We Need to Talk About the Toxic Relationship of Top Dollar and Myca from ‘The Crow’

Two years ago, I wrote an editorial on why I felt Lestat and Akasha’s relationship from Queen of the Damned was very problematic. When I published that editorial, I had no idea how popular it would become. As of late October 2021, my editorial has garnered 1,301 views and counting! So, that success is a reason for this new editorial. I’ve read many articles and seen many videos about The Crow. But no one has talked about how toxic Top Dollar and Myca’s relationship is. In fact, I’d go so far as to say their relationship is worse than Lestat and Akasha’s. Like my previous editorial, I will present five key reasons why Top Dollar and Myca’s relationship is unhealthy. But before I start my explanations, let me bring up some disclaimers:

  1. In this editorial, I will be addressing the subjects of inappropriate sibling relationships, violence, drug use, and crime. That is because the movie itself addresses these subjects. If you are sensitive to any of the aforementioned subjects, take this disclaimer as a fair warning.
  2. This editorial was not written to be mean-spirited or negative. Its intent is to showcase my honest opinion about this topic.
  3. This editorial was not written to disrespect any persons who worked on The Crow. This includes Michael Wincott and Bai Ling, who portrayed Top Dollar and Myca.
  4. Like most of my editorials, this article is going to be long in length. If you are interested in reading this post, please allow yourself enough time to consume the content.
  5. Unless I say otherwise, the screenshots in this editorial are screenshots I took with my cellphone.
Image of Top Dollar and Myca found on IMDB

An Inappropriate Sibling Relationship

A typical sibling relationship is meant to teach empathy, show how to get along with others, and help maintain a family unit. But with Top Dollar and Myca’s relationship, nothing about it is typical. In fact, it is downright inappropriate. In The Crow, it is revealed these characters are half-siblings. But instead of treating each other like siblings, they interact with each other like a romantic couple. In the very first scene Top Dollar and Myca appear in, it is heavily implied they engage in intercourse. Their physical interactions also appear more sensual in nature. The existence of Top Dollar and Myca’s relationship is illegal, especially in Michigan, the state The Crow takes place in. According to Michigan Legislature, they would be guilty of Criminal Sexual Conduct in the First Degree. This is because Top Dollar and Myca meet these two circumstances: “The actor is a member of the same household as the victim” and “The actor is related to the victim by blood or affinity to the fourth degree”. When the true nature of their relationship is revealed, Top Dollar says Myca is “my father’s daughter, that’s right”. This means both Top Dollar and Myca were fully aware of their involvement in an inappropriate sibling relationship.

Top Dollar and Myca kissing photo found from Top Dollar/Myca (The Crow 1994) – Love song

While Top Dollar and Myca are aware of their relationship’s nature, they go out of their way to keep their relationship private. Any time Top Dollar and Myca engage in displays of affection, it is done when few people or no one is around. In the first scene these characters appear in, there is another woman in the room. However, this woman is dead. In their next scene, Top Dollar and Myca partake in consuming drugs or creating mystical concoctions. When T-Bird and Grange arrive at Club Trash’s lair, Top Dollar and Myca are careful when displaying their affection for one another. Myca sits beside Top Dollar, with his arm draped across her lap. But when T-Bird and Grange leave, Top Dollar places his hand on Myca’s thigh, a gesture that is typically known for being sensual. It should also be noted how this gesture was performed under the table. Out of all the characters in The Crow, only two of them know about Top Dollar and Myca’s relationship. These characters are Grange and Gideon.  It’s safe to assume Grange was already aware of Top Dollar and Myca’s relationship prior to the film’s events. But Gideon finds out about this relationship when he visits Top Dollar at Club Trash’s lair.

Because it can be difficult to see, I put a yellow line next to Top Dollar’s arm. This shows how his arm is draped across Myca’s lap when T-Bird and Grange are around.
This time, I put a circle around Top Dollar’s hand, showing how it is now on Myca’s thigh. You can also see how Myca is holding back Top Dollar’s hair, a gesture I will talk about later in this editorial.
In this picture, it is clear to see how Top Dollar and Myca appear “professional” to keep up appearances.

