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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.
Happy Watching!
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on March 17, 2014
Complicated movie w/quirky characters. There's brothers/sisters/old & new romances/the magic of uncrushable spirit/cruelty/kindness & atrociously red hair. Each character will surprise you & how their actions affect each other's world. You grow to love both the deeply wounded & the innocent. Ending w/an "all's well that ends well" attitude - leaves you thinking about this film afterwards & watching it again & again & again...
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on September 18, 2017
Depressing, but in the end, uplifting drama. Really luv the dovetailing! This author also wrote "Crimes of the Heart" which is also set in the South and has the same depressing, then uplifting feel. I really like the casting as well. We watch it every Fourth of July.
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on February 24, 2015
A good movie with a good message for your kids about the important things in life . One of Holly Hunters best performances . She is a young girl trying to follow in her older sisters footsteps . She looks up to her older sister and wants to win the "miss firecracker" contest and be like her. Sometimes what you see isn't what you get.
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on August 11, 2015
Personally, I enjoyed this movie about an off-beat woman who decides compete in the Miss Firecracker contest.
She wants to go from being Miss Hot Tamale to Miss Firecracker. Who could blame her?
It's the story of a real underdog told with a mix of pathos and humor.
All of the acting with superb!
It leaves you with a sense of inspiration to stand up and triumph!
Plus, I got the movie arrived in good time and shape!
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on February 5, 2018
One of the most underrrated and heart-warming comedies ever produced. You'll love it. I guarantee it.
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on July 29, 2008
This is one of those films that I view every now and then when I need a good laugh. Holly Hunter is superb as Carnelle Scott, the wannabe beauty queen. Although we laugh at the characters, Beth Henley's writing is never mean spirited to the characters. It is a virtuoso ensemble cast. There are some real gems in here, the scene where "Popeye" (Alfre Woodward) explains how her eyes started popping out, and Delmont and his former Miss Firecracker sister (Tim Robbins and Mary Steenburgen) tango through the house. The Miss Firecracker talent contest is brilliant...........this film deserves attention.
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on August 14, 2004
I love this movie. I don't know why I even ever watched the movie on the first place, I guess just 'cause my mom bought it at a yard sale a few years ago and we had it to watch. Well, it's become one of my favorite movies of all time. The only bad thing is that it's hard for me to see Holly Hunter as anything else but Carnell Scott or Alfre Woodard as anything but Popeye in any other roles. If you like it, the DVD is a must have. I wish it had more features like commentaries by the director/cast. But it's better than nothing.
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on March 30, 2016
Just a gem of a movie. Great casting. Marvelous script. Just what you want to watch on a summer evening.
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on May 28, 2017
good old movie!
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