Samantha Hughes, a teenaged Kentucky girl, never knew her father, who died in Vietnam before her birth. Samantha lives with her uncle Emmett, who also served in Vietnam. Emmett hangs around... See full summary »
Samantha Hughes, a teenaged Kentucky girl, never knew her father, who died in Vietnam before her birth. Samantha lives with her uncle Emmett, who also served in Vietnam. Emmett hangs around with Tom, Earl, and Pete, three other Vietnam vets who, like Emmett, all have problems of one kind or another that relate to their war experiences. Sam, as Samantha is known, becomes obsessed with finding out about her father and his experiences, but Emmett and the other vets don't want to talk about the war. Sam pushes everyone to attend a dance honoring the town's veterans, but Pete and Earl get into a fight, Emmett disappears, and Tom takes Sam home for an unsuccessful tryst. When Sam reads her father's diary, she begins to understand what his life and death meant, and she and Emmett, with a trip to the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial, come at least temporarily to terms with the war in their lives. Written by
Jim Beaver <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Ken Jenkins, who plays "Jim Holly" (the organizer of the veteran's dance), is the father of Daniel Jenkins who plays Sam's father in the Vietnam flashbacks. Their casting in the film was purely coincidental. See more »
Modern-day story has an inquisitive young teen unearthing the past and discovering the father she never knew by reading his diary; he died in combat before her birth, and the girl's interest spurs her war-scarred uncle to take her on an emotional visit to the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial. Opening in late September 1989, this film was touted in all the major newspapers as Bruce Willis' Oscar role (though he was overlooked by the Academy when the time came). Seen today, the picture doesn't seem to have any purpose except to showcase the actor's range (limited as it is) and also to squeeze dry the remaining emotions left behind by the Vietnam experience--Hollywood style. Emily Lloyd, as the kid in question, and Peggy Rea, as Mamaw, are tiresome copies of distinctly old-fashioned archetypes--the wise juvenile and the salty matriarch--used over and over in similar movie scenarios since WWII (and probably beyond). Norman Jewison directed, without an ounce of honest inspiration. Whatever discussions or suspicions are addressed in the script, they're pretty much forgotten by the finale--which does everything just shy of saluting. *1/2 from ****
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