One of my criticisms of The Crow is how some parts of the story don’t receive context. Top Dollar and Myca’s story is one of them. But based on what was said and not said by these characters, it is assumed their relationship is the result of an absent/dysfunctional family unit. In Top Dollar and Myca’s first scene, Top Dollar reveals the origin of a snow globe. This snow globe, displaying a miniature grave yard, was a birthday gift from their father when Top Dollar turned five. He tells Myca “Dad gave me this. Fifth birthday. He said ‘Childhood is over the moment you know you’re gonna die’.” Top Dollar brings up their father on two other occasions: when he tells Gideon Myca is his father’s daughter and when he tells Eric “Ya know, my daddy always used to say ‘Every man has a devil, and you can’t rest till you find him’.” Meanwile, Myca never brings their father up. In fact, when Top Dollar is talking about the snow globe, she doesn’t express any emotion toward her parent. According to David J. Schow, one of The Crow’s screenwriters, Top Dollar and Myca’s “father was in Vietnam”. In the book, The Crow: The story behind the film, “Top Dollar’s motivation would be to punish the world for Myca’s tragic life”. Taking all of this into account, it seems like Top Dollar and Myca’s father had no qualms about exposing his children to dark and harmful things, especially at a young age.

For this picture, an arrow points out the tear near Top Dollar’s eye, emphasizing how emotional the snow globe is making him.
Meanwhile, as Top Dollar is sharing the snow globe’s origin, Myca expresses no emotion.

They Enable Each Other

If you knew someone who was causing harm to themselves or other people, would you intervene and help them turn toward better choices? Most people would say “yes” if asked this question. But, in The Crow, Top Dollar and Myca do the complete opposite. During their introduction in the movie, Myca asks if the woman in the room is dead. Top Dollar responds by saying, “I think we broke her”, heavily implying they had something to do with the woman’s death. Myca then proceeds to remove the woman’s eyes, with Top Dollar silently watching her perform this act. Top Dollar was fully aware of how much damage he and Myca made in one evening. Despite this, he never tried to stop Myca from obtaining the eyes or question her reason for committing the act. In fact, Top Dollar never intervened during the process. While Myca’s desire to snatch someone’s eyes is explained, Top Dollar continues to enable Myca.

As you can see in this picture, Top Dollar expresses no concern for Myca’s harmful behavior.

In the next scene Top Dollar and Myca appear in, they engage in activities only they would leisurely choose to do. While Myca uses the aforementioned eyes to create a concoction involving smoke, Top Dollar is consuming drugs. During Myca’s “activity of leisure”, Top Dollar silently watches the entire time. He only gets involved when Myca creates smoke, as he ends up breathing it in. While this scene is taking place, Top Dollar’s plate of drugs are located right next to Myca’s goblet. Myca is fully aware of their presence, yet chooses to do nothing about it. What she does do is ignore Top Dollar’s drug use. When Grange and T-Bird arrive at Club Trash’s lair, Myca can be seen turning her body away from Top Dollar, facing her guests. Before Top Dollar consumes the drugs for the second time in this scene, Myca gets up from the table she is laying on and walks away from the situation. Even though she does return to sit beside Top Dollar, she ends up holding his hair back as he consumes the drugs for the third and final time in this scene.

An arrow pointing to Myca’s goblet and a circle around Top Dollar’s plate of drugs highlight how close they are to each other.
Before T-Bird and Grange show up, Myca is facing Top Dollar.
After T-Bird and Grange arrive, Myca turns away from Top Dollar and faces her guests.
The arrow is pointing to Myca’s shoulder, as she is rolling off the table and moving away from Top Dollar.

The previous scene I talked about isn’t the only time Myca turns a blind eye to Top Dollar’s harmful choices. When Gideon pays a visit to Club Trash’s lair, the intent of his visit is to call Top Dollar out for his lack of involvement. This is in relation to Gideon’s Pawn Shop being burned down in an earlier scene. It is in this current scene where Top Dollar reveals he and Myca are half-siblings. After this secret is revealed, Myca places her foot on Gideon’s chest as Top Dollar points his sword at Gideon, both actions attempting to intimidate their guest. Shortly after Gideon tells Top Dollar and Myca “I ain’t twisted like you two fucks”, Top Dollar proceeds to stab Gideon with his sword. Before Top Dollar receives a gun from Grange, Myca can be seen turning her head away from the situation. She turns her head back after Top Dollar kills Gideon.

