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|Index||13 reviews in total|
9 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
One of the most overlooked movies yet., 16 August 2005
Author: mammothtimes from Georgia
It's hard to find anything wrong with this film. It was cleverly written and beautifully acted. When you're watching the actors and don't think to yourself, "that's Alfre Woodard, Tim Robbins, Holly Hunter or Mary Steenburgen," then they are doing their job! Being a southerner I could tell immediately that the writer knows what she's doing, too. I loved each and every single character. The scenes move together seamlessly and by the end, you've felt Carnelle's pain, Elaine's dissatisfaction with life, Popeye's endless hope, Delmont's search for peace and Mac Sam's empty existence. Would that I could write and direct a film of this subtle magnitude one day.
9 out of 10 people found the following review useful:
rip roaring funny, 29 September 2003
Author: gracie28 from Raleigh, NC
A hilarious sendup of beauty contests, with a nice wry twist and laugh out loud southern humor. Wacky characters, well casted and good solid acting. Mary Steenburgen is wonderful and Holly Hunter is the best! You may not get if if you are not from the South and if you are "serious" about beauty pageants.
6 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
Under-rated romantic satire, 14 June 2002
Author: Ray Girvan from Devon, UK
A much under-rated movie: both a satire on the sheer awfulness of small-town pageants, and a poignant yet ultimately hopeful romance about talented misfits coming to terms with their nature. A minor criticism is that it suffers from the usual movie cliche: characters who are supposed to be plain - in this case, Holly Hunter and Alfre Woodard - who are the most charismatic people in the movie. Highlight: the amazing dance routine by Hunter. I'm an old cynic, but the ending was both iconoclastic and beautifully feelgood.
3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
What a sweet movie!, 29 September 2009
Author: stoneyburke from United States
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I gave it a RAVE review because it is the most positive movie I probably have ever seen. I'm a noir fan and if this is what a feel good movie is then I should at least TRY and seek out more! The cast is/was perfection. The ending was so damn sweet that I'm still shaking my dark head. I cannot fault this little treasure. Where would one start...Holly Hunter was a delight. Tim Robbins is so believable as well as the entire cast. I evidently cannot say enough. If you're ever feeling like spending time with some fine actors, characters and script here ya go! I got to thinking. This is exactly the movie that lightened up my watching experience.
6 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
Independence Day for Miss Firecracker, 5 September 1999
Author: Laura Wigley from Mid-West
"Physiognomy": the act of judging people by their physical
As in her first film, the Pulitzer Prize-winning Crimes of the Heart, Beth Henley has created a collection of off-beat Southern Gothic characters. These characters seem familiar like old friends (or more like black-sheep cousins), ut the film goes beyond its representation of these endearing characters to explore deeper themes, to ask whether appearances are really important.
The Miss Firecracker Contest, is superficially, a comedy about a small town Southern beauty pageant, in which Henley reflects in a sardonic manner on how and why women put themselves through such contests. The pageant, however, merely frames the action. The play is ultimately about appearances. Henley introduces the idea that women shape their identities and bodies in terms of the opinions of other people, and the more important issue of breaking away from stereotypes in order to discover your personality. The beauty pageant is even held on the Fourth of July -- Independence Day.
All of the women in this play, except Popeye, define themselves in relation to the contest. Staying with Henley's successful formula of an insecure heroine who searches for acceptance from society and her family, The Miss Firecracker Contest is dominated by the beauty queen "wannabe," Carnelle Scott (a role created on stage by then little-known Southern actress Holly Hunter). Carnelle is not merely competing for the crown; she wants to win the contest so that she can win acceptance from the town of Brookhaven, Mississippi, shed her tawdry reputation, and leave the town in a "crimson blaze of glory." Carnelle's own name even expresses her sexual nature -- the derivation of her name, "carnal," means pleasures of a sexual nature.
Her cousin and idol, Elain, is a self-absorbed former pageant winner -- a Scarlett O'Hara for the twentieth century -- still living off the glory of her youth. Even Tessy Mahoney, one of the two ugliest girls in town, takes pleasure in the authority of the whistle and clipboard she wields as pageant coordinator. Of the women, only Popeye -- with her coke-bottle glasses -- is more concerned with "seeing" than with being seen. An admirer of beauty that transcends physical appearance, she serves as a mirror through which others may see their own self-worth.
The Miss Firecracker Contest continues Beth Henley's examination of the South -- and especially of small-town Southern women. In pursuing this theme, she is following in the steps of earlier Southern playwrights, such as Lillian Hellman and Tennessee Williams. And like Southern author William Faulkner with his fictitious county of Yoknapatawpha, Mississippi, Henley appears to be establishing a physical universe and a cast of familiar characters for her canon of plays.
3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
The movie is not the play., 17 April 2000
Author: meigie from Nashville, Tennessee
I might have enjoyed this movie more had I not already been very familiar
with The Miss Firecracker Contest, the award-winning play on which the
screenplay is based. The play is as neat and compact as the film is muddled
and overblown. I loved the play and was disappointed to see that some of my
favorite elements were changed for the film. The play is set in Brookhaven,
MS, has a cast of six, and plays like a symphony with recurring themes and
distinct rhythm. The film moves the action to Yazoo City, a somewhat more
industrial setting, so it loses some of the "southern charm" of the play.
The film shows us the other contestants, the audience members, and various
other members of the community. This "carnival atmosphere" distracts us
the core issues of the play, which are Carnelle's relationship with her
family and her need to find her place in the world. Although I feel that
Alfre Woodard did a stellar job in portraying Popeye Jackson, this role was
originally written as a very backwoods white girl. The change to a black
character made it impossible to keep the very sweet romance between her and
Delmount in the screenplay. In the film, Elaine, played marvelously by Mary
Steenburgen, displays a certain mean streak which is absent in the
In conclusion, Miss Firecracker is a very well-acted but overly busy adaptation of a beautifully succinct play about a very eccentric southern family. I recommend the movie for the performances of Holly Hunter, Mary Steenburgen, Tim Robbins, and especially, Alfre Woodard. I also recommend reading or seeing the play to really understand the core characters and their relationships to one another.
3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Hunter shines in all but forgotten gem, 1 December 1998
Author: rabbit-16 from Stockholm, Sweden
This film blew me away. It is a gripping tale about a young woman( Hunter) entering a beauty contest without having the looks for it, but enough energy to put all that aside and go for it anyway. Something in her past makes her very determined to try to win the contest. Supporting her efforts are a group of very odd people, among them Glenn, Robbins and Steenburgen, who seem to not want to let on to Hunter that they don't expect her to succeed when she starts out but when they see her on the stage they all, almost anyway, cheer her and become very upset when she ends up fifth runner up. The film is an adapted play and it shows in the limited settings and in some of the dialogue, but overall it is a fine movie. Very warm and entertaining. It is a forgotten gem of a movie in which Hunter shines like a diamond.
4 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
Holly Hunter rocks in red, 28 December 2001
Author: Linnéa Lundblad from Gothenburg, Sweden
Holly Hunter plays Carnelle, a small town girl with average looks who wants to be Miss Firecracker. The title that her older cousin (which she grew up with) already won years ago. Her cousin Elain does not think that this is the best idea, but when Carnelle asks to borrow her red dress she says yes. Even though she's not going to lend her it anyway. Her other cousin Delmount (Tim Robbins) is a bit wierd, but handsome and wanted by most of the towns women. No one really thinks she can make it, but she's got a suprise for all of them... Holly Hunter is perfect for this role, with her cute smile and karisma. Tim Robbins, who has great talent as seen in his later work, does his job as an actor. Nothing more. It's a cute and warming movie. But that's it.
0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Holly Hunter carries the film, 31 January 2005
Author: rgf350915-1 from Canada
After my first viewing of this film I came away disappointed, but Holly
Hunter's sound performance induced me to watch it again. A second
viewing left me with the impression that it was an opportunity lost to
produce a first class movie. A poor performance from a star like Tim
Robbins, who has played outstanding roles in other movies, leads me to
suspect that the fault lies with the director.
Holly Hunter rose to the occasion to make the film worth while. I would recommend that anyone watching this movie should focus there attention on Holly Hunter's flawless performance and ignore weak moments that occur from time to time elsewhere.
I would purchase the DVD again and classify it as a "keeper".
0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Not the cast's best film, but a fairly good one, 8 October 1999
I saw this film in the cables, in an afternoon-ish forgotten hour and wanted to see it all over again. Holly Hunter is an ex-abandoned child and nowadays a bimbo, who grew up in her aunt's house; Tim Robbins is her traumatized cousin. Being way too short and red-headed she wants to win a beauty contest. Hunter and Robbins are not at their best - it is'nt "The Piano" (Or even "Raising Arizona", where Hunter did another tough southerner), but it's a great film and deserves watching, not only by those actors' fans. A better director would have probably made it another "Raising Arizona"/"Gross Point".
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