Alan Shapiro’s 1993 film The Crush has a plot that would not pass muster in 2021, but its eyewear has aged like fine wine. The villain of the film is Adrian Forester, (played by Alicia Silverstone in her first film appearance) a 14-year-old girl whose unrequited crush on Nick Elliot (Cary Elwes) morphs into obsession then murderous jealousy.
We first meet Adrian when she nonchalantly roller-skates into Nick’s beat up convertible. She’s wearing jean shorts and multi-color acetate cat eye sunglasses. Nick is a young magazine editor who is new in town and ends up renting the Forester’s guest house. He’s 28, happy-go-lucky, handsome and wears a very classic tortoise shell rounded glasses. The first gift Adrian gives him is a pair of clip-on sun lenses for his frames. Adrian is smart, extremely talented and pretty, but what appears to be friendship turns icky as Adrian tries (thankfully, unsuccessfully) to seduce Nick. She becomes jealous as Nick pursues his coworker at the magazine.
While aesthetically the movie has a lot to offer – Nick’s girlfriend Amy’s outfits are particularly choice – the general topics and sentiments of the film feel even more precarious today. In the beginning there are several moments where it’s unclear if Nick’s better angels will prevail, which under the circumstances is utterly repellant, but his final rejection of Adrian is so campy it’s utterly hilarious. This is one of those films where looking back at the not-so-distant past is not through glasses that are not rose colored. Nonetheless, they are very nice glasses.