This picture illustrates how Myca is enabling Top Dollar’s behavior by helping him intimidate Gideon.
This is the same picture/scene as above, but from a different angle.
This is a photo of Myca as she is turning her head away from Top Dollar’s crime, before he shoots Gideon.
This photo shows Top Dollar and Myca after he shoots Gideon, with Myca turning her head back.

When I first watched The Crow, I was really confused by Top Dollar and Myca’s decision to enable each other. Judging by their body language, their love for one another seems obvious. So, seeing them enable the other to hurt themselves or other people told a conflicting story. After talking with some fans of this film, I came up with three likely reasons why Top Dollar and Myca choose to enable one another. The first reason relates to the possible upbringing I talked about in my first point. Because Top Dollar and Myca were likely exposed to dark and harmful things for so long and often, these things have become their “normal”. The second reason is the precedent Top Dollar places on his environment. Since he is the leader of his villainous group, he is the one who sets that precedent, which is a “I don’t care because it’s none of my business” attitude/mindset. With that said, why should Myca be expected to care about Top Dollar’s drug use or violence when he doesn’t seem to care how or where she acquires eyeballs? The third and final reason is how the final product benefits them. As I already mentioned, Top Dollar only gets involved in Myca’s “activity of leisure” after she makes the smoke. This allows him to enjoy the fruits of her labor without worrying about how the smoke is created. In a meeting at Club Trash’s lair, Myca says “I like the pretty lights”, referencing the fires taking place throughout Detroit. This statement alone shows that Myca doesn’t seem to care how those fires came to fruition, but instead how these “pretty lights” make her feel.

This picture from The Crow: The Movie clearly shows Top Dollar and Myca looking disinterested in each other’s concerns and needs.

No Meaningful Conversations

As I said in my editorial, ‘Toxic Valentine: Why Lestat and Akasha’s relationship is very problematic in Queen of the Damned (2002)’, words are needed to build/strengthen a bond. In The Crow, the audience can hear Top Dollar and Myca talking to each other instead of at each other. But when one truly listens to what these characters are saying, it is evident how Top Dollar and Myca are not having meaningful conversations with one another. There are two scenes showing them carrying on a conversation. In the first scene, Myca sees Top Dollar becoming emotional over a snow globe. She acknowledges this by telling him “You are thinking about the past”. However, after Top Dollar tells her the story behind the snow globe, she changes the subject to the dead woman in the room. While Myca does give Top Dollar physical affection by hugging him and kissing him on the head, she doesn’t use words to get to the root of the unidentified problem. No questions about why this snow globe causes Top Dollar to get so emotional are asked. Similar personal moments or comforting sentiments are not shared either. Because of Myca’s decision to not verbally help Top Dollar through his emotions, those feelings and personal turmoil are bottled up and unaddressed instead of being resolved.

A picture of Top Dollar and Myca hugging before she learns the origins of the snow globe.
Instead of verbally comforting Top Dollar, Myca kisses his head.

In the second scene, Top Dollar wishes he were hungrier. He reveals this to Myca after she tells him “You are very restless”. But instead of trying to help Top Dollar find a solution to his problem, Myca says “Be careful what you ask for”. Hunger is a basic need, with eating being an important part of human life. The fact Myca is ignoring this basic need, especially after Top Dollar addressed it to her is concerning. In this same scene, Myca tells Top Dollar “There are energies aligning against you”. His response to her concern is “Seeing is believing, isn’t it?”. Like Myca’s response to Top Dollar’s hunger, Top Dollar’s reaction is also concerning. He doesn’t question what these “energies” are or try to verbally put Myca’s worries at ease. These examples in this point highlight what I talked about earlier: the precedent in Top Dollar and Myca’s environment carrying a “I don’t care because it’s none of my business” attitude/mindset.

In this picture, Top Dollar clearly look like he doesn’t care about Myca’s concerns.

