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Sordid Lives (2000)

R | | Comedy, Romance | 11 May 2001 (USA)
As three generations of a family in a small Texas town gather for a funeral, we learn the hilarious, sad, trashy truth of the "Sordid Lives."

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Bitsy Mae Harling
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Sarah Hunley ...
Juanita Bartlett
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G.W. Nethercott
Earl Houston Bullock ...
Odell Owens (as Earl H. Bullock)
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Bumper
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Sara Kaufman
Ann Walker ...
Mary Margaret Lewis ...
Ethel (as Mary-Margaret Lewis)
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Storyline

We become intimate with the "Sordid Lives" of a family in a small Texas town preparing for the funeral of the mother. Among the characters are the grandson trying to find his identity in West Hollywood, the son who has spent the past twenty-three years dressed as Tammy Wynette, the sister and her best friend (who live in delightfully kitschy homes), and the two daughters (one strait-laced and one quite a bit looser). Written by Randall Gellens <imdb+add@randy.pensive.org>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A black comedy about white trash. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sexual content, nudity and language | See all certifications »

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Details

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Release Date:

11 May 2001 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Nedza zywota  »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$13,167, 13 May 2001, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$1,111,273
See more on IMDbPro »

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Did You Know?

Trivia

Delta Burke's role was originally supposed to be played as a larger woman, but when she showed up on the set having lost a lot of weight, a pivotal scene was played as if she had lost the weight, but her neglectful husband hadn't noticed. (The role was originally to be played by Patrika Darbo.) See more »

Goofs

When Sissy and Noleta are speaking in the living room a boom mic is visible. See more »

Quotes

Sissy: Good Lawd Latrelle. Don't you know better than to sneak up on someone when they're tawkin' to a corpse?
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Crazy Credits

After all the credits, Grandma Peggy asks "Where'd everyone go?" See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Cinema Snob: Two of a Kind (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

Till I Can Make It On My Own
Written by George Richey, Billy Sherrill and Tammy Wynette
Performed by Tammy Wynette
Used by permission of EMI ALGEE MUSIC CORP/SONG OF UNIVERSAL, INC.
Courtesy of Sony Special Products
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User Reviews

Small Town Americana
1 September 2007 | by See all my reviews

Rather than being plot driven as in most films, "Sordid Lives" is character driven. Some ten to twelve main characters who live, or have lived, in a small town in West Texas chat, argue, hug, gossip, lament, reflect on, laugh at, debate, divulge, confer, confide in, and generally shoot the breeze, as they go about their drab existence, in preparation for a funeral. Adapted from a stage play, this film comedy is, not surprisingly, heavy on dialogue. The characters have their own unique quirks and personality idiosyncrasies, and are interesting for the most part.

Sissy (Beth Grant) is an older, fussy woman who stings herself with a rubber band on her arm, as a way to quit smoking. Latrelle (Bonnie Bedelia) and LaVonda (Ann Walker) are Sissy's two nieces who argue with each other about everything. Then you've got Noleta (Delta Burke), a tacky trailer park type married to G.W. (Beau Bridges), a man whose two wooden legs caused the death of Sissy's sister. Then there's Brother Boy (Leslie Jordan), Latrelle and LaVonda's brother, who is confined to an institution because he is a flaming transvestite who dresses like Tammy Wynette. Brother Boy is a hoot in that bizarre outfit, and with that deadpan expression and slow Texas nasal twang. To complicate matters, Latrelle's son Ty (Kirk Geiger), is a gay actor who is trying to recover from his boyhood in provincial West Texas.

I liked the first half of the film better than the second half, which trends in the direction of plot absurdity, as two characters enter a bar with guns, and one character threatens to set fire to himself.

With its absence of background music, its exaggerated acting (over the top at times), its indoor sets, and absence of scene transitions at times, "Sordid Lives" feels very much like a TV sitcom. The costumes are colorful and charmingly tacky. Cinematography is conventional. Olivia Newton-John sings a couple of gospel hymns. But I could have wished for more country/western music.

If the film has one overall weakness I would say that it is its flamboyance. Characters, dialogue, acting and plot tend to be overstated; there's almost no subtlety. It's like they were trying a little too hard.

Still, the down-home humor renders lots of laughs for viewers. And underneath all the hubbub, these characters have genuine heart and soul. "Sordid Lives", ultimately, is a film whose theme is love and acceptance.


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