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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Come Back To the Five & Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean (1982)

September 30, 1975 is the 20th anniversary of actor James Dean's death and a group of hardcore fans called the Disciples Of James Dean reunite in a forlorn small Texas town at the Woolworth's where it all began: the head of the group (Sandy Dennis) claims that James Dean fathered her son, then there's the foul mouthed big breasted town tart (Cher), the brassy wife (Kathy Bates) of a wealthy oilman, a not too bright beautician (Marta Heflin) pregnant with her 7th child and the Bible thumping store owner (Sudie Bond). But when a stranger (Karen Black) arrives in a yellow Porsche, illusions and delusions fall apart as ugly truths come uncovered. Robert Altman had directed Ed Graczyk's 1976 play on Broadway in 1982 and filmed it with same cast. Shot in 16 millimeter, Altman makes no attempt to disguise its theatrical roots, it's a filmed play shot on a single set. While Graczyk's source material may be second rate, Altman and his actresses treat the material with perhaps more respect than it deserves. Altman's love of theater comes through and the cast manages to overcome the cliches of the script and bring an honesty and integrity to their performances. With Mark Patton, the only male in the cast.

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