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Alan Shapiro
Alicia Silverstone, Cary Elwes, Jennifer Rubin, Kurtwood Smith
Writing Credits:
Alan Shapiro

A journalist becomes the unwanted center of attention for a 14-year-old girl, who proceeds to sabotage his life after he refuses her sexual advances.

Box Office:
Domestic Gross

Rated R

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
English DTS-HD MA 2.0
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 89 min.
Price: $27.99
Release Date: 6/21/2016

• Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Alan Shapiro
• Interview with Actor Kurtwood Smith
• Interview with Actor Jennifer Rubin
• Trailer


Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


The Crush [Blu-Ray] (1993)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (June 1, 2016)

Before her breakout big screen role in 1995’s Clueless, Alicia Silverstone was known mainly as the girl who flirted and cavorted in some Aerosmith videos. What added to her status as rock ‘n’ roll jailbait? Her lead role as over-privileged jailbait in 1993’s The Crush.

When journalist Nick Eliot (Cary Elwes) moves to Seattle, he rents a guest house on the property owned by Cliff and Liv Forrester (Kurtwood Smith and Gwynyth Walsh). As he adjusts, Nick gets to know their 14-year-old daughter Adrian (Silverstone), and the girl develops a romantic interest in the writer.

All of this seems innocent enough at first, but Adrian’s crush intensifies and threatens to make life tough for Nick. This becomes especially true when Nick starts to date coworker Amy Maddik (Jennifer Rubin), a relationship that pushes Adrian over the edge.

Recast Lolita as a “B”-movie thriller and The Crush results. That’s not a terrible concept in theory, but the end result seems less than satisfying.

Not that Crush doesn’t have some positives attached, largely in terms of Silverstone’s performance. I appreciate the fact the movie uses an actor who actually looks the age she plays. Silverstone was two years older than the 14-year-old Adrian, but she certainly looks the right age. It’s good to see a teen played by a teen and not a 22-year-old.

Silverstone also adds good layers of nuance to her portrayal. It’d be easy to paint Adrian as nothing more than a cartoon nutball, and some aspects of that emerge – inevitably, given the path the story takes. Still, Silverstone offers a pretty solid performance, as she appears credible even in the face of increasingly outlandish material.

It’s the way Crush pushes more and more toward the outrageous that costs it points. Granted, I didn’t expect a nuanced, realistic approach to the subject – the film exists as a thriller, not a drama.

Still, something less campy and over the top would be nice. In his commentary, writer/director Alan Shapiro bemoans that audiences didn’t understand the comedic aspects of the film. I can’t speak for other viewers, but I get the intentional attempts to be over the top – I just don’t like them.

We don’t get many attempts to develop the characters in any obvious manner, and when the movie ratchets up the crazy, it goes too far. A more believable series of events would render the end result more satisfying.

As it stands, The Crush seems like a film that occasionally achieves “guilty pleasure” status and no more. Largely predictable and too silly, the movie has its moments – but not enough of them to prosper.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B-/ Audio D/ Bonus C

The Crush appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. While not a great transfer, the image seemed mostly satisfactory.

Sharpness was perfectly adequate. While I wouldn’t call the results “razor-sharp”, the image maintained mostly solid levels of clarity and accuracy; only a smattering of soft shots interfered from time to time. No issues with jaggies or moiré effects materialized, and edge haloes weren’t a factor. In terms of print flaws, the occasional speck popped up, but I saw no major defects.

In terms of palette, the film went with a fairly natural feel. The colors showed a bit of the heaviness typical of the era’s film stocks, but the hues still seemed fairly concise. Blacks looked fairly deep and dense, and low-light shots appeared appropriately clear and smooth. Although nothing here dazzled, the image was consistently acceptable.

At the movie’s start, we see a note that “the audio on The Crush has a phasing issue” also on the prior DVD and that Shout! couldn’t locate sources without the same problem. How did this impact the movie’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack?

Given that I don’t recall The Crush from 23 years ago, I can’t say how many of its flaws came from the original recording and how many stemmed from the “phasing issue”, but I do know one thing: the result was a mess. The audio suffered from a slew of distractions.

The soundscape itself seemed out of whack. Music spread across all five channels without any sense of balance, and effects often threatened to overwhelm the other factors.

This became especially true when the movie presented elements that should’ve stayed in the background. Take a scene at Nick’s office: footsteps that should offer minor embellishment became a loud distraction from the surrounds. Similar problems came from waves at the beach: where they should’ve been minor ambience, instead they dominated.

Localization seemed poor. As noted, the surrounds played too prominent a role, and elements in the forward channels failed to show accurate placement. None of the components provided material that appeared to come from anywhere in specific; it all turned into a fairly broad mush.

Even worse, audio quality showed significant issues. Bass response remained loud and dense, without any distinction. Speech was sibilant and unnatural; intelligibility wasn’t usually a concern, but I still turned on subtitles for good measure. The lines tended to be awfully rough.

Music was both too thin and too boomy, which I didn’t think was possible. The score and songs boasted edgy high-end along with that loose, ill-defined bass.

Effects came with the same problems. Those components sounded distorted and harsh throughout the film, and they never appeared accurate. Again, I don’t know how many of the mix’s problems came from the source or from the phasing issues, but the end result sounded terrible, especially given the relatively “modern” nature of the film.

Note that “Adrian” was called “Darian” in the film’s theatrical release. Due to legal reason, the name changed for home video, and this necessitated dialogue overdubs. These seem clumsy at best, though perversely, the poor quality of the Blu-ray’s soundtrack helps obscure the looping problems.

A few extras fill out the set, and we find an audio commentary from writer/director Alan Shapiro. Along with moderator Nathaniel Thompson, Shapiro brings us a running, screen-specific look at the film’s origins and development, story/character areas, cast and performances, sets and locations, music and connected domains.

I think the commentary starts well, as it gives us a nice array of notes through the film’s first act or so. However, it becomes more erratic after that.

We still get occasional nuggets of value, but these become less frequent – and dead air pops up more often. The last 30 minutes of the movie turn deadly dull much of the time, so this ends up as a track with a good start that falters badly as it goes.

In addition to the film’s trailer and a TV spot, we get two interviews. The first comes with Kurtwood Smith (9:59) and the second features Jennifer Rubin (13:19). In these, we hear about how the actors got their roles, aspects of their performances, and related topics. Both chats offer some interesting thoughts about the project.

In her first movie role, Alicia Silverstone showed talent. Unfortunately, the rest of The Crush tended to be campy and without material that created lively thrills. The Blu-ray presents mostly positive picture and a few bonus materials, but the audio seems badly flawed. The Crush ends up as a forgettable 1990s “B”-movie.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2 Stars Number of Votes: 1
0 3:
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