They Treat Others Horribly

Similar to Akasha from Queen of the Damned, Top Dollar and Myca treat other people horribly. This horrible treatment is experienced by most of the members of their community as well. Like I mentioned earlier, Top Dollar intimidates and kills Gideon, with Myca helping Top Dollar intimidate their guest. I also mentioned the dead woman whose eyes were removed by Myca. However, these are just two examples of their hurtful ways toward others. Whenever something bad happens to someone with a lower social ranking, Top Dollar does not show any amount of sympathy for them. Instead, he treats their misfortune as a joke. When T-Bird visits Club Trash’s lair, he informs Top Dollar of Tin Tin’s death. Top Dollar says he’ll provide a moment of silence for Tin Tin, but uses that time to consume more drugs. Later in the movie, at a meeting in Club Trash’s lair, Top Dollar tells the attendees how T-Bird will not come to their gathering. He says T-Bird has “a kind of a slight case of death” as if passing away is simply an inconvenience. This causes some of the meeting attendees to chuckle, like Top Dollar told a funny joke.

This photo highlights how annoyed Top Dollar looks by T-Bird’s death.

It should also be noted how complete strangers are not safe from Top Dollar and Myca’s harmful choices. As the story progresses, Eric Draven learns his and Shelly’s murders were caused by Top Dollar, as he ordered some of his members to remove Eric and Shelly from their apartment. When Eric crashes the meeting at Club Trash’s lair, Top Dollar orders the meeting’s attendees to kill Eric. While these attendees shoot Eric, Myca stands beside Top Dollar and watches the violence upfold. After the meeting ends earlier than expected, Top Dollar and Myca kidnap Sarah. They do this in an attempt to lure Eric and The Crow toward them, planning to kill both of them in the process. Based on the examples I provided, it is obvious that Top Dollar is the one who causes most of this harm, with Myca as his bystander.

As Top Dollar orders the meeting’s attendees to shoot Eric, Myca simply watches the violence unfold.
This is the same picture/scene as above, but from a closer angle.

No Sense of Shame

The most blatant aspect of Top Dollar and Myca’s part of the story is how they have no sense of shame for what they say and do. This is because they are never given a reason to feel a sense of shame. In Top Dollar and Myca’s environment, there are no “voices of reason” to hold them accountable for their actions and choices. Even when someone, like Gideon, tries to become a “voice of reason”, they end up facing consequences instead of Top Dollar and Myca. Two reasons are likely why “voices of reason” don’t exist in Top Dollar and Myca’s world. Like I’ve been saying in this editorial, the precedent in this environment carries a “I don’t care because it’s none of my business” attitude/mindset. Since Top Dollar and Myca don’t express any concern for others, the people in their environment have no incentive to care what Top Dollar and Myca do. Fear can also be a contributing factor. Top Dollar and Myca have the two highest social ranks in their environment. So, this fact can be a motivator to keep others in line. Out of all the people who work for Top Dollar and Myca, Skank is the only one who openly expresses this fear. After being forced to attend the meeting at Club Trash’s lair, Skank cowers in his seat when Top Dollar calls him out. Skank’s demeanor clearly displays unease, like he is afraid of upsetting Top Dollar. In a community where people are too afraid to speak up, it is no wonder Top Dollar and Myca’s behavior is allowed to run rampant.

This picture illustrates how Skank is cowering in his seat.
This other picture shows the fear in Skank’s face, emphasizing how uncomfortable he is near Top Dollar.

The one person who should have been a “voice of reason” is Grange. As Top Dollar and Myca’s bodyguard and the closest person to them, his job is to look out for their best interests. What he does instead is enable Top Dollar and Myca, as well as encourage them, to carry on their harmful ways. When T-Bird goes to Club Trash, he tells Grange he’d like to meet with Top Dollar. Grange says that won’t be possible because Top Dollar is in a meeting. The next scene reveals Grange’s lie, as Top Dollar is in a bedroom with Myca and a dead woman. This scene shows how Grange is enabling Top Dollar and Myca’s inappropriate sibling relationship while also turning a blind eye to it. When Top Dollar stabs Gideon during his visit to Club Trash’s lair, Grange gives Top Dollar the gun that would ultimately kill Gideon. He also tells Top Dollar and Myca he’ll get someone to remove the dead body. Later in the movie, when Myca discovers a connection between Eric and The Crow, Grange says “So kill the crow, then destroy the man”. He tells Top Dollar and Myca this as a way to enable them to hurt Eric and The Crow. Grange’s reaction to Top Dollar and Myca’s other harmful decisions, like kidnapping Sarah and enabling one another, is either silently playing along or ignoring the problem altogether. With all things considered, Grange shows how he isn’t doing his job well.

