Baja Oklahoma (TV Movie 1988) Poster

(1988 TV Movie)

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A Country Charmer Penned by Dan Jenkins...
Ben Burgraff (cariart)5 January 2003
Baja Oklahoma is a wonderful HBO Original Film that is remembered primarily as an early Julia Roberts vehicle, but deserves much more than that! Written by 'Semi-Tough' scribe Dan Jenkins, the film crackles with great one-liners, inspired casting, and a 'Cinderella' storyline that's hard to beat.

Lesley Ann Warren (who's never been feistier or more beautiful) is Juanita, a good-hearted Texas woman with a string of bad relationships, an 18-year old daughter (Roberts) running off to Aspen with a dope-pushing boyfriend, a dead-end job waitressing at a bar, and dreams of being a songwriter. Her best friend/fellow waitress, Doris (the fabulous Swoozie Kurtz) cheats on her husband regularly, rationalizing her infidelities ("I ain't havin' relationships, I'm gettin' laid!") and depending on her to back up her alibis; her bar patrons (including singer Billy Vera and the terrific William Forsythe) are an undependable but very likable collection of oddballs.

When Juanita's high school flame (Peter Coyote) returns to town for his father's funeral, her life begins to turn around. Both have been burned but still remain optimistic, and he believes in her talent. All she needs is some good advice (provided by Vera), a little management (offered by local deejay Anthony Zerbe, who's a hoot), some inspiration (from Coyote, of course!), and a little luck, and her dreams just might come true!

Filled with classic country tunes, appearances by Emmylou Harris, John Mayall, and Willie Nelson, and a terrific title tune by Jenkins and Nelson, this is a 'feel-good' movie that may just bring a tear to your eye by the finale. It's that good!

So if you watch this simply to see Julia Roberts, prepare to be enchanted by another 'Pretty Woman'!
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9/10
Great Movie
graz-69 February 2007
I've probably watched this movie twenty times, don't know why, but I really enjoyed this one. Leslie Anne Warren has always been one of my favorite Country Movie Actresses (Pure Country, The Songwriter etc.), and really liked her performance here. The song "Baja Oklahoma" written by Dan Jenkins is super but unfortunately have been unable to find it on a CD. Singing greats like Emmy Lou Harris, John Mayall and Willie Nelson's appearance at the end made it that much more enjoyable. John M. Jackson and Swoosie Kurtz's performances were also great. Peter Coyote also played a good role. Overall an underrated movie Wish they'd put this on DVD, I'd be the first customer.
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Definitely for Texans
CDRBev19 June 1999
This is a gem of a TV movie, especially for Texans. And as a TCU alum, I really enjoyed the brief allusions to the school and its not-so-hot football team. Dan Jenkins has a quirky writing style which he translated to the screen with aplomb. Swoosie Kurtz is a stitch and portrays the adventure-seeking housewife to the hilt. Although you won't see it in most of her biographies, this is one of Julia Roberts' early films, and she makes the perfect daughter for Leslie Ann Warren's character. Willie's brief and unexpected appearance will be enjoyed by his fans and is the perfect conclusion to this little treat.
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Leslie Ann Warren deserves to have had bigger roles
wgeiii@verizon.net28 August 2004
Leslie Ann Warren is one of the most genuine appearing actresses to have graced the screen, film or TV. Baja Oklahoma brought her to my attention and she is a beautiful woman and even though this title was released 16 years ago, I have never forgotten how lovely and vulnerable she appeared.

I can't think of another actress who could have brought that part off like she did.

I am familiar with the Texas honkey-tonk scene, having lived here most of my life and she played the part perfectly.

The fact that WIllie Nelson played a part may have gotten the attention of the reviewers so people would watch the show, but Ms. Warren is the one that will be remembered forever.

Thank you, my dear, for giving us an unforgettable performance.
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It doesn't get any better than this
jaykay-1020 October 2000
Swoosie Kurtz is always good, but in this picture she is absolutely great. What a shame that, cast in a supporting role in a TV movie that is seldom re-run, such a brilliant performance should not be better known. The picture itself is worthwhile, though not terribly original. But all hail Swoosie for the performance of a lifetime. See the movie, spread the word, and send her a nice fan letter. You won't have to be asked twice.
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7/10
Very worthwhile for Dan Jenkins fans, not to even mention fans of the several actors in the film.
UncleOmar23 February 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Always on the lookout for a new Dan Jenkins tale, when I learned of the film, I was pleased and surprised. (We never had HBO in those days ... we were too poor to even pay attention ...) I like the song better after it was rewritten (for a more polished scansion) for the movie, but several of the "Hollywood Changes" from the original book were disappointing, to me. This is why I only rate the film with seven of 10 points. Such is usually the case when a book becomes a film ... that doesn't mean I must like the changes ... even if I like the movie despite those changes. The deletion or alteration of characters does not necessarily take away from the story, but I was looking for some of those Texans, and they were not the same. I also was disappointed with what happened with Dove, and I wished that the script had kept the same lighthearted tone of Jenkins book throughout that portion of the film. Overall, the tale is still great, and the humorous style of Jenkins survives quite well, even after the Hollywood meddling. Any who appreciate the idiosyncrasies and foibles of a specific group of society (Texans, in this case), presented without intent to insult or slur or disparage, should have a fun time with this movie. If you loved the book, I think you'll like the movie ... a lot.
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10/10
A funny entertaining drama with a lot of TEXAS in it.
handyguy30 January 2002
I really enjoyed this movie when it was first shown and I'd like to see it again. Leslie Ann Warren is wonderful as Juanita. Of course the thrill is with Juanita getting to sing HER SONG with Willie Nelson! My only regret is that no one (to my knowledge) has recorded the title song.
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9/10
Texas in your soul
Mike Rappaport22 January 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Dan Jenkins is the only person who has ever been able to make me like Texas, but every time I read this book and see this film I wish I lived there.

I too think it's a shame that they had to make Dove Christian into a bad guy. Let's face it. In those days, even HBO had to bend to the prevailing winds. But there's still a wonderful overall tone to it.

The main reason I'm writing this review is that several people said they wished they could find a version of the song "Baja Oklahoma" on CD. Well, I just downloaded one from iTunes tonight, from the CD "Karla Bonoff Live." She sings a slowed-down version of it, but it's still magic.
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