Kelly and Evelyn Ryan live in Defiance, Ohio with their 10 children. At first glance their life seems idyllic; they call each other "Mother" and "Father" and seem to dote on the kids. But Kelly was a garage-band crooner whose voice was ruined in an auto accident. He's resigned to a dead-end factory job that barely pays the bills, and is given to fits of alcohol-induced rage. Evelyn, a stay-at-home wife and mother, deals with this abuse by appealing to her priest, who is no help at all. She deals with their poverty by entering the jingle contests that were the rage in the 50's and early 60's, even sending in multiple entries in the names of the children. She is very clever at it, winning more than her share of prizes, but her successes aren't enough to keep the wolf from the door. Further, they trigger Kelly's insecurities and he retreats deeper into the bottle, using food and mortgage money to support the habit. Can the loving, optimistic Evelyn hold the family together? Is she ...Written by
Contrary to the movie, the real-life Evelyn Ryan and her son did get to take a trip to New York City, where they stayed at Waldorf-Astoria, saw the Broadway musical "The Music Man", dined at Sardi's, and appeared on a television show hosted by Merv Griffin as part of the "Name The Sandwich" contest prize. See more »
On two different occasions, the characters talk about the radiator in the Ryan family car. They pronounce it with an A sound as in "hat". People in Northwest Ohio and Northeast Indiana do not say rAd-iator. That is largely a Philadelphia / South Jersey pronunciation. See more »
I don't need you to make me happy. I just need you to leave me alone when I am.
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Before the ending credits roll, updates are given of all the children and of Ms. Schaefer along with their real life photos. See more »
This one came to me in the form of an Academy screener so it's eligible for Oscars - but I had never heard of it - nor read anything about it. So, it's a true sleeper. It's not perfect, but it's a really lovely movie nevertheless and deserves to be better known - certainly by Oscar voters who otherwise might give it a miss. If you are an Academy voter reading this please don't disregard this movie - once again it proves that so many of the smaller American films are the really good ones - small budgets give the director/writers a much better chance, and to have producers looking after you (like Steve Starkey & Robert Zemeckis in this case) is enormously helpful - but one fears that the distributors have decided to bury this gem.....come on guys, give it the chance it needs.
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