When Grange visits Top Dollar and Myca in Club Trash’s lair, he never points out their “activities of leisure” or calls them out for hurting themselves or others.

After I published my editorial about Lestat and Akasha’s relationship, I naively thought I would never come across or even talk about a relationship worse than theirs. But when I watched The Crow for the first time, Top Dollar and Myca proved that idea wrong. I can say with all honesty their relationship is one of the worst I’ve ever seen in cinema. It is so toxic, red flags pop up every time they appear on screen. At first glance, it seems like Top Dollar and Myca love each other. But when one looks beyond the surface, it is plain to see how weak their relationship is. They don’t have a strong sense of care for one another. When something important is addressed, whether it’s a concern, need, or feelings, Top Dollar and Myca ignore them. They also allow each other to hurt themselves or other people with no attempts at intervention. With the way they care so little about the other, it makes me wonder why Top Dollar and Myca are even together at all? But because their backstory would probably be as dark and harmful as the choices they make, maybe it’s better to leave that question unanswered.

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

References:

The Crow 1994

The Crow: The story behind the film by Bridget Baiss

http://www.legislature.mi.gov/(S(nwj0dk1ejwrt2atsnhskh4od))/mileg.aspx?page=GetObject&objectname=mcl-750-520B

The Last of the Gold Sally Awards Polls Have Arrived!

Now is the time for the last polls of the Gold Sally Awards! This time around, you will be voting on which on-screen couple is the best one from a movie I saw last year. You will also be selecting a nominee for Sally’s Star of the Year. For the on-screen couple poll, you can vote for more than one nominee. But, you can only vote once per person. The link to the poll is at the bottom of the poll. Just click on the word, “PollMaker”. With the Sally’s Star of the Year Award, you can only choose one nominee per person. Your nomination can be submitted in the comment section of this post. You can learn more about the award at these links:

Announcing the Gold Sally Awards’ Hallmark Star of the Year!

The moment you’ve all been waiting for; The Gold Sally Award’s Star of the Year Award!

Both polls will be running from today, August 21st to August 28th. Due to technical difficulties, I’m unable to update the right side of the homepage. Because of that, my blog logo advertising the Gold Sally Awards Polls will still read “CLICK MY BLOG’S LOGO TO VOTE FOR THE GOLD SALLY AWARD’S BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS AND BEST ENSEMBLE OF 2021”.


Who Was the Best On-Screen Couple of 2020?

 

Gene Kelly and Kathryn Grayson — Anchors Aweigh
Diane Lane and Neal McDonough — Grace & Glorie
Frank Sinatra and Pamela Britton — Anchors Aweigh
Omri Katz and Kellie Martin — Matinee
Jeff Daniels and Marlee Matlin — Sweet Nothing in My Ear
Ally Walker and Tom Amandes — If You Believe
Anne Hathaway and Charlie Hunnam — Nicholas Nickleby (2002)
Jay Underwood and Lucy Deakins — The Boy Who Could Fly
Michael Wincott and Bai Ling — The Crow
Jill Wagner and Kristoffer Polaha — Mystery 101: An Education in Murder
Created with PollMaker

Have fun voting!

Sally Silverscreen

Take 3: Forsaken (2015) Review (A Month Without the Code #3)

When I reviewed The Crow back in May, I said in the comment section that I wanted to see Michael Wincott cast in a western, as I thought it would be a perfect casting choice. As the months have gone by, I discovered that Michael had starred in the 2015 western film, Forsaken! The Legends of Western Cinema Week is what reminded me of this wish. As a blogger of my word, I chose to review Forsaken as one of my two entries for this event! The western genre is one that isn’t often covered on my blog. While I do re-cap When Calls the Heart, this is an exception to the rule. The last western I reviewed was Little House: Bless All the Dear Children back in July, with the review before that being last year’s When Calls the Heart: Home for Christmas. I figured the Legends of Western Cinema Week served as a good excuse to revisit the western genre for the first time in about a month!

