6.0/10
2,332
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.

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

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Weston Tate
... Ella Tate
... Taylor
... Wesley Tate
Kristin Fiorella ... Emma Tate
... Ellis
... Emerson (as James Fitzpatrick)
Joel Anderson ... Slater
Lauren Abels ... Taylor's Assistant
John Cannon Nichols ... Des
Jerry Biggs ... Policeman
David McDavid ... Will
Gary Carter ... Weston's Buddy #1
Peyton E. Park ... Weston's Buddy #2 (as Peyton Park)
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:

Language:

Release Date:

5 May 1995 (South Korea)  »

Also Known As:

Al otro lado del paraíso  »

Filming Locations:


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Box Office

Budget:

$12,577,385 (estimated)

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$23,988,427
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

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Color:

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Did You Know?

Trivia

James Woods and Randy Quaid appeared in Next Door (1994). See more »

Quotes

Ella Tate: You know what this is? It's a curse. I can feel it. Goes back in back to little cells and genes. It's tiny little swimming things just making up their minds without us. Plotting in the womb. Before that even, in the air... we pass it on. We inherit it. And pass it down. Just goes on and on like that. Without us.
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Connections

Referenced in Breaking News (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

Lost In The Land Of Texaco
Written and Performed by Tom Faulkner
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User Reviews

 
Beyond Bad
7 February 2004 | by See all my reviews

This would've been a *great* silent film. The acting really is good, at least in a Look Ma, I'm Doing Really Big Acting! sort of way.

Everything is HUGE. Every line is PROFOUND! Every scene is SHATTERED BY HUMAN TRAGEDY!

Mostly, I felt like gagging. Yet, like any train wreck, I couldn't tear my eyes away. This dialogue might've worked on the stage, although I doubt it. On the screen, it was cluttered, haphazard, hackneyed and pretty much every other stereotypical negative adjective you can come up with to describe a really bad dramatic work.

If you enjoy your melodrama in huge, heaping doses, you *might* enjoy the movie. Be prepared to wait, however. For all that melodrama, this thing sure plods along at its own pace.

This script must've sounded a lot different when the actors involved were reading it to themselves. It simply doesn't work once they get around to delivering it in front of the camera.

IMDB does us a great disservice, at times, when it uses its goofy computer-controlled "weighted score". Curse of the Starving Class deserves less than a 1.

Character-driven fiction is great, but when you develop your characters by simply pushing them through hoops with no plausible explanation for their maturation or evolution, it isn't character development! Your characters must have a motivation. Being drunk for a while and waking up in a field is *not* character development. That's a plot contrivance.

Stay away from this movie. Or at the very least, watch it muted. Perhaps you'll get some amusement from all the arm-waving the characters do.

Oh, and word to the wise -- to prove that this is truly an artsy film, you see James Woods in all his dangly male "look-at-me, I'm-the-figurative-and-literal-representation-of-the-naked-vulnerability-of- man" glory.

Don't say you weren't warned.


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