Liveblogging the '90s: Real-Time Review of 'The Crush'
Welcome to the return of Liveblogging the ’90s, the beloved feature adored by tons of people! (Wait, what’s that? Oh, I’m sorry, I meant tens. Tens of people.)
Sicily, 1918 Chicago, 2006. My two best friends, Quita and Kelly, and I are basically nonstop party monsters and could generally be found proving this by staying in on Saturday nights, drinking wine and eating Pizza Rolls while watching a double feature of The Crush and the Mark Wahlberg epic Fear (it will be rollercoaster fingerblasting its way into Liveblogging the ’90s/your hearts next week, my friends, don’t you worry). These are my “good ole days.” These are the times I look back on and think “damn, life was perfect.”
I’ve seen The Crush about 8,000 times, give or take. Before I found it on DVD, I had it taped off TV from the local Fox affiliate circa 1996. So not only was it filled with commercials, but it featured the original name of Alicia Silverstone’s character. See, this movie is based on a true story, and by based on a true story, I assume the writer/director was creep-macking on a child, this is the only safe assumption. And real Alicia’s real name was Darian, so in the original theatrical release, the one that made its way to TV, the character’s name was Darian. For legal reasons, real Alicia made writer/director/possible predator change the character’s name to Adrienne. Cary Elwes cannot say Adrienne. So not only do his overdubbed lips never match the audio, but all you can hear is “normal talking normal talking EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEDRIENNE!”
This is what you’re missing by not watching this right the fuck now. I don’t care if you’re at work or caring for a sick relative. You need to be watching this. You’ll thank me and your life will change.
For one thing, even the DVD menu music is flawless.
And in honor of my glory days, I even have supplies.
Seen here: supplies, a toddler-fingerprinted coffee table, my dog Annie Hall and the next two Liveblogging the ’90s movies.
And, thus, I am ready to begin.
00:00:34 - Right off the bat, we have the ’90sest thing that ever ’90sed and it will only get ’90ser. The font of the opening credits is ’90s. The opening song is very poppy alt-rock ’90s, like a lesser Gin Blossoms. Even Seattle has never looked more ’90s. It is like being punched in the face by Pauly Shore wearing a B.U.M. sweatshirt with a Starter jacket around his waist.
00:00:52 - Cary Elwes has never been hotter than in this movie. And I’m including the Dredd Pirate Westley. His open denim button-down with jeans and his face of perfect scruff is what dreams are made of before being crushed by pictures like this:
00:02:55 - Nick (Elwes) is looking for a place to live in Seattle in 1994 and looks at exactly two places before almost running over a rollerblading Alicia Silverstone wearing jean shorts and a midriff-baring white sleeveless button-down that ties at the waste, and don’t bother trying because you’ll never ready a ’90ser sentence.
00:02:58 - She gives him a look that at once says “fuck me” and “I’m midly annoyed at you” which will be her resting face for the entirety of the film, so get used to it. Also, her character is 14 years old. Please remember that when I describe the way the camera sensuously pans her swimsuited body later. Alan Shapiro, writer/director, you are not helping us believe that you were an innocent victim here.
00:03:44 - Nick completely gives up on looking for a home of his own and decides to live in the guest house of a fancy rich family, whose daughter is obviously Alicia Silverstone, aka Adrienne, aka Darian, aka EEEEEEEEEDRIENNE! Also, he is inexplicably filthy.
00:04:02 - Nick takes the guest house without looking inside, which is insane because it could be filled with the past victims of Adrienne. It’s not, but it could be.
00:04:57 - Also the fridge is open and there’s stuff in it and that’s just poor landlording.
00:05:16 - Stalking from moment one is Adrienne, who is journaling furiously from outside, clearly very excited at the new tenant. She is quickly joined by BFF Cheyenne, aka Tara Maclay, who wears all the vests and probably listens to a lot of Enya. Amber Benson’s pout game is top-tier.
00:06:31 - We need to take a moment and appreciate what Nick wears to his first day at work at a big-deal Seattle magazine.
He’s late on his first day, and we learn he’s been hired as a writer because he’s insanely talented but also terrible and can’t handle even the most basic grammar and punctuation. I don’t know if professional writing was different in 1993, but I feel like this isn’t how it works. Also, he would actually be murdered by internet commenters if this was today.
00:07:14 - He immediately catches the eye of Amy (Jennifer Rubin). She’s also an unprofessional badass, as you can tell by how she has her feet on her chair and throws an apple up in the air before taking a bite. She’s a photographer as you can tell by the tiny photo negatives in front of her at the conference table. This film is subtle.
00:07:57 - This is literally how his new boss describes his talent:
“Your former superiors describe you as an excellent researcher with only fair writing skills. In fact, one of them described you as a pitbull when you’re on set. Which is precisely why I hired you.”
I did not hear a single remotely good thing in there until “hired” and then I was just confused. THIS IS NOT LIFE.
00:08:51 - Oh, Nick is also fixing up an old car. This is…kind of important? Maybe? I don’t know. But Adrienne appears and immediately starts leaning against it and flirting. It is uncomfortable. It is also very slow.
