which are top notch. But as I've written in many other reviews during this time of Oscar®-wannabe, the ratings get a helluva lot stricter.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Eight Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to HurlyBurly, he would have paid . . .


Pay Per View level. Sean Penn and Chazz Palminteri take the ring on the mens' side of the equation. Meg Ryan continues her quest to shake off the cutesy perky image and does so very well. Doesn't make her any less cute... even after being tossed out of a moving car. <sigh>

Any other time of the year, the rating would probably have come in at about $5.50, with the caveat that the film would still find its niche among the film students and art house crowd.

buy movie posters

The Cranky Critic® is a Registered Trademark of, and his website is Copyright © 1995  -  2015   by Chuck Schwartz. Articles by Paul Fischer are Copyright © 1999 - 2006 Paul Fischer. All images, unless otherwise noted, are property of,©, ®, their respective studios and are used by permission. All Rights Reserved. Not to be used or copied for any commercial purpose. Academy Award(s) and Oscar®(s) are registered trademarks and service marks of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.