Friday, May 19, 2006



Sam Shepard: Howard Spence, former big time Western movie star
Eva Marie Saint: his mother
Jessica Lange: Doreen, one of Howard’s fans from years ago
Gabriel Mann: her son Earl, a singer in a local bar
Sarah Polley: Sky, a native of Butte, Montana
Tim Roth: Sutter, private investigator working for an insurance company
Fairuza Balk: Amber

The movie has the potential to be a good one but just doesn’t make it.
For starters, there is the basic story line: someone seeking answers to his past is not an unusual event but to do so in the manner Howard does makes no sense.
The acting is uneven: Earl when he is not singing is over-the-top and totally unbelievable, Doreen and Sky do a fine job but Eva Marie Saint comes across as though she was reading from cue cards! Maybe she was?
In addition, the absence of people out in the streets of Butte is surreal. It makes this charming town look like a stage set not a real place.

for language (couple of f-words) and brief nudity (very brief)

Howard goes down the stairs to the basement in his mother’s house. I think the lights come on a millisecond before we hear the sound of the switch.

Earl’s sofa is too wide to fit through the window.

Howard’s car has a flat tire on the driver’s side. The next shot shows Earl changing the tire on the passenger’s side.

Sam Shepard collaborated in the writing of the script. Once more the combination of screenwriter and actor in a leading role is less than the sum of its parts.

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