6.0/10
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10 user 1 critic

Curse of the Starving Class (1994)

Sam Shepard's coming of age drama about a dirt-poor 1950's-era farm family. Dad's a foul talking drunk, and Mom is desperately trying to save what's left of their family life.

Director:

J. Michael McClary

Writers:

Bruce Beresford (screenplay), Sam Shepard (from the stage play by)
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1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
James Woods ... Weston Tate
Kathy Bates ... Ella Tate
Randy Quaid ... Taylor
Henry Thomas ... Wesley Tate
Kristin Fiorella Kristin Fiorella ... Emma Tate
Louis Gossett Jr. ... Ellis
Jim Fitzpatrick ... Emerson (as James Fitzpatrick)
Joel Anderson Joel Anderson ... Slater
Lauren Abels Lauren Abels ... Taylor's Assistant
John Cannon Nichols John Cannon Nichols ... Des
Jerry Biggs Jerry Biggs ... Policeman
David McDavid David McDavid ... Will
Gary Carter Gary Carter ... Weston's Buddy #1
Peyton E. Park Peyton E. Park ... Weston's Buddy #2 (as Peyton Park)
Del Roy Del Roy ... Ellis' Buddy
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Storyline

This cinema version of the Sam Shepard play is set well after the mid-century. James Woods as the alcoholic farmer drives a huge beater with a rusted roof which is emblematic of the general disrepair of his farm. A lovingly tended lamb with maggots is the reverse emblem of something helpless, needy and cared for. The refrigerator is spoken to as a character, as if standing in for absent nurturing from Woods' self-centered wife. The couple have two kids who must come of age as their home is being torn apart around them and the parents pursue fantasies of "better things" offered by crook Randy Quaid. Henry Thomas as the son copes by holding on to the land and creating a poetic commentary, and the responses of his sister to the crisis become a powerful and surprising tribute to womanhood. Written by <abbyskl@earthling.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language, and for a scene of nudity | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

5 May 1995 (South Korea) See more »

Also Known As:

Al otro lado del paraíso See more »

Filming Locations:

Dallas, Texas, USA

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Box Office

Budget:

$12,577,385 (estimated)

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$23,988,427
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Ultra Stereo

Color:

Color
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film cast includes two Oscar winners: Kathy Bates and Louis Gossett, Jr.; and two Oscar nominees: James Woods and Randy Quaid. See more »

Quotes

[repeated line]
Weston Tate: Where's my gun?
See more »

Connections

References Talking Heads: Once in a Lifetime (1981) See more »

Soundtracks

Old Enough
Written by J. Haynes, T. Morris, R. Young, L. Molinare, F. Paniagua
Performed by Little Caesar
Published by MCA Music Pub., A Div. of MCA, Inc.(ASCAP
See more »

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User Reviews

Great acting in a slow-moving vehicle.
5 October 1998 | by shark-19See all my reviews

Curse of the Starving Class showcases the fantastic acting talents of Woods, Bates, Thomas, and most notably, Randy Quaid who fits the bill of the sleazy desert-realtor to a tee. James Woods' portrayal of an alcoholic father to a farm family way, waaay down on their luck makes for great acting, but not quite good enough to make this film MOVE. I kept waiting for this story to turn around and pay off somehow, but by the end I still felt dragged down into poverty.


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