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An academic obsessed with "roadside attractions" and his tv-star daughter finally discover the world's largest ice cream cone, the centerpiece for an old gold-rush town struggling to stay on the map. They end up staying longer than expected because of an accident that spilled an unknown cola ingredient all over the highway. They spend the next few days with the various residents of the town which include a teenage girl who loves to blow things up and a boy trying to keep alive his fathers dream of building a beachside resort in the middle of the desert. Written by
Gregory Paris <email@example.com>
"Desert Blue" With "Hurricane Streets". director Morgan J. Freeman burst onto the film scene with a sharp portrayal of bored inner city kids. Motivated by stealing, disarmed by love, the film was highly entertaining if a bit flawed. "Desert Blue" is Freeman's second film and represents his attempt to reach the opposite end of the spectrum. This time, instead of a population of millions, we now get a population of 97. The film is set in fictional Baxter, California, the home of the world's largest ice cream cone and the factory of burgeoning cola company Empire Cola. When a truck carrying Empire's secret ingredient has a massive accident and subsequent spill, the town in quarantined and put on alert for possible toxic contaminants. The town locals, who never thought about leaving their boring town before, now become antsy and think about life outside of Baxter. Kate Hudson ("200 Cigarettes") and John Heard play two travelers who were passing through Baxter during the spill. They become part of the quarantine and befriend the locals. Brendan Sexton III ("Hurricane Streets"), Casey Affleck ("Good Will Hunting"), Christina Ricci (Everything independent), and Ethan Suplee ("Mallrats") play the local kids. The ride around all day in ATVs and spend their nights drinking by the long aquaduct. Each kid harbors a long standing resentment to Baxter, and each kid expresses that uniquely. Ricci by anarchy, Affleck by ATV racing, Suplee has a long dream of becoming a deputy, and Sexton tries to keep the family business alive, thought it died a long time ago. "Desert Blue" is somewhat a comedy, somewhat a drama, and somewhat a commercial for poor actors. While it's nice to see old faces like Sara Gilbert ("Roseanne") and Michael Ironside ("Total Recall") in small supporting roles, the rest of the cast is laughably bad. I do understand that they might be trying to conveying boredom, but they do it just a touch too realistically. That leaves the film with a very awkward static atmosphere. The best moments of the film come when Freeman lets his actors and the plot get a bit silly. The film comes alive in scenes of Orange baseball, potato guns, and an ad-lib by Casey Affleck that made me laugh the rest of the picture. "Desert Blue" could have worked better if Freeman would have lit a fire under the plot. Too many scenes include drunken ramblings, proof that a film isn't trying. While I came out of the film with a good feeling about it, I wished the movie could've taken more advantage of it's possibilities. ------- 6
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