00:10:29 - Then it’s night. It might be the same night, it might be weeks later. She shows up in her nightgown for more awkward flirting. It makes me incredibly uncomfortable how comfortable Alicia Silverstone is in this role.
Blech. So skeevy. Skeevy Ray Vaughan.
00:11:50 - There’s dialogue about a pool. It seems important. Don’t worry. It will never pay off.
00:12:46 - Adrienne bounces back and forth between giddy tween and hypersexed Kathleen Turner mini-monster. She also spies on him dropping his towel after a shower. This is because he didn’t shut the door. I’m not here to victim blame, but seriously, real-life bro, I’m not buying what you’re selling here.
00:14:01 - Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Dubbed: The Movie.
00:14:44 - You remember how terrible Elwes’s American accent was in Saw? That’s pretty much how it is in this movie. Ten years didn’t improve the situation.
00:15:39 - Also, remember how Nick is a terrible writer? Well, mysteriously, his article is suddenly and magically well-written and doesn’t read like it was written by a 14 year old. And that’s because, you guys, it was totally written by a 14 year old.
00:16:07 - At the main house, the loudest fancy party is going on. Classical music is loud as shit. I’d call the cops. Tell those damn rich people to turn that noise down!
00:16:59 - Nick is introduced to Adrienne’s dad, Red Foreman. At no time does he call Nick a dumbass even though he’s a complete dumbass.
00:18:05 - Nick discovers that Adrienne is a piano prodigy. He seems to be uncomfortably hardened in the pants place by this. Because a well-played sonata is some serious fuck music.
Actual exchange immediately post-piano:
Nick: If you were 10 years older…
Adrienne, hitting Samantha Jones levels of seductive: You’d what?
Nick: *weird smile*
I tell you what I’d do. I’d gag. Then I’d vom all over the second denim button-down of the movie.
00:19:21 - She asks Nick to take her for a ride in his old, unpainted car to go with her to a romantic spot by a lighthouse. I cannot stress every single thing that is terrible about the life choices this man is making.
00:21:06 - She tells him she has no friends and everyone thinks she’s crazy, then she kisses his fingers and tells him not to be afraid of her. Instead of heeding every red flag slapping him in the face, he kisses her. He kisses the tiny child. I sideeye the shit out of the writer/director.
00:22:18 - He goes home and drinks freezer vodka and looks guilty. YOU SHOULD YOU FILTH.
00:23:30 - Oh, gumdrops, here’s the aforementioned camera pan. Set to off-brand Gerardo. EVERYTHING IS UNSETTLING.
00:23:55 - Nick immediately invites Amy over, and the immediate inclusion of this scene after the slow pan means Nick knew he needed some legal ass right now o’clock. Unfortunately, Amy insults the child within moments of meeting her and gives her the crazy eyes. BAD CHOICE, AMY. BAD ALL-YOUR-CHOICES, NICK.
00:24:42 - Nick has a big work barbecue, which seems like something you can’t do when you live in a guest house because you’re having a big work barbecue in someone else’s yard, but whatever. Amy gets sent to retrieve sticks for the marshmallows, you know, like you do at a big work barbecue, and sees a wasp nest. Adrienne gets creepy with her with the wasp nest. This is foreshadowing. You are being punched in the face with foreshadow. It’s also my favorite scene in the movie.
Then Adrienne tells Amy she has small breasts. It’s the least creepy thing she says in this movie.
00:27:21 - Amy tells Nick Adrienne gives her the creeps. Nick is all “whaaaa?” and offended by the idea he did something to provoke this. Um, if the shoe and the tiny FDR glasses fit.
00:28:16 - Adrienne calls Nick and tells him she got her period, so she’s not pregnant. Nick ignores this totally weird declaration and instead asks if Adrienne stole a picture of him as a child from his desk. SPOILER, Y’ALLZ, SHE DEFINITELY DID IT.
00:29:00 - Maker of quality decisions he is, Nick enters the family house to steal his picture back. He ends up hiding in Adrienne’s closet watching her, THE 14-YEAR-OLD GIRL, undress. TOTES BY ACCIDENT. HE IS THE VICTIM AND HERO OF THIS STORY, GUYS. He stares really hard and gets sweaty. LIKE A PROTAGONIST WOULD.
00:34:34 - He almost gets caught. He does not get caught. Also, there’s a carousel in the attic, like we all had growing up, just in case a tense and creepy third act ever needs to take place. I’m sure it won’t. I’m sure it’s all fine.
00:36:41 - Adrienne’s dad re: Adrienne: “This past year she’s really blossomed…physically.” COOL STORY, JOE SIMPSON. Everyone speaks entirely in next-level skeeze this whole movie.
00:38:36 - Nick decides it’s time to have a little chat with his child neighbor about how they’re just buddies. The kind of buddies that hide in closets and watch the illegaler of the buddies undress, but buddies nonetheless. He also asks her to stop swinging on her swing, probably because it’s making him uncomfortable in his high-wasted Bugle Boys.
She then asks if he’s ever done a virgin because she knows he wants to and he freaks out and goes full British accent on her (“Let’s avoid any confusion heah!”) and she laughs because it’s hard to take him seriously, he with his blank face and silly glasses.
