The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Caught an advanced screening again yesterday at Lincoln Center, for The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio starring Julianne Moore and Woody Harrelson.

It's based on a true story and book, The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio: How My Mother Raised 10 Kids on 25 Words or Less.
Evelyn Ryan (Moore) is a devoted housewife and mother of ten in the 1950s. A time period perfect for Moore since she looks so classic and has played a 50s housewife in Far From Heaven and The Hours. Her husband (Harrelson) can't seem to make ends meet, especially since most of his paycheck goes to liquor. The mortgage payments and putting food on the table falls to Evelyn, defying conventions of the day. She continually finds a way to keep her family together by applying her resourcefulness and wit to winning poetry contests and writing jingles for prize competitions. She wins a supermarket shopping spree and other contests that provided washing machines and other appliances the family couldn't afford, and even delivered cash to pay the milk man.

Harrelson who I've admired ever since his play appearances in Rainmaker and An Average Day, does a good job playing a jealous and hapless 50s husband. Although it gets really annoying that they call each other mom and dad, I hate that, but it's a true story so I guess they have to ;). People in the audience got so annoyed at the father's destructive character that there were numerous hisses and yells at the screen. I even heard two women mutter, "I'd kill him!" Thus he does a good job playing the loser dad.
Moore meanwhile is good in anything, so I don't even have to go there. Her character though is so perfect that I often got annoyed at her turn-the-other-cheek persona, however it's also very admirable as is her wit and endurance.
The film starts a little weird with Moore talking directly to the camera, but I enjoyed the television commercial like feel to the audience address. Overall the film is sentimental and aims to pull at the heartstrings, but "cute" and enjoyable none the less.
I felt bad that I invited a male friend to this women's film, but I brought him some candy from work and didn't seem to mind as much ;) Thanks Jesse.

DVD Review: 3rd Rock From the Sun--The Complete First Season.

I totally forgot how adorable and creative this show is. I always enjoyed it but I didn't watch every episode, since they kept changing what day it was on and so forth. Anyway, since receiving the first season on DVD, I've been popping through the different episodes like they were potato chips and laughing out loud. Jane Curtain plays such a straight lace neurotic, John Lithgow is brilliant maintaining that shocked child-eyed wonder throughout too. I kept looking forward to see what trouble the aliens would get into next and how they would embarrass poor Dr. Mary Albright and their secretary Nina. The first season is really endearing and I'm glad I got a chance to refresh my memory with these episodes.

Also, the coolest part is that the DVD talks, yes talks. Like some action figure there is a button on the box set and when pressed it has Dick saying "You are ... judgmental and completely self-absorbed, won't you be my friend?" I loved the idea of making the DVD more than just a DVD, too cool.
DVD Show Season Score: A+
DVD Sound & Vision: B
DVD Packaging/Layout: A
DVD Special Features Score: B
DVD Show Collection Overall Score: A-

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