User Rating: Excellent
Pros:Incredible ensemble cast!, Witty dialogue, More Campy than "Pricilla"
Cons:Not a big budget film so most won't get the chance to see it.
The Bottom Line: This is the first ensemble movie where every character gets equal screen time. It is sharply written and very funny. Be warned, It contains full frontal Male Nudity, Finally!
Plot Details: This opinion reveals major details about the movie's plot.
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It started when I was on my maiden voyage to San Francisco. It was my last morning there and I finally worked up the nerve to visit Castro Street. I passed a little theater on Castro and noticed that there was a play called "Sordid Lives" on the marquee. I read the synopsis they posted on the box office and regretted that I had missed a chance to see this play.
A few years later a friend asks me if I want tickets to the Palm Beach International Film Festival in Boca Raton. I asked her what movie would be featured and she said "Sordid Lives" Could it be? In researching the film I found out that this was indeed the play I so narrowly missed in SanFrancisco. It was directed by Del Shores who wrote and directed the play. For the Movie he had assembled Delta Burke, Olivia Newton-John, Beau Bridges, Bonnie Bedalia, and Leslie Jordan. At the show I was delighted to sit behind Delta Burke and the films director Del Shores.
I have to tell you that this film is one of my all time favorites. It is set in a small town in Texas. It revolves around the accidental death of matriarch Peggy Ingram. She has just died by hitting her head on the bathroom sink. After having a fling with her married lover(Bridges)in a motel 6, she got up to go to the bathroom and tripped over his wooden legs.
Peggy's sister, Sissy(Beth Grant)plans the services while keeping the "mourner's food table" well stocked for all of the people affected by Peggy's death. She never would have quit smoking if she knew her sister was gonna die.
Peggy is survived by her son two daughters,Lavonda and Latrell(Bonnie Bedalia), Latrell's son who she has trouble admitting is gay. Noleta (Delta Burke) GW's(Bridges) scorned wife out for revenge and LaVonda's best friend.
The funniest turn in the picture comes from Peggy's third child referred to as Brother Boy(Leslie Jordan). Momma locked him away in an institution 23 years ago to "de-homosexualize" him. Dr. Eve, his tharapist, wants to "cure" him any way she can so she can geyt on Oprah. Brother Boy wants to help but he cant stop dressing like Tammy Wynette and when asked to fantasize about a woman he gets nautious.
Olivia Newton-John plays a trashy Lesbian songstress with an odd connection to the deceased. She sings in a bar owned by Odell, former boyfriend of LaVonda. Odell is the reason that Brother Boy is locked away. Barfly Juanita hangs out at tha bar with G.W., and Odell and is able to put on her lipstick without ever taking her cigarette out of her mouth.
All of this is only the set up for the mayhem that leads up to and during the funeral. Throw in a thick Texas accent, a catchy country diddy from Olivia, and you have a witty, funny movie that actually gives equal screen time to everyone in the ensemble cast.
Afterwards Del Shores and Miss Burke answered questions where he revealed that the entire film was shot on video and a shoestring budget. Someone asked when the film would be coming out to the public so he could see it again (ok, that was me). He said he wasn't sure. It was hard to get a studio behind the film and to get a national release.
Well a year and half later I got my wish. Sordid Lives hit a small art house here in Fort Lauderdale. I've already been 3 times. I am afraid that most people will not get to see this movie. The theater playing it here is the only one in three counties that is. My new hope is that it will end up on a DVD somewhere so it can be a treasured part of my collection.
Do yourself a favor, if "Sordid Lives" comes to your town, run down to the cineplex, grab some popcorn, and laugh your butt off! You may never get another chance.
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Suitability For Children: Not suitable for Children of any age