Forsaken (2015) poster created by Momentum Pictures, Mind’s Eye Entertainment, Panacea Entertainment, Rollercoaster Films, and Moving Pictures Media. Image found at en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Forsaken_Poster.jpg

Things I liked about the film:

The acting: When I reviewed Caesar and Cleopatra last September, I said in the comment section how Vivien Leigh’s portrayal of Cleopatra felt like Scarlett O’Hara was playing dress-up. This is because I thought the film’s creative team was attempting to take advantage of the popularity and success of Gone with the Wind. As Michael Wincott’s character, Gentleman Dave Turner, was first introduced with the film’s villains, I wondered if this portrayal was going to be a western genre version of Top Dollar from The Crow. Instead, Michael’s performance and the screenwriting presented a character that was his own person with his own story! A consistent aspect of Michael’s portrayal of Dave was the calmness he displayed. Even in the direst of situations, he always appeared to have control of his emotions. When I think of Kiefer Sutherland, I think of his portrayal of Jack Bauer from 24. Spending so much time on a show with a mix of drama and action seems to have paid off for Kiefer, as he was able to display a wide range of emotions! In one scene, Keifer’s character, John Henry, is recalling a fateful decision from his past. As he reflects over the lives of the people he hurt, his demeanor slowly transitions from remorse to sorrowfully sobbing. I’ve seen very few projects from Donald Sutherland’s filmography. However, I did think his portrayal of Reverend Samuel was strong! In a scene where his character is having an argument with John Henry about faith, Donald’s character quickly goes from calm and collected to yelling with anger. His emotionality definitely added to his overall performance!

The scenery: According to IMDB, Forsaken was filmed in Alberta, Canada. This particular landscape was captured very well throughout the film! Distant mountains paired with a blue sky were shown in establishing shots. These natural elements provided a great contrast to the lush, green fields also found in the movie. Forests were a part of the story as well, with sunlight giving this space a natural glow. The overall setting of Forsaken was picturesque and calming, which is different from the rough terrain that is a staple of westerns. This kind of scenery reminded me of shows like Little House of the Prairie and When Calls the Heart!

The on-screen chemistry:  In Forsaken, John Henry reconnects with his former love interest, Mary Alice, who was portrayed by Demi Moore. Keifer and Demi had good on-screen chemistry, as their characters appeared to truly care about each other! Through these performances, John Henry and Mary Alice’s interactions came across as bittersweet. This drove the point home that the romantic nature of their relationship was left in the past. There was also good on-screen chemistry among the other actors! During the film, the tension between John Henry and Reverend Samuel could be felt. It helps that Keifer and Donald had the emotional intensity to deliver performances that a story like this requires.

Legends of Western Cinema Week banner created by Hamlette from Hamlette’s Soliloquy and Heidi from Along the Brandywine. Image found at https://hamlette.blogspot.com/2020/07/announcing-legends-of-western-cinema.html.

What I didn’t like about the film:

The under-utilization of Michael Wincott: As I said in my introduction, the reason I chose to watch Forsaken is because I wanted to see Michael Wincott in a western. While I got what I wanted, I felt his talents were under-utilized. In this hour and thirty-minute film, Michael appeared in about five scenes. His character’s significance in the story was also not made clear. Gentleman Dave Turner can be seen spending his time with the movie’s villains. However, he claims to be John Henry’s friend and doesn’t condone the actions of his villainous cohorts. I found this part of the film frustrating because Michael and his character had a purpose for being in this movie, but I couldn’t figure out what that purpose was.

More emphasis on drama: When it comes to the western genre, a certain amount of action is to be expected. Not all westerns utilize action to its fullest extent, but enough action is incorporated into most westerns to keep the story interesting. In Forsaken, the majority of the plot focused on the drama between John Henry and Reverend Samuel’s strained relationship. This part of the story wasn’t bad, but it did overshadow the action. Throughout the film, there were moments where action could be seen. Most of the action took place in the climax, which happened during the last twenty minutes of the movie. This creative decision caused the action to be used sparingly.

An overshadowed conflict: The overarching conflict in Forsaken is how a group of villains are trying to take over a small town. To me, this was the most compelling part of the plot. Because the story placed more emphasis on the estranged relationship of John Henry and his father, the conflict wasn’t given as much attention as I expected. This conflict was addressed in the film from time to time. However, it didn’t feel like its placement was consistent. While the conflict does get revolved, it doesn’t happen until the film’s last twenty minutes.

