Saturday, January 22, 2011

Cinema Notes From All Over (Double-Wide Division)

CELLULOID-LAND, The Universe--We just watched a ten-year-old comedy called Sordid Lives and can't think of one reason you shouldn't too.
   Shot for next to nothing, based on a play of the same name, and billed as "A Black Comey About White Trash," it stars the extraordinary Bonnie Bedelia and, in an expanded cameo, Olivia Newton-John. 
   Packed with vivid performances, the film tells the story of the death of a matriarch of a poor but spunky Texas family. Her passing sparks all manner of family and small-town drama both madcap and solemn. 
   The film's main theme is the way it takes courage to to live one's own life, propriety be damned. The matriarch's grandson struggles to be honest about being gay; her son comes to grips with being a Tammy Wynette-obsessed cross-dresser. One of her daughters and a friend go on a Thelma-and-Louise-inspired tear, confronting the men who have in some way denied them agency. 
   Sordid Lives also limns the importance of family, no matter how non-functioning the brood might be; the claustrophobic nature of life among the lovably eccentric characters in a small town; and the odd ways that, in the end, love, truth, and a solid sense of spirituality trump life's complexities. 
   If this sounds a little earnest, that's our fault. Sordid Lives is a fun little comedy, camp beyond compare. Do yourself a favor and see it. And invite friends over. It's no fun to laugh alone. 
   (A side note: the movie contains gay themes and momentary full-frontal male nudity. If this is a problem for you, then why on earth are you reading First of All?)

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