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Nobody is Crazy

Vendetta Furiosa, 2022


Federico J. Arioni

Reading Time:

6 minutes

Nobody is CrazyToday is Your Day (EGAIQRQSFMG7GYPP)
00:00 / 07:54

📷 : Used with permission, Federico J. Arioni

Nobody is Crazy


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Movies and TV shows with a lot of dialog

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Youthful, lighthearted, and fun movies and TV shows

Reba Chaisson


Nobody is Crazy is about Rafael, a teenager who feels like an outsider because of his difficulties with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Exacerbating his struggles is his mother’s plan to send him to military school if he does not take steps to improve his social life. While ditching his self-help group, he stumbles upon a jovial, mid 20-something masked man who describes himself as a time-traveler named, “Nobody.” Viewing him as “crazy,” Rafael, played by Manuel Gutierrez (Por un puñado de pesos), is skeptical, but the two nonetheless quickly become friends. They are later joined by Daria (Lara Ammi Wheeler), an early 20-something who is smitten by Nobody and intrigued by his mask, philosophical nature, and outgoing personality. The three spend time together roller skating, playing pool, and lightly challenging one another at arcade games.

Set in Argentina, Nobody is Crazy is available with English subtitles and shot mostly outdoors during the daytime in the warm, sunny, and dry weather of Neuquén. The set design is flat and non‑descript, which is perhaps strategic on the part of filmmaker Federico J. Arioni in his effort to convey the emptiness that is Rafael’s social life. The buildings in the scenes have no names or distinct markers. The lone boat on the water makes the lake itself appear forgotten by its population. Even the arcade, which in the U.S. is typically full of young people running about, consists of only a handful of folks, including the staff.

Ironically, Nobody is Crazy heavily centers on the character whose name suggests unimportance, but Nobody, played by Federico J. Arioni, has a lot of important things to share. So much so that in some ways, it feels as if we are listening to a high-energy philosopher proudly regurgitating his vast knowledge to a captive audience. In this case, it is largely Rafael, an audience of one who is a lonely and naïve kid just pleased that someone notices him – even if he doesn’t know who this person is or why he has taken an interest in him.

Because Nobody’s dialog is extensive, a richer set design could have given depth to the film and enhanced the viewing and listening experience. Budget limitations notwithstanding, I imagine some low-cost options exist in proximity to Neuquén province to give a glimpse of Argentina’s uniqueness. Villa Traful, for instance, has a beautiful landscape that includes a view of a mountain range, so just imagine this as a backdrop for some of the more poignant dialog in the film. Junín de los Andes has trails for hiking and horseback riding, so consider two members of the trio as skilled riders and the other as hesitant. Dinosaurs roamed in Cañadón Escondido, so scenes of the three gazing in wonder at fossils and planting their feet inside dinosaur footprints would be both awe-inspiring and fun to see. 

Scenes such as these hold the potential to add depth to the on-screen visuals and the dimensionality of the characters. The actions themselves constitute bonding moments, much more so than playing arcade games, throwing rocks in a lake, and talking in front of a building with no people present. These give us very little sensory information to gradually construct the emotional context needed to connect with the characters and their predicaments throughout the film.

Nobody is Crazy comes close to presenting an enriching experience when the three friends visit an art gallery and several shots of them are shown in different formations, much like those in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (Ferris Bueller). In this regard, Nobody is Crazy strives to mimic the wildly successful film that has maintained its popularity since its release in 1986. In Ferris Bueller, two guys and a girl ditch school to hang out together and do random things, including sharing funny moments at an art gallery. However, the lead in Ferris Bueller takes several actions that are daring, entertaining, and allow space for other characters to get involved. The trio go to a baseball game, where Cameron (Alan Ruck), Bueller’s depressed friend, releases his inhibitions with “Hey Batter Batter. S-wing Batter Batter.” They eat at a posh restaurant and are forced to dodge Bueller’s father, who happens to arrive there for lunch. Finally, Bueller jumps atop a float going through downtown Chicago, grabs the microphone and sings “Twist and Shout,” interspersed with funny shots of folks dancing on the streets and in their offices.

Undoubtedly, the budget for Ferris Bueller was much bigger than that for Nobody is Crazy. Let’s face it; Ferris Bueller’s Day Off was a John Hughes movie! Still, the beautiful, natural areas surrounding Neuquén had the potential to add depth to Nobody is Crazy, which could have gone a long way in enhancing the viewing experience and connecting us to the story and characters.

Rafael is presented in the film as having OCD, but other than the two watches he wears, we quickly forget that he has this disorder. While it has a wide range of manifestations, OCD is typically revealed through obvious patterns of repetitive behaviors, such as an obsession about cleanliness which leads to a compulsion to frequently wash your hands. This happens once in the film and only because Nobody tells Rafael that he hasn’t exercised his compulsion in a while. The Mayo Clinic, though, describes OCD as a disorder that takes up a great deal of time, reduces the person’s quality of life, and gets in the way of their daily routines and responsibilities. Thus, the idea that Rafael is cured of his OCD after spending a few hours with Nobody and Daria or that he has to be reminded of his compulsion is a distortion. The disorder isn’t realistically depicted in the film, which suggests that it is presented in the story as a convenient way to understand Rafael’s predicament. It’s unfortunate, though, that the disorder is not addressed with more authenticity here, as people dealing with OCD are rarely depicted on‑screen in humanizing ways. Not addressing it as such in the movie was a missed opportunity.

Despite Nobody is Crazy’s shortcomings, the movie carries some very strong themes, and we don’t have to work hard to figure them out since they are evident in the dialog. Nobody notes that “some crazinesses are more accepted than others,” later adding that people who talk to themselves, lie, or have a gambling addiction are considered “normal.” “We’re all crazy,” he says; “what matters is what kind of crazy you are.” 

Sociology deals quite a bit with cultural norms and the degree to which we label people as deviant because they do not conform to them. Specialists in the field begin their critique of deviance with the question of who gets to establish the norms. Who is the authority that gets to decide what is normal and what is not, particularly in societies that are diverse on so many human dimensions and cultural traditions? Throughout this film, Nobody is conducting this same critique — taking the label of “crazy” to task because Rafael is alienated by others’ assumptions of him as an outcast because of his disorder. Rather than dealing with it though, Nobody encourages Rafael to escape it, screw it. Hmmm. I’m not sure that’s the answer either. Then again, I’m probably crazy myself. But I’m good with that — for now.

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