A Month Without the Code Blogathon banner created by Tiffany and Rebekah Brannan from Pure Entertainment Preservation Society. Image found at https://pureentertainmentpreservationsociety.wordpress.com/2020/07/27/announcing-amonthwithoutthecode2020/.

My overall impression:

On 18 Cinema Lane, it seems like 2020 is the year when wishes come true. First, it was Words on Bathroom Walls receiving a distributor and a release date. Next, it was seeing and reviewing the film, The Wife of Monte Cristo. Now, it’s watching Michael Wincott in a western! As I said in my review, I got what I wanted. However, I feel there was more to be desired from Forsaken as a whole. The conflict involving the villains’ attempts to take over the town was the most compelling part of the movie. Unfortunately, it was overshadowed by the drama between John Henry and his father. Even though westerns do contain a certain amount of drama, the appeal of this genre is the action/adventure aspect of the world and its characters. This gives the audience the feeling of going on a journey with spirited men and women of the Wild West. Despite this movie being rated R, Forsaken could certainly be transformed into a Breen Code era film! The only two offenses I was able to find were the swearing and the amount of on-screen blood. While violence is expected for a western story, this aspect, along with the language, would need to meet Breen Code standards before production began.

Overall score: 6.1 out of 10

Have you see Forsaken? Are there any western films you’d like to see me review? Share your thoughts in the comment section!

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

Take 3: The Crow Review

Because this review is for the “Love Goes On” Blogathon, I decided to write an open letter to The Crow. I know this isn’t my usual style of writing reviews and I know I don’t usually post articles on a Saturday, but I thought of trying something new for this post. So, without further ado, let me start this letter to The Crow.

The Crow poster
The Crow poster created by Dimension Films and Miramax Films. Image found at en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Crow_ver2.jpg

An Open Letter to The Crow,

If you would have asked me years ago what The Crow was, I would have answered you back with this question; “You mean that animated show with the cavepeople”? Back then, all I knew was a cave boy named Cro ruling my television screen, wooly mammoths being saved from eternal freezing, and every episode receiving a ‘happily ever after’. While I knew you, this other Crow, existed, I didn’t know a lot about you. From a distance, you looked like you based your existence on seeking attention, shocking people, and causing controversary. I know it’s not right to judge a book by its cover, but I let myself judge a movie by its outward appearance. This is not something I’m proud of. However, I won’t be the first or last person to do this for a film. As time went on, I learned more about your truths and secrets that were hidden from me before. From Brandon’s untimely passing to the source material itself, this is information that came to me long after you had made your temporary, but successful, stay at the box office. During this 20+ year time period, I had heard people singing your praises. They said things like how you were their favorite movie to how you’ve earned your status as a “cult classic”. It wasn’t until I read the reviews about you from Pale Writer (from the blog, Pale Writer) and Terence (from the blog, A Shroud of Thoughts) that I finally decided to give you a chance. Originally, I had planned on watching you around Halloween. Because your story takes place around this holiday, I thought it would be an appropriate choice. Since you perfectly fit the criteria for the “Love Goes On” Blogathon, I chose to watch you sooner than I expected.

The Love Goes On Blogathon banner
The Love Goes On Blogathon banner created by Steve from Movie Movie Blog Blog II. Image found at https://moviemovieblogblogii.wordpress.com/2020/03/19/announcing-the-love-goes-on-blogathon/.

To show you how much I like you, I’ll talk about the things I liked about you as a film. I have to say the acting was one of the strongest parts of this project! A lot of people have said good things about Brandon’s performance. After seeing The Crow, I can wholeheartedly agree with them! Besides being able to pull off the action sequences, Brandon brought the emotional intensity required for a role like this. His performance was consistent and never faltered. To me, some of the film’s best moments were shared between Eric and Sarah. These moments almost made me cry as they felt so real, containing emotional depth and expressing the relatable ideas of grief and losing a loved one. Speaking of Sarah, I thought Rochelle Davis did a good job providing a balance between adorable innocence and cynical realism. In movies that deal with serious, real world issues, such as death, crime, and loss, it can be easy for a younger actor or actress to be told or directed to act so adorably innocent, that the performance comes off as too sicky sweet. These kinds of performances may be found in programs such as “after school specials” or a Hallmark commercial. The great thing about Rochelle’s portrayal of Sarah is how it felt authentic and genuine, like a young person in that particular environment would react. I was also impressed with Michael Wincott’s portrayal of Top Dollar! Michael not only brought a cool and nonchalant persona to his character, but he also showed how manipulative Top Dollar can be. One moment, he’s tearing up over a snow-globe his father gave him. Several moments later, he’s ignoring the warnings of his henchmen by belittling or killing them. Through Michael’s performance and the screen-writing, Top Dollar was presented as a chameleon with a sinister under-tone.

