“Stuck” – Susan Granger reviews

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Inspired by a bizarre, true story, this twisted thriller chronicles how an unfortunate pedestrian, a homeless man, is accidentally hit by a car driven by a telephone-chatting, hard-partying chick and his body becomes impaled in her windshield.

Rather than calling 911 or rushing him to a nearby hospital, panicked, pill-popping Brandi (Mena Suvari) drives home, hiding the car in her garage, callously dismissing pathetic pleas for help from Tom (Stephen Rea), who lost his job and has just been evicted from his apartment. Suffering extensive injuries, Tom’s obviously a goner, and Brandi’s got her own problems. A conscientious worker, she’s up for promotion at Silver Cedars Elderly Assisted Living, and a hit-and-run accident could hurt her chances. Besides, as her drug-dealing boy-friend, Rashid (Russell Hornsby), says, “Anyone can do anything and get away with it. Look who’s in the White House.”

So psychopathically selfish Brandi leaves moaning Tom lodged in her windshield. But rather than die, his survival instinct allows him to gradually regain enough strength and stamina to struggle out of the shattered shards of glass and wreak revenge.

Since director/writer Stuart Gordon – with co-writer John Strysik – is best known for “Re-Animator” (1985) and “From Beyond” (1986), it’s not surprising that he dishes out fast-paced, viscerally heavy doses of gushing blood and grisly gore along with sly subtext of social commentary. All of the characters are ‘stuck’ in a de-humanizing ‘system.’

As for casting, in real-life, the woman was an African-American. Why Gordon chose Caucasian Mena Suvari – her hair in cornrows – eludes me, particularly since many of our finer actresses of color are looking for work. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Stuck” is a ludicrous, horrifying 3. To describe this as ‘bleak’ and ‘brutal’ is an understatement.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Phi Beta Kappa, with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.