Alabama; 1969: The death of a clan's estranged wife and mother brings together two very different families. Do the scars of the past hide differences that will tear them apart, or expose truths that could lead to unexpected collisions?
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A young man in the 1940s raises a family in Alabama after his wife leaves him for an Englishman and moves to England. When the wife dies, she leaves a request to be brought back to Alabama to be buried, and at that point the man hasn't seen her in nearly 30 years. The two families - her original family she abandoned and her English family - meet and make an attempt to adjust to each other, with uneven results. Written by
LaNasa is just too beautiful and stunning to look away from!
'JAYNE MANSFIELD'S CAR': Four Stars (Out of Five)
Billy Bob Thornton directed, co-wrote and co-stars in this family drama film set in 1969 Alabama. Thornton plays a World War II vet in a family of military veterans lead by their father, a World War 1 vet (played by Robert Duvall). The family must deal with the unexpected death of the mother, who had lived with another family in London. The movie also stars John Hurt, Kevin Bacon, Robert Patrick, Katherine LaNasa, Ray Stevenson, Ron White, Shawnee Smith and Frances O'Connor. Thornton co- wrote the film with Tom Epperson and the two have written multiple other movies together (like the critically acclaimed indie crime drama 'ONE FALSE MOVE'). It's Thornton's first directing job since 2001's 'DADDY AND THEM' (which I haven't seen). It's not as classic as 'ONE FALSE MOVE' or Thornton's breakthrough hit 'SLING BLADE' but it is a competent and entertaining character study.
Thornton plays Skip Caldwell, a 50-year-old World War II vet who still lives at home with his father Jim (Duvall). Jim is a veteran of World War 1 and Skip's brothers Carroll (Bacon) and Jimbo (Patrick) are also World War II vets. Jimbo never saw combat though. He's jealous of his brothers for that and still lives with his father as well, along with his wife (Smith) and son (Marshall Allman). Carroll lives with his son (John Patrick Amedori) and spends a lot of time doing drugs and protesting the war (which causes conflict with his father). When the boys' mother dies more conflict is created when her London family comes to town for the funeral. Jim has hated the man, that stole his wife (Hurt), for many years and finally meets him. Jim's daughter, Donna (LaNasa), also comes to town, for her mother's funeral, with her husband (White) and two daughters (Carissa Capobianco and Karli Barnett).
The movie has a lot to say about war and 'peace vs. violence' (as a resolution to conflict) and does a good job of representing both sides of the issue (I think). It's full of heated debates and shows how the topic (as well as war itself) has affected so many. Thornton once again plays a mentally disturbed man child. His character is definitely hard to relate to but he's good in the role. Duvall is a scene stealer and I thought LaNasa was just too beautiful and stunning to look away from (I haven't seen her in anything else but she's very lovely and likable in this). Thornton's directing is always interesting to watch and his writing skills appear to be pretty decent. The film is just a character study, with not a lot actually taking place in it, but I thought it was still pretty entertaining and involving.
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