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Image of crow at sunset created by Rayudu NVS at freeimages.com. Photo by <a href=”/photographer/rayudu238-57835″>rayudu NVS</a> from <a href=”https://freeimages.com/”>FreeImages</a&gt;. Image found at freeimages.com.

Before watching you, I had done research as to what you were about and other aspects of your existence. But, when I watched you, I was surprised by the story’s presentation. It was presented as a mystery, with the pieces falling in place as the film went on. The details of the crime were incorporated in very subtle ways. One example is the portrait of Eric’s band hanging on a wall in Top Dollar’s club. This showed and told a connection between the victim and the perpetrator. As someone who enjoys mystery movies, this creative decision made me feel like my intelligence was respected. A concern I had before watching you was the setting being so dark, I wouldn’t be able to see what was happening on screen. I knew the darker setting was meant to match your tone. But my concerns come after watching The Dark Knight, where most of the action sequences took place at night and used very little lighting. I want to thank you for including an appropriate amount of light in your scenes! There was enough to see what was on screen, but also complement the overall tone and atmosphere. One really good example is after Eric had infiltrated Top Dollar’s lair. While looking for the last surviving gang member, the room is mostly dark except for a flashing light. The light itself helped me see the events unfolding, while the systematic pattern of the light’s inclusion added tension to that scene.

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Here is a screenshot of the Cro title card, the show I referenced in this review’s introduction. Screenshot taken by me, Sally Silverscreen.
Just because I like you, doesn’t mean I think you’re perfect. Throughout the story, questions emerged that I wish were answered or elaborated upon. How did Eric and Shelly come to know Sarah? Why was Top Dollar continually mentioning his father? How did Eric’s band-mates deal with the loss of Eric and Shelly? I understand there’s only so much story you can tell in 102 minutes. However, I felt myself wanting to know more when it came to these questions. When I was researching you, I learned the story took place in Detroit. Seeing Michigan/Detroit related “Easter Eggs” was something I was looking forward to. But, in this story, there were barely any references to this specific location. Sure, one of Funboy’s gang members mentioned “the Motor City”. However, this story could have taken place in any state’s major city and it honestly wouldn’t make a difference. I’ve also heard good things about Eric and Shelly’s relationship, from being labeled as “adorable” to being named the perfect definition of “relationship goals”. I think Eric and Shelly’s relationship is nice, but I didn’t really develop an emotional attachment with it. The majority of this relationship was shown through a series of short flashbacks. Because of this, I wasn’t able to witness Brandon and Sofia’s (the actress who portrayed Shelly) on-screen chemistry. The culmination of these two factors prevented me from becoming emotionally invested in their relationship.

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So, now you’ve reached the end of this letter. I think you already know that I like you. When I look beyond your surface, the one that appears violent and darker in atmosphere, I realize you have something important to say. You used the themes of grief and loss during quieter, less action-packed moments. This gave me a break from the intensity of the action sequences. Even though I like you, I haven’t fallen head over heels for you or chosen you as one of my new favorite films. You have flaws that held you back from reaching more of your full potential. But, don’t beat yourself up over this, because every film can’t be a 10 out of 10. Now that I’ve given you a chance, I’ve developed a greater appreciation and understanding of you. I also get why so many people like you so much. You are one of those films that has the power to stick with people long after they’ve seen you. Maybe that’s what makes you so special.

 

Sincerely,

Sally Silverscreen

 

P.S. I’ll give you a score of 7.8 out of 10.

 

Here are the links to Pale Writer’s and Terence’s reviews if you want to check them out:

Rain and Revenge: The Crow (1994)

https://mercurie.blogspot.com/2019/10/the-crow-1994-putting-wrong-things-right.html