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Sordid Lives

4.4 out of 5 stars 469 customer reviews

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(Mar 18, 2003)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Get ready for laughs the size of Texas when Olivia Newton-John, Beau Bridges, Bonnie Bedelia and Delta Burke lead an all-star cast in this twisted, white-trash tale "that puts the 'fun' in 'dysfunctional'" (Toronto Sun). The hilariously sordid details about a southern family surface with a vengeance when relatives converge for the funeral of "Grandma Peggy," who died after tripping over her lover's wooden legs! Toss in a couple of feuding, big-haired daughters, a jumpy aunt who just quit smoking, the scorned neighbor from hell, and crazy, cross-dressing "Brother Boy" - and you've got an outrageous "train wreck you can't help but watch!" (Chicago Tribune)

If you've got a taste for big hair, broad Texas accents, and gay rights, this mixture of white-trash comedy and coming-out melodrama is for you. Sordid Lives starts out as chicken-fried farce, as a funeral is prepared for a woman who died when she tripped over her adulterous lover's wooden legs; about midway the emphasis shifts to a drag queen unfairly held in a mental institution and the dead woman's grandson, an actor in Los Angeles who hasn't come out to his mother. The tone shifts wildly, and the humor depends on your fondness for the white-trash genre--if you like it, this will tickle your ribs; if you don't, it'll fall flat as the panhandle landscape. But it must be said that the cast (including Bonnie Bedelia, Beau Bridges, Delta Burke, and Olivia Newton-John) dives right in, no matter how over-the-top their characters get. --Bret Fetzer

Special Features

  • 2 Deleted Songs By Olivia Newton-John
  • Alternate Opening And 9 Deleted Scenes With Commentary
  • Director/Producer/Cast Audio Commentary & Interviews

Product Details

  • Actors: Delta Burke, Bonnie Bedelia, Olivia Newton-John, Kirk Geiger, Sarah Hunley
  • Directors: Del Shores
  • Writers: Del Shores
  • Producers: George Conda, J. Todd Harris, James Echerd, Jourdan Krauss, Linda Swartz
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Dubbed: French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: March 18, 2003
  • Run Time: 111 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (469 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00003CY27
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #22,926 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Sordid Lives" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Virginia T. Couillard on December 8, 2002
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I saw this film at a fund-raising event in East Stroudsburg, PA today (12/8/02)to benefit the Lehigh Valley F.A.C.T. (Fighting Aids Continuously Together) and I can't recall a more enjoyable movie. I have a good friend who is very active in the organization and, when I read about the performance, thought it sounded like something I might find interesting. Well ... that was certainly the case.Excellent cast and the actor portraying the young gay male is yummy (and, I couldn't care less if he's straight or not ... he's talented!). The audience was truly diverse and everyone there seemed to find it vastly amusing and -- in some scenes -- extremely touching. Talented cast and great music. I'm ordering the DVD because: 1) I missed some of the lines due to the audience's (and my) raucous laughter and 2) I want to share it w/ family and friends and revel in their enjoyment.
I LOVED this movie! (For the record, I am 70 years old and a grandmother, happily married and lucky to be who I am!)
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Format: DVD
As SORDID LIVES opens, Sissy (Beth Grant) is awaiting the funeral of her sister Peggy, who recently died in a cheap motel room after tripping over the detached wooden legs of her adulterous lover, G.W. (Beau Bridges), and smashing her head against the bathroom porcelain. As if Sissy doesn't have problems enough in the wake of five failed marriages, she's struggling to quit smoking, popping Valium like candy, and having to cope with the dysfunctions of assorted family members. Niece Latrelle (Bonnie Bedelia), whose husband is off with Jimmy Carter building homes for the poor, is in denial over the homosexuality of son Ty (Kirk Geiger), an aspiring actor out in L.A., and contesting the decision of her sister LaVonda (Ann Walker) to clothe Mom in her favorite mink stole for the burial in 110-degree Texas heat. Meanwhile, Peggy's son Earl (Leslie Jordan), a homosexual transvestite, has been confined to a mental institution for the past twenty years. Out in SoCal, Ty is suffering a sexual identity crisis, and is on his twenty-seventh therapist.
SORDID LIVES, a politically correct film espousing gay rights in a heavy Texas accent, won't appeal to everyone, but several of the performances are surprisingly excellent. Jordan is positively superb as Earl, who spends his life dressed up as CW singer Tammy Wynette, and has a permanent gig entertaining his fellow inmates in the asylum.
Also exceptional is Rosemary Alexander as the sexually frustrated Dr. Eve Bolinger, the institution psychologist assigned to Earl's case. Eve's career, as well as a lucrative book deal and an appearance on Oprah, are all dependent on her ability to successfully de-homosexualize her charge. Therapy has not progressed well after sixty-eight sessions, and Eve is prepared to take Earl's problem in hand, so to speak.
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Format: DVD
I first saw Sordid Lives at the Philadelphia Gay and Lesbian Film Festival back in the Summer of 2001 and it was the audience hit of the festival. My friends and I thought sure it would be released in the art house theaters..and we waited...and waited...and were quite surprised that it seemed to just disappear (although I did hear it was quite a hit in Palm Springs, CA and a few other theaters around the country ).
So I patiently waited for it to come out on DVD and I am happy to say that it is just as funny as I remember. It has many, many laugh-out-loud moments and the entire cast is great. However, Leslie Jordan as Brother Boy and Beth Grant as Sissy are standouts and you will be quoting their lines all the time...they are just that good! And the DVD comes with lots of extras for the truly obsessed Sordid Lives fan!
I know that My Big Fat Greek Wedding was a movie that became a hit by word of mouth. I think it is time that Sordid Lives became a DVD hit too! So spread the word...
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Format: DVD
This DVD came highly recommended by several friends. I was sure not disappointed. I've watched it a half-dozen times now and loved it every time.
The actors are fabulous, especially Leslie Jordan as 'Brother Boy' Earl. Far from playing the role in typical drag queen camp, Jordan brings depth and even poignancy to his (hilarious) character, who copes with his hellish looney bin existence by living out vicariously the life of Tammy Wynette. Beth Grant is also sensational in her protracted nicotine fit.
I've seen enough of mega-studio Hollywood not to mind the fresh, offbeat, low-budget feel of this film. The big-name talent certainly delivers, including, as musical backdrop, Olivia Newton-John's awesome guitar numbers (impressively sung live on camera--wow what a talent, she's still got it).
Apart from uproarious laughs, the film offers a meaningful theme of the dysfunctionality that non-acceptance from DENIAL can inject into family relationships. Be sure to add 'Sordid Lives' to your DVD collection, because it's becoming a cult classic of white trash humor--and memorable lines from the film are starting to go around. I'd tell you more about this movie, but you'll have to, in the words of Brother Boy...."excuse me...I got a show to do!"
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
"Watching writer and director Del Shores's Bible Belt parody, Sordid Lives, is like driving through the boondocks, finding only honky tonk radio and listening to one of those raunchy tunes; it's weird, it's funny and you find yourself humming along." Scott Holleran

We know we can't choose our relatives and aren't we glad someone else has this group? White Trailer Trash may not be apropos for this collection of oddities because these people are so damn funny. Don't think their intention is to be funny, but they are all just a little bit left of center. They are living their lifestyles or not, but they are doing this in their own way.

The beginning of the movie starts at a slow pace but soon builds to a crescendo that will have you laughing til your sides hurt. Sissy Hickey is on the phone discussing the demise of her sister. A rather unfortunate incident of tripping over the wooden legs of her married lover in a third rