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Honeydripper
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Synopsis for
Honeydripper (2007) More at IMDbPro »

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1950's. Rural Alabama. Cotton harvest. It's a make-or-break weekend for the Honeydripper Lounge and its owner, piano player Tyrone "Pine Top" Purvis (Danny Glover). Deep in debt to the liquor man, the chicken man, and the landlord, Tyrone is desperate to lure the young cotton pickers and local Army base recruits into his juke joint, away from Touissant's, the rival joint across the way.

Sonny (Gary Clark Jr) arrives to the small town of Harmony because he liked the name of the town. He wants to be a musician, and carries the electric guitar he has made himself. The train attendant tells him to go to the Honeydripper for a meal on his behalf, and tells him the history of his one say in prison, in a small town called Liberty. Sonny is rejected by Tyrone: he is the piano player at the Honeydripper, and doesn't feel the need to change things. However, decisions need to be made, and they need to be made fast.

After laying off his regular talent, blues singer Bertha Mae Spervin (Dr. Mabel John), Tyrone announces to his sidekick Maceo (Charles S. Dutton) that he has hired the famous electric guitar player, Guitar Sam, for a opecial one night only gig: pack'em in and save the club. Maceo tells him that he will need to pay Guitar Sam upfront with fifty dollars, and he hasn't got such a sum. Maceo has his own problems: Nadine (Davenia McFadden), the local seamstress, is after him to get married. Everybody thinks she's good marriage material, as she cooks well, supports herself as a seamstress, and is always smiling, but Maceo tells the story of her ex-fianc, whom she hit with a pot because he was unfaithful to her.

Back home, Tyrone has the respect of his stephdaughter China Doll (Yaya DaCosta), but not of his wife Delilah (Lisa Gay Hamilton), who is pressured by the local religious minister to get involved in the church up to the point of getting rid of her second husband, who is deemed a bad person. Delilah is the person who cooks at the Honeydripper, but the bar is going so bad financially, that she has to make ends meet by being a servant of the Pughs. Mrs Amanda Winship (Mary Steenburgen) chainsmokes, and talks to Delilah of her husband, who doesn't like her, her cooking and is not an ethical man. Delilah has to listen to all these complains with a soft smile on her lips, as she knows that her second husband is much better than him. However, that opinion is not shared by Reverend Cutlip (Albert Hall), who pushes her to join his church and leave. The main reason is the pervading rumour that Pine Top killed one a man because of a pretty girl (Pacey Walker).

Sonny is put into prison by Sheriff Pugh (Stacy Keach), and is forced to pick cotton on the fields of corrupt Judge Gatlin (Danny Vinson), who pays sheriff Pugh three dollars a day for each handpick he can provide. Sonny hasn't done anything illegal, but just being in Harmony without a job is reason enough. Other handpicks tell Sonny how to do the job and how to take it easy. Other handpickers are busy fighting with each other (Vondie Curtis-Hall, Nagee Clay and Absalom Adams)

Bertha Mae dies. Luther (Brian D. Williams) used to be supported by her. He's organizing the funeral and tells the minister that lately she only lived for the Honeydripper performance. Tyrone is lef with the body, and has the temptation to steal one of her rings to pay for several things he needs to pay: the rent, of which he owes the owner two weeks; the whiskey, which he has stolen telling the delivery driver (Larry Coker) that he was Tussaint. However, he refrains himself in the last second.

Once in a while, Pine Top talks to Possum (Keb' Mo') a vagrant guitar player who is blind. Because of his blindness, Possum is ignored by the white folks and is not forced to work in the cotton fields.

On the day of the show, the train arrives and Guitar Sam is no where to be found, an event foresaw by Possum, who tells Tyrone that his luck won't change because of anybody going out from that train. Tyrone is forced to take drastic action. He makes a deal with Sheriff Pugh to release Sonny. The price is costly for Tyrone, though, as he is forced to accept sheriff Pugh as a co-owner in the Honeydripper. Pugh is obsessed with Delilah's homecooking. Although throughout the film the audience is lead to believe that Pugh is after Delilah's herself with comments with "I prefer dark meat", at the end it only means that Pugh's wife is a horrible cook, so he prefers Delilah's for a change. Fortunately, Delilah has finally decided to leave Cutlip's church and appears on the nick of time to cook for Pugh.

Tyrone cleans Sonny up and launches a last ditch scheme to pass off the young guitar picker as Guitar Sam just long enough to cut the lights and run off with cash box. When Sonny takes the stage and launches into his first scalding electric licks, Tyrone will learn if its lights are out for the Honeydripper or if his luck has changed: he might just be another man saved by rock n' roll. It's Sonny himself who takes care of the fuse, so they won't burn out during his performance. Even Possum has appeared to play with Sonny. One of the customers calls Sonny a fake, but he says that the customer is confusing him with Creole Sam, and the rest of the party-goers shoo the customer away.

Tyrone has some more tasks to do: he prevents the gun and knife fight between the handpickers. He puts them both out. He remembers how he killed a young man. The last scene is old Toussaint (James Crittenden), who admits his defeat. When the owner of the place arrives to collect his rent, on Saturday evening, as agreed, he is adamant that he'll put Pine Top out of business sooner of later, but at that moment he anounces that Pugh is the new investor. At that moment, the owner knows that, he won't ever be able to evict Tyrone, and looking at Pugh - who's feeding himself like a pig with Delilah's homecooking - he mutters that the place must be really something important for Tyrone.

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