00:40:59 - Good news! Nick finished painting his car! Completely off-camera, but it’s done. And Adrienne keyed “COCKSUCKER” into it. Her parents don’t believe him and also don’t care because they are rich people in a movie and that’s just how it works.
00:42:59 - Cheyenne runs up and must speak to Nick about Adrienne immediately at once but also not right now, because it’s one of those movie things where it’s incredibly urgent but I’m pretty busy so we should probably meet later to chat so that the villain, who can hear things from behind a closed window a hundred feet away, has time to fuck shit up.
00:44:38 - And fuck shit up she does, by incorrectly saddling Cheyenne’s horse and making her fall off. Warren Mears was totally in on it I know it.
00:45:22 - Nick goes to meet Cheyenne in a heavily wooded area, because he’s learned no lesson, and Adrienne’s there to inform him that she is a fucking nutsack and tried to kill her friend. Nick should realize that he’s probably next. Nick is numb as a root canal and just goes back to his normal life when a sane person might say “hey, new and appropriately aged girlfriend Amy, can I stay with you?”
00:48:12 - But Nick is not sane, so Adrienne wipes Nick’s computer of all his important work stuff. He rewrites it all really quickly. As he’s a terrible writer when he’s not on the world’s shortest deadline, the finished piece will probably drive the copy editor to madness.
00:49:49 - Also, Nick discovers Adrienne has a shrine in his basement. His basement. Like, the downstairs of his guest house that he lives in and it’s full of lit candles, because he’s dense like cake made of wet newspaper.
00:50:54 - Adrienne is calling frantically and having a Glenn Close moment. Nick is changing his locks. Dude, this is 1994, go to a computer cafe or the library or your office or something.
00:52:54 - Grand news, Nick has found a new apartment…but he can’t move in until next week and also it’s another person’s house where she lives. Seattle is a major city with buildings and apartments and actual places to live for people who work at fancy magazines—how is this individual only trying to live with teenagers and old ladies?
00:53:49 - But you know who’s unbothered? Amy. So she bangs him. As they sleep, Adrienne stands at the foot of the bed like a nightmare, because Nick apparently didn’t shut or lock the door because he learns NO LESSONS. That leads into this, my other favorite scene of the movie:
00:57:40 - Amy insults Adrienne again, which is a dumbass thing to do to a crazy person. So Adrienne fills her photo studio with wasps and locks her in there because REMEMBER THERE WERE WASPS AND SUBTLETY. There is also a flawless stunt double who might be Jim J. Bullock as Prince Valium. It’s definitely not Amy.
01:01:21 - Nick finds out Amy has been attacked by murder wasps and he doesn’t immediately pack his shit and run far away. What he does do is go to a work party instead of Adrienne’s horse competition leading to her flipping her shit, going to the work party and confronting him like a crazy sex person in front of a bunch of people. She has also apparently contacted the owner of the new occupied house Nick wants to live in and told her Nick is a drug dealer. She is an impossibly skilled investigator.
01:06:15 - She is also an impossibly skilled rape faker because she does just that. She beats herself up like Jim Carrey in Liar Liar and it is implied that she took a condom from Nick’s trash and unloaded its contents in or onto her person to frame Nick. This movie is what those men’s activist group assholes masturbate to while they blog.
01:08:38 - She had time to beat herself up, sploogify and hide all evidence of her shrine before he got home from the party? It’s taken me three hours to watch this 98-minute movie. Her commitment level is strong.
01:11:42 - Cheyenne shows up and tells Nick that Adrienne has most definitely killed before, poisoning a camp counselor. Nick is all, “yup. Sounds about right.” Cheyenne decides to save the day and prove Nick’s innocence by finding Adrienne’s diary. She didn’t count on Adrienne being both supernatural and superfuckingnuts and aperating back to her parents’ house to tie Cheyenne to the carousel because REMEMBER THERE WAS A CAROUSEL AND SUBTLETY.
01:15:40 - She also lit a bunch of candles and made a whole new shrine. She is the fastest and most stealth candle lighter and shrine-maker in Seattle, maybe the Pacific Northwest.
01:17:05 - The stunt doubles in this movie are all played by Gangy Bluth after a facelift.
01:20:29 - Stunt double is giving it his all, he really is. But naturally, when Nick pins Adrienne, that’s when her dad arrives. It’s a wacky misunderstanding, like a really dark Three’s Company episode.
Then, this happens. I shouldn’t love this scene like I do. But I do. Pretend it’s a dramatic reenactment featuring Elwes as Solange Knowles.
01:22:15 - Everything’s OK now. Except Cheyenne is still tied to the carousel and just spinning around alone.
01:22:43 - Now Adrienne is in an institution where she’s clearly flirting with her therapist, who does not seem to notice this because he’s dumb too. Everyone is dumb. Except for Cheyenne. But she might still be on the carousel so it’s not like brains have gotten her far.
01:24:57 - And with a close-up of Alicia Silverstone’s dead eyes, we say farewell. Thank you for taking this journey into madness with me. This is the funnest misogynist nightmare ever!