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Scarecrow on Seattle: MAD LOVE

For the past few years, Scarecrow Video has been contributing reviews of movies made in the Pacific Northwest to the Seattle Office of Film + Music's e-newsletter. We're now proud to be able to share these reviews on our site as well.





Mad Love (1995)

Drew Barrymore stars as Casey Roberts, a mentally-troubled teen romanced by Chris O'Donnell, in this peak grunge variation on Romeo and Juliet. O'Donnell plays a mostly personality-free voyeur named Matt Leland. One night while practicing his hobby he spies Casey enjoying a little late-night Lake Washington jet-ski fun to the romantic strains of Nirvana's "Love Buzz." This scene takes place during the opening credits and establishes the film's tendency to convey character development and emotion through music video-style montages and mid-nineties indie rock.

Despite living on opposite sides of the lake (and seeming a bit too old to still be in high school), Casey and Matt attend the same learning institution (portrayed by Bellevue's Sammamish High School). Matt is part of the school rowing crew and they paddle around Union Bay at the University of Washington Waterfront Activities Center (where you too can rent a canoe for the day) near Husky Stadium. On his way to the parking lot Matt runs into his pal Eric (Matthew Fat Kid Rules The World Lillard) and they ogle Casey as she futzes with her vintage VW Beetle. Eric concludes that she must have just moved to town because "Babes like that don't grow in Seattle." Matt is obviously smitten and Casey flashes him a big smile, but he plays it cool and decides the best way to win her heart is through spying and prying. Eventually he gets enough nerve up to peek in Casey's notebook while she's distracted. He spots a flyer for an upcoming 7 Year Bitch concert at Moe's and, like any good stalker, he decides it's a date without actually telling his object of desire. Matt arrives and sneaks up to Casey while she's waiting outside the club. Even though Moe's was a real place (now known as Neumos), the filmmakers used Post Alley and the exterior of the Alibi Room. Why did they do this? Simple. By shooting it there the two "teenagers" are able to take a stroll upstairs and wander through The Pike Place Market. I guess there's supposed to be some irresistible attraction transpiring amidst the produce stands but, man, that Chris O'Donnell is one cold fish...just like the fish they famously throw in the Market (ha ha). They head into the show and are magically transported inside the real Moe's where the 7 Year Bitch performance footage was actually shot. The band plays their song "The Scratch" in its entirety while the young lovebirds tenderly mosh together.

Their relationship continues to develop with romantic drives under the monorail and a scenic trip to Franklin Falls, but after a dramatic swim across Lake Washington and a suicide attempt it is clear that Casey is nuts. She ends up in a mental hospital but a determined Matt breaks her out and the pair hits the highway for a picturesque road trip. There are lots of neat helicopter shots of Eastern Washington and the Columbia Plateau in particular as the young lovers put some distance between themselves and Seattle. The fugitives eventually end up in New Mexico, but Matt soon realizes Casey is way more messed up than he thought and they have little choice except to return to the Pacific Northwest and face the music-as well as another indie rock montage.

--Spenser Hoyt

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