Lee Umstetter is a lifer at San Quentin prison and a multiple suicide attempter. Eventually, another prisoner suggests reading to find something better to do with his time. Lee takes that advice and finds himself inspired from what he reads to write a play about life in prison. He has auditions and assembles a cast from his fellow inmates. The play proves popular and it catches the attention of a female reporter who writes about it, creating publicity that allows for a parole for him. Once out, he later reassembles his cast when they come out to do the play professionally. However, they learn that the demands of the life outside are difficult to cope with for the newly released and their play needs to be changed in major ways while they struggle to make it succeed. Written by
Kenneth Chisholm <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Lee Umstetter (Nick Nolte) is in San Quentin serving life without the possibility of parole. He has a failed suicide attempt. He starts reading books, anything that is thick. He begins to appreciate literature and writes his own play "Weeds". The prisoners put on his plays and there is a change among them. San Francisco reporter Lillian Bingington takes an interest in him and gets him released. On the outside, he reunites with some of the prisoner-players from Quentin to go on the road with his latest play but it doesn't all go smoothly.
This start off as a serious prison drama but somewhere along the line, it becomes a dramedy about a traveling Broadway troupe. It's uneven to say the least. It can feel like a meandering journey but it never stops being interesting. The play is the least compelling part of the movie until they showed it in a prison. The movie threatens to get lost at various times but Nolte is able to lead the troupe home.
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