Sunshine State (2002) - News Poster


Nicole, Joel & Harlow Bring Their Smiles to the Sunshine State

Nicole Richie and Joel Madden were a blond duo yesterday as they arrived at Lax with Harlow. The trio was traveling to Miami where Nicole will promote House of Harlow and appear on Regis and Kelly - though Kelly will have to take a break from her poolside bikini time to tape the show. Joel even tweeted an adorable photo of Harlow once they got to Florida for their little family vacation. View 5 Photos › Bauer-Griffin Online
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Silver City

Silver City
TORONTO -- In Silver City, John Sayles, one of the brightest and most literate voices among American independents, has made one of his best and most important movies.

It's a cracking good detective yarn with hints of Chinatown and Raymond Chandler, and it's a sharp political lampoon of things we're all reading about on today's front pages. It's also a sociopolitical portrait of a state, in this case Colorado, along the lines of Sayles' Sunshine State (Florida) and Lone Star (Texas), in which picturesque environments are fractured by divisions of culture and class.

The film probably lacks the requisite sex-and-violence quotient to expand much beyond adult specialty venues. Distributor Newmarket Films certainly has a magic touch, however, with films that provoke controversy. Sayles' transparent portrait of a corrupt political dynasty that bears more than a passing resemblance to the Bush family could provide that controversy.

A gubernatorial election in Colorado has Dickie Pilager (Chris Cooper), the prodding, ex-alcoholic, linguistically challenged son of the state's venerable senator (Michael Murphy) running for his first public office. His dad's campaign team is in complete charge, led by take-no-prisoners manager Chuck Raven (Richard Dreyfuss).

While filming an environmental TV spot, Dickie's fishing line snags the battered corpse of a migrant Latino laborer. Chuck is paranoid enough to see this unsettling incident as a dirty political trick. So he hires Grace Seymour's Mary Kay Place) detective agency not only to investigate but also to lean on a trio of individuals on the Pilager family's enemies list. The assignment falls to Danny O'Brien (Danny Huston), who belongs to the noble detective-fiction tradition of the disgraced yet white knight capable of moral outrage: Formerly an idealistic journalist, Danny once walked into a political setup and got fired when his newspaper was forced to print a retraction for a muckraking story.

Huston's performance expands as the story proceeds, his loose, rumpled physicality and restless forward drive expressing an impatience with slick, insincere answers and an overpowering need to solve this riddle.

Through his eyes, the viewer is sucked deep into a vortex of corruption that whirls around a large cast of shifty characters that includes the Pilager family; media magnate/developer Wes Benteen (Kris Kristofferson); lobbyist Chander Tyson (Billy Zane), who happens to date O'Brien's former lover, top political reporter Nora Allardyce (Maria Bello); and Mort Seymous (David Clennon), Grace's husband, who is desperate to develop the planned community of Silver City in and around an old mine where the Pilagers and Benteen once did business.

What makes Sayles' storytelling so compelling is his uncanny ability to capture the different speech cadences of each character. There is Roven's double-speak with coded phrase meaning different things to different folks; the candidate's inability to follow a single thought all the way through a complete sentence; double-edged words that drip with cynicism belonging to his estranged sister, Maddy (Daryl Hannah); Benteen's deliberate, Orwellian misuse of such words as "freedom" and "resources"; the hate-laced verbiage from right-wing radio jock Cliff Castleton (Miguel Ferrer); and Tyson's smooth counterpunching when confronted with clear contradictions.

Not that images are neglected. Veteran cinematographer Haskell Wexler, in his fourth outing with Sayles, turns film noir on its head with sun-blasted city streets and high, cloudless skies in the seemingly innocent Colorado landscape.


