“Crazy People (1990)”
Music By Cliff Eidelman
32 Tracks/Disc Time: 65:04
In early 1990, a rather audacious comedy was unvailed to the movie going audience. “Crazy People” was released in April of that year and was a minor success at best despite it’s rather troubling start of production as original star John Malkovich walked off the film after creative differences with writer/director Mitch Markowitz and soon after, he was replaced as director only staying on as writer and executive producer on the film. The late Dudley Moore (“Blake Edwards’ 10”, “Mickey & Maude”) and director Tony Bill (“My Bodyguard”, “Untaimed Heart”) soon joined the production and the film was all the better for it. Moore plays Emory Leeson, a successful advertising executive who’s personal problems have been affecting his work to the point that he comes up with a series of “Honest Ads” that he feels would give the public a new perspective on the products they’re trying to get the people to buy or promote in travel and films. His partner (Paul Reiser, “Mad About You”) freaks out when he sees the ads and has him committed to a sanitarium where he meets a rather unique group of patients that include Kathy (Daryl Hannah, “Splash”, “Blade Runner”), whom he forms an immediate bond with. When Emory’s “honest ad campaign” slogans mistakenly get printed and marketed to the masses, it creates a public mass hysteria that yields positive results from his no bullshit approach to marketing. His boss (J.T. Walsh, “Pleasantville”) wants to seize the opportunity as a potential cash cow and hires him back along with his fellow patients to create more of these ads and milk the results. Emory soon starts to see the downside of this along with his doctor Baylor (Mercedes Ruehl, “Big”, “Married To The Mob”) as they try to help the patients as they should be help along with Cathy.
The film is audacious in its’ rather outrageous campaign ads that Moore’s character writes for products stemming from “Metamucil” to “Volvo” which probably would offend anyone today. Despite this, the film wasn’t as successful as it should’ve been, but has developed a bit of a cult following over the years on cable and home video. A wonderful aspect of this film wasn’t just the comedy itself, but a vital musical element that was a major glue to what turned out to be a bit of a love story is the music score by the then unknown and rising star, Cliff Eidelman. Eidelman, a young and amazing musician at time coming off two knockout soundtracks for the films “Magdalene” and “Triumph Of The Spirit” which were for serious dramas wasn’t exactly the first person you would’ve thought of in writing a comedy score. Boy was surprised when I first saw the film when it was released and it has always been one of my favorite scores that Eidelman has written. A fun, sweet and very comical score with a touch of Carl Stalling. From the opening track “Main Title / Madison Avenue” which is a fun, jazzy and busy piece of music that is full of energy and excitement that represents the hustle and bustle of New York as well as the ads that are plastered all over the place. Eidelman establishes this one of the two important and essential themes throughout the score.
“The Breakthrough”, “Honest Ads / Emory And Kathy Talk”, “You’re Fired”, “Cars” and “Success” represent that comidic aspects of the score with some jaunty music but also Eidelman establishes a tender theme during the “Honest/Ads/Emory And Kathy Talk” track that also develops the love theme for Moore and Hannah’s characters that would play off in later tracks such as “Kathy Talks About Adam”, “Hold Me”, “Feeling Lost” and another of the score and albums major highlights in “Kathy Is Saved”, a lengthy and lush and somewhat romantic track in which Eidelman pulls a robust effort to fulfilling the love theme to its’ grandest conclusion. The score ends on a fun little note with “The Hello Song” in which a character played by David Paymer in the film always starts and ends his limited dialog with word hello which gets a vocal riff here finally culminating with Eidelman’s “End Title” which reprises the major themes from the score for a fun little sendoff. The album also features some alternate material from the score in which Eidelman had to tweak a bit after the film had under gone some last minute edits to round it off.
Quartet Records’ album is a standout with solid production all around from the liner notes to photos which actually do include the ads created by Dudley Moore’s character in the film as a funny bonus. This album has been long in coming and one of Eidelman’s most requested soundtracks for over twenty years after the films’ release. I would’ve thought that a label such as Varese Sarabande would’ve released it a long time ago since they had produced many of his works, but it really is refreshing that another label is taking care of his work along with the pending release of another comedy score of his “Delirious” are a perfect combo that showcase Eidelman’s versitility as a composer. Meanwhile, “Crazy People” is wonderful joyous fun that will make you rediscover Cliff Eidelman’s work again. Major thumbs up!