From the Archive — CrissCross

goldie crisscross

This is a mundane review of a properly forgotten Golden Hawn vehicle from the early nineteen-nineties. The only particularly notable aspect of it, for our purposes here, is this I believe it represents the last piece of writing from my collegiate film criticism career that hasn’t already been transcribed over to this space. I may yet unearth another vein of ancient pontificating on cinematic offerings, but this is it for now. And there are only a few more digital reviews awaiting clearance from the tower to land here, too, so Saturdays might need a new thing before long. But that’s getting ahead of myself. For now, there’s this old review, originally written for the Reel Thing Report segments my cohort and I created to be dropped into general WWSP-90FM programming during the summer of 1992.

The fall of 1991 was supposed to be marked by the resurgence of Goldie Hawn, and, perhaps more importantly, her shift from perennially typecast onscreen ditz to stern, serious, dramatic actress. her Hollywood rebirth stalled when the first film featuring the new Goldie, the tepid thriller Deceived, generated only modest ticket sales and garnered little praise. And then the second film was pushed completely out of the fall season. That film eventually reached theaters late this spring as MGM released it with little fanfare. The lack of promotion is definitely understandable considering that the film, entitled CrissCross, is a slow-moving, bloated melodrama with bad dialogue and marginal acting which undoubtedly would have had sluggish ticket sales regardless of the publicity.

The film is set in the late nineteen-sixties and centers on a twelve-year-old boy growing up in dingy Key West with his divorced mother, who is played by Hawn. David Arnott plays the young boy struggling with the frustration of living in a seedy hotel while he and his mother slave away at low-income and sometimes denigrating jobs just to make ends meet. He also goes through the standard movie-land coming of age experiences, such as sexual experimentation with girls and fighting with his mom. About the only unique thing he does is stick a tiny lizard up his nose.

There’s also a subplot involving arnott’s character getting involved with drugs, but the filmmakers never stop reminding the audience that, even though he’s doing something bad, he’s just an innocent kid, flipping baseball cards and blowing bubbles. The film forces you to be on his side. Hawn’s character is also nothing new, a young woman trying to raise her son against formidable odds. Hawn is better than her carbon copy roles from the last decade would lead anyone to believe, but if she really want to become a solidly respected actress again, she needs to start finding better material than CrissCross.

On the 4 star scale, CrissCross receives only 1 star.