Why Haven’t You Seen These Movies? ~ The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio & A Home of Our Own

Today is my first entry in the “Why Haven’t You Seen This Movie?” category.  I come across movies all the time that I’ve been blind to and others haven’t seen either.  So I’m going through my favorites, old and new, and giving you some ideas if you’re Netflix, Library, DVR, or Tivo queue needs a little pick-me-up.

I’d love to know what your favorites are that you think no one has seen/appreciated!

The Facts:

Synopsis: Based on the true story of Evelyn Ryan, an enterprising woman who kept poverty at bay with wit, poetry, and perfect prose during the “contest era” of the 1950s and 1960s.

Stars: Julianne Moore, Woody Harrelson, Laura Dern

Director: Jane Anderson

Rated: PG-13

Running Length: 99 minutes

Review:  One of my “go-to” movies if someone is asking me to recommend a movie they’d enjoy.  This sweetly slight film won’t change your life but it’s an underappreciated gem that’s made quite well and is full of winning performances.  Moore, as usual, fits right in to the 50’s/60’s period almost as if she was actually from that era.  At the time this was made Harrelson was just stepping his toe into more dramatic films so he comes across as a little uncomfortable in the role of a troubled father.  It’s a nice look back at a time when contests were held through the mail instead of online and winning $100 meant your large family could eat steak during the week.


The Facts:

Synopsis: The story is located in Los Angeles in the sixties. An energetic widow  Frances Lacey and her six children try to make a dream of theirs come true: to have a home of their own.

Stars: Kathy Bates, Edward Furlong, SoonTek Oh

Director: Tony Bill

Rated: PG

Running Length: 104 minutes

Review:  Another virtually ignored movie from the early 90’s when both Bates and Furlong were riding popularity waves.  Bates has continued to turn in varied supporting performances over the years but I find her to be her best in central roles like this.  Plot wise, this is a pretty standard “Let’s pick up stakes and find a better life for ourselves” film replete with trials, tears, and tribulations.  It’s the strength of the performances top to bottom that elevates this to a memorable level.  Anytime I catch this on TV I find myself getting wrapped up in it again.  Give it a shot…there’s value here.