Key West Bicentennial Screenings: CrissCross

Front Row at the Movies by Shirrel Rhoades

5/5 (1)

The Eden House over on Fleming Street was the scene of a 1992 movie about drug smuggling in Key West. The title “CrissCross” is a play on words.

Here, Tracy Cross (played by Oscar-winner Goldie Hawn) is a single mom who gives up her waitress job for the more lucrative tips of a strip club. Her 12-year-old son Christopher (David Arnott) is not happy with this turn of events and takes a job with a seafood market so his mother won’t have to dance in a club. But it turns out drugs are being smuggled inside the fish.

Square grouper of a different sort.

Things get more complicated when a newcomer to Key West strikes up a relationship with Chris’s mom. There’s more to this stranger (Arliss Howard) than meets the eye.

British director Chris Mendes (“A World Apart”) based “CrissCross” on a novella by Scott Sommer. Often compared to J. D. Salinger and F. Scott Fitzgerald, the late author was known for his quirky, tragicomic characters.

“CrissCross” is playing at the Tropic Cinema on May 29 as part of its Key West Bicentennial showings.

In it, Key West is presented as sort of a “ruined paradise.” Nevertheless, you’ll recognize a number of locales, as well as a few in Miami. Hippies wandering the streets and rock and roll songs help establish the late ‘60s time period.

Goldie Hawn (the one-time sock-it-to-me girl on TV’s “Laugh-In”) gives a careful dramatic performance in the film. The New Yorker opined that “Hawn hasn’t been this potent and honest since 1974’s ‘The Sugarland Express’.” This affecting drama came the same year she was nominated for an American Comedy Award as Funniest Actress in a Motion Picture for “Death Becomes Her.” She’s also known for such hits as “Private Benjamin,” “Shampoo,” “First Wives Club,” and “Cactus Flower.”

This was David Arnott’s film debut, at its heart a coming-of-age film. His performance (and voice-over narration) was praised by critics as having “just the right balance of streetwise authenticity, vulnerability and innocence.” But this turned out to be his only movie.

Arliss Howard is known for his supporting roles in “The Lost World: Jurassic Park,” “The Time Traveler’s Wife,” “Moneyball,” and “Mank.” He’s also been seen in TV’s “True Blood,” “Manhunt,” and “Mr. Corman.”

Other familiar faces in “CrissCross” include Keith Carradine, Steve Buscemi, and James Gammon. And who knows? – you might even spot a few locals you recognize playing extras.

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