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"There's Always Eternal Grace"-Henley's Play Brought To Life
on July 8, 2004
Contemporary playwright, Beth Henley's ("Crimes Of The Heart") "The Miss Firecracker Contest" is brought to life and to the big screen.
The film features an incredible Holly Hunter as the tramp of the town turned wanna-be good girl beauty queen Carnelle Scott. Carnelle was an abandoned little girl who was dropped off at her aunt's house in Yazoo City not more than a year old with ringworm, diaper rash and a bag of dirty rags.
Deeply intense, Tim Robbins as cousin Delmount Williams (recently out of a mental ward) and the beautiful Mary Steenburgen as Elain Rutledge (a forever young beauty queen) grew up with young Carnelle in their household and under their mother's care and Carnelle is more like a sister to them than a cousin.
After Carnelle works on her talent routine for FIVE years and then dyes her hair a bright red, she gets up enough gumption to enter the Yazoo City Miss Firecracker Contest!
Enter Alfre Woodard as Popeye, the local seamstress that learned her trade at the tender age of four - sewing costumes and clothes for the Yazoo City's neighborhood bullfrogs! Carnelle hires Popeye to help her with her costumes for the beauty pageant. All Popeye wants to do is move to Elysian Fields (a funny and touching scene inthe movie) to forget about her troubles and eat ambrosia all the live long day.
A week before the pageant, the carnival shows up in town with all it's pretty lights and fun rides. Scott Glenn as the carnie, Mac Sam has a romantic history with Carnelle and is certainly dying of lung and kidney failure when he shows up in Yazoo City in the year 1988. This year will be his last for a Firecracker Celebration.
It seems Carnelle has a reputation around town and that she slept with any guy that crossed her path just so they would tell her that she was beautiful back in her younger years. EVEN a YOUNG Mr. Richard Fish from Ally McBeal (Greg Germann) makes an appearance as one of Carnelle's old lovers and is a total hick of a peanut throwin', hootin' and hollarin' idiot, by the name of Ronnie Wayne. Ann Wedgewood as emcee, Miss Blue and Amy Wright (Rose Leary from The Accidental Tourist) as hunch-backed beauty contestant Missy Mahoney also have small but great parts!
If only Carnelle wins the Miss Firecracker Contest, she will finally feel the acceptance and satisfaction she has longed for all her life. Is it Carnelle's chance to shine? What happens between Popeye and Delmount? Does Elain leave her husband?
Turn on, tune in and watch to see what happens!
This movie isn't a chick flick by any means. It's really a TRAGECOMEDY with happy, funny, sad, and downright depressing moments that make you think...Hmmmmmm.