8.2/10
22
3 user 1 critic

Snake Tales (2000)

A woman who accidentally runs over and kills an endangered snake is put on trial by a misogynist judge. She then tries to save herself by spinning an impossibly tall, "Arabian Nights"-esque... See full summary »

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Cast

Credited cast:
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Uncle Dick
Janine de Luna-Azul ...
Ruby (court clerk)
Mardi DeLong ...
Young Mel
...
Mel
Fred Ellis ...
Roy O. Stalk
Kim Garcia ...
Young Rita
Irene Gonzales ...
Rita Pardo
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Penelope
Valerie Holt ...
Young Edna May
Kingsly Martin ...
Hippie Lawyer
Eduardo N. Martinez ...
Jose (as Eddie Martinez)
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Manuel Pardo
Alan McKendree ...
Slim
Jill Parker-Jones ...
Edna May
...
Luis Pardo
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Storyline

A woman who accidentally runs over and kills an endangered snake is put on trial by a misogynist judge. She then tries to save herself by spinning an impossibly tall, "Arabian Nights"-esque tale of gossip and intrigue that eventually involves everyone in their small town. Written by Chicago movie guide

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9 July 2000 (USA)  »

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Quotes

Mel: I've loved man like in a prism, all split up into many, many different lovers.
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User Reviews

 
Stories Within Stories Set in 1990s Texas
22 April 2004 | by See all my reviews

This is not an easy film to put in a box and I can't say that it reminds me of any other film I have ever seen. It has drama, comedy, action, mystery and romance (less of action than the other three).

The film begins with Lizzie, the main character who is not from but driving through Texas, gets arrested for driving over an endangered snake. At the courthouse she is given the choice between two town judges to hear her case -- a woman and a man. At first she thinks she'll go with the lady judge, but then she seems to remember something when she sees the photo on the wall of the male judge, Roy O. Stalk.

Her hearing is set in a Texas bar, where the room turns courtroom from time to time. Lizzie's dilemma is that Judge Stalk hates women -- we see a flashback soon that shows much of why -- and little patience for Lizzie, who seems to have a lot to say. But when she says something that strikes a nerve -- and then interest -- the judge gives her more and more time to tell her stories, which we see as flashbacks.

Lizzie had spent a little time in this small Texas town, "Pandale," before being arrested and has a lot of little stories to tell -- which at first seem unrelated. As the movie progresses further, more and more connections become apparent.

I have watched this movie at many times, and David Blackwell as "Uncle Dick," who calls himself a past "window fashion consultant" cracks me up every time. Blackwell is a very physical comedian -- with his own special magic. Rupert Reyes, as "Luis" is nothing short of adorable; Jill Parker-Jones is just right in her role as the businesswoman with a mean streak in cahoots with the Texas Governor to catch the indigo snake in exchange for political favors -- and who is also the mother of a herpetologist (snake expert) Lori Heuring (as Penelope) who wants to save the snake; Cochran is perfect for the role of the Texas Governor who lusts for a certain endangered indigo snake for a special barbecue his is giving (especially since it is said that this indigo snake is a rare delicacy that works like a natural Viagra). Eddie Martinez (who plays Jose) is the mysterious handsome Hispanic stranger that has great sex appeal on-screen and a hilarious relationship with Lizzie, who is enamored of him (he, however, cares only for the enigmatic "Blue Lady" that we meet near the beginning of the film). Lizzie has a "thing" for spiders; Jose probably can think of few things he likes less than spiders, but Lizzie doesn't realize that, creating more than one very funny situation.

Luis's son Manuel (played by Gabriel Martinez) is in love with a woman he has never met. His "cyber love" and he met in the "Venus Chat Room." There are twists from this angle as well, but I don't want to give anything away!

There are more memorable characters in this film -- in fact, to me every character is memorable -- so I'd rather leave off now before I list almost but not quite everyone.

One thing I find very interesting about this film is that several of my friends who loved solving puzzles and mysteries love "figuring things out" as the stories unfold. The really brilliant ones came close to noticing all the nuances with one screening, but more needed (and wanted) to watch it more than once lest they missed something. Myself, I'm not much of a puzzle person and my main enjoyment from this film was the comedy and "differentness" of this film. Really, it is amazing and cute how Italian-born and raised Francesca Talenti, writer and director of the film, did such a great job of depicting this small Texas town and its characters.

Oh, I left out about one subplot that is incredibly cute and funny, is about the gay guys in love. At first you don't realize who is gay, etc., so I won't tell you much about this aspect except that one of my favorite laughs in this film is the Texas cowboy honky tonk -- which at first looks like you might expect any Texas honky tonk to look and sound -- until you notice that all the couples on the dance floor are men.

When you're in the mood for light-hearted entertainment, this is one to see!


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