Newmarket Films

Anarchists Convention


Writer-director-editor: John Sayles

Producer: Maggie Renzi

Director of photography: Haskell Wexler

Production designer: Toby Corbett

Music: Mason Daring

Costume designer: Shay Cunliffe


Danny O'Brien: Danny Huston

Nora: Maria Bello

Dickie Pilager: Chris Cooper

Chuck Raven: Richard Dreyfuss

Sheriff Skaggs: James Gammon

Maddy: Daryl Hannah

Mitch: Tim Roth

Wes: Kris Kristofferson

Sen. Pilager: Michael Murphy

Chandler: Billy Zane

Grace: Mary Kay Place

MPAA rating: R

Running time -- 128 minutes

Damon and Johansson Join Efforts To Oust Bush

  • WENN
Matt Damon and Scarlett Johansson are among a list of celebrities donating their talents to an online effort to oust President George W Bush. Tuesday, independent political group Moveon.Org premieres 10 new anti-Bush advertisements created by award-winning filmmakers including John Sayles, the writer-director of Sunshine State and Eight Men Out, and Doug Liman, who directed Swingers and The Bourne Identity. Sayles teams up with actor Martin Sheen for one ad, while Liman reunites with Damon for another MoveOn spot. When Harry Met Sally director Rob Reiner uses Bush's own words to form the core of his 30-second commercial, which come from an April news conference where Bush struggled to answer whether he'd made mistakes as president. Some of the ads may never get airtime. While MoveOn spokeswoman Laura Dawn says the group has committed to a "sizable" national cable buy for its first ad, the rest may simply remain on the internet as a motivator for MoveOn members. Johansson lends her voice to an animated spot called "Who Profits?," which also features Kevin Bacon and Ed Asner.

Blucas hooks 'Daughter' lead

Marc Blucas has landed the coveted male lead role opposite Katie Holmes in Regency Enterprises' romantic comedy First Daughter for helmer Forest Whitaker and producer John Davis. Shooting is scheduled to start in mid-May. Blucas, who just entered negotiations for the project, will segue into it after he wraps shooting the Walt Disney Co.'s The Alamo this week. First Daughter will see Holmes star as the daughter of the U.S. president who goes to college and falls into a fairy tale romance with a dashing graduate student (Blucas) only to find that her prince turns out to have a secret agenda. Along with Davis, Davis Entertainment president Wyck Godfrey is producing. At Regency, the project is being overseen by senior vp production Kara Francis for Regency president Sanford Panitch. Jessica Bendinger (The Truth About Charlie) wrote the most recent draft of the script. Regency is fully financing. Blucas, repped by Endeavor and Handprint Entertainment and attorney Steve Warren, next stars in the features I Capture the Castle and Prey for Rock & Roll. Past projects include The Sunshine State and We Were Soldiers.

Critics Awards All Over the Map

  • WENN
Three groups of critics . two on the East Coast, one on the West . recently chimed in with their picks for the year's best, and they were pretty much all over the map. Film critics in Los Angeles and Boston announced their choices over the weekend, with About Schmidt charming L.A. and the critics of Beantown making a surprise choice with Roman Polanski's The Pianist. The New York Film Critics Circle added to the obfuscation of any Oscar favorites by going with art house fave Far From Heaven. In fact, the New Yorkers bestowed five awards on Todd Haynes' ode to Douglas Sirk: Picture, Supporting Actor (Dennis Quaid), Supporting Actress (Patricia Clarkson), Director, and Cinematography. In a surprise upset, Diane Lane was chosen best actress over Heaven's Julianne Moore for her performance in Adrian Lyne's Unfaithful; Daniel Day-Lewis walked away with the lead actor award for Gangs of New York. In Los Angeles, About Schmidt's Jack Nicholson tied with Day-Lewis for the lead actor award, while Julianne Moore picked up the Best Actress award for both Far From Heaven and The Hours. Other L.A. awards included Chris Cooper (supporting actor for Adaptation), Edie Falco (supporting actress for Sunshine State) and Pedro Almodovar (director for Talk To Her). Boston critics heaped awards on The Pianist's Adrien Brody (lead actor) and Roman Polanski (director), and made other surprise choices for lead actress (Maggie Gyllenhaal for Secretary), supporting actor (Alan Arkin for 13 Conversations About One Thing) and supporting actress (Toni Collette, named for both About a Boy and The Hours). All the critics did agree on one thing, though: Alfonso Cuaron's Y Tu Mama Tambien was named best foreign film by all three groups. --Prepared by IMDb staff

See also

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