Corn figures prominently in Richard Squires’s Crazy Like a Fox. When a pack of horses eat more than a few kernels from a nearby farm, the animals sink their owner, Nat Banks (Roger Rees), into irreparable debt. The poor man mopes around his dilapidated estate before selling it to a power couple from D.C. at the behest of his wife Amy (Mary McDonnell), then squats on the land after the buyers turn out to be grade-A pricks. Squires doesn’t leave a whole lot to the imagination, uprooting the subtext Phil Morrison’s Junebug kept richly underground: Nat conjures Richard III and the histories of at least a half dozen Civil War stalwarts, from Lee to Sherman, stressing today’s “civil” war between cosmopolitan and small-town values. This isn’t new terrain, but let’s cut Squires some slack: His film has been sitting around since mid-2004, way before it was hip to reduce the nation’s cultural and political dichotomies to the colors red and blue. Squires is on the right side here, and his film is peachy whenever it sets its sights on Nat stubbornly refusing to let go of his tradition and his backyard’s sweet Southern comfort, but it ferments horribly whenever Will and Ellie Sherman (Paul Fitzgerald and Christina Rouner) take center stage, condescending to everyone around them like cartoon ghouls: Ellie shoos her hand-me-down employees away with a little bell and Will says at one point after a phone conversation, “Idiot didn’t even know where Palm Springs is.” These types of people would deserve Squires’s scorn if their attitudes were as richly illuminated as those of the eccentric, old Virginians they wish to trample. If they had mustaches they’d probably twirl them, and if there was a mud puddle in the film they’d probably fall into it.
- Delphi Film Foundation
- 99 min
- Richard Squires
- Richard Squires
- Roger Rees, Mary McDonnell, Paul Fitzgerald, Christina Rouner, Robert Wisdom, Mark Joy, Michael Goodwin, Tom Bloom, Myrrh Cauthen, Howard Coon
- Slant is reaching more readers than ever before, but advertising revenue across the Internet is falling fast, hitting independently owned and operated publications like ours the hardest. We’ve watched many of our fellow media sites fall by the way side in recent years, but we’re determined to stick around.
We’ve never asked our readers for financial support before, and we’re committed to keeping our content free and accessible—meaning no paywalls or subscription fees. If you like what we do, however, please consider becoming a Slant patron.
You can also make a one-time donation via PayPal: