Vivian's family are penniless nomads, moving from one cheap flat to another in Beverly Hills so she and her brothers can attend the city's schools. Uncle Mickey sends them money to survive. When Mickey's daughter Rita runs away from an asylum, Vivian's dad offers shelter to her if Mickey will pay for a plush flat. Vivian must babysit her adult cousin, making sure she gets to nursing school and avoids pills and booze. But Vivian has her own problems: she's curious about sex, likes an older neighbor kid, has inherited her mother's ample breasts, and wants a family that doesn't embarrass her. Can she help Rita, keep Uncle Mickey happy, and feel OK about her body and her family? Written by
With the film taking place in 1976, the Boeing 737 shown landing was a "classic" or a "next generation" model, these were not introduced until the 1980's. See more »
When Rita is checking Mickey's pulse on the shot facing him is arm is on the table. On the shot facing her, his arm is raised off the table. See more »
[Eliot and Viv are giving Rita a lift to her boyfriend's place]
All right, we're close. I know this neighborhood. I do a lot of business up here.
Really? What do you do?
He deals drugs.
Vivian! Will you mind not going around misrepresenting me like that? Jesus. I just don't want anyone to the get the wrong idea that I'm like some kind of school yard pusher.
Oh, I don't mind. In fact, do you have anything for my nerves? You know, just laying around?
Seconal, Demerol, Tuinal, Valium, ...
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"Slums" is one of the more underrated films of the 1990s. It seems to rub some people the wrong way for unclear reasons, but I found it to be touching and hilarious from start to finish. Perhaps I'm just a sucker for Alan Arkin, whom I've always liked, and see on screen all to infrequently. More likely I was impressed by the witty script, deft direction and solid cast. I especially appreciated the spot-on portrayal of Southern California during the mid-70s, which just happens to be the era when I migrated from "back East" to Los Angeles. Fortunately, we weren't as hapless as the Abramowitz family, who throughout this film are trying desperately to hang onto the ragged edge of the good life.
This is one "coming of age" story that you don't need to be a teenage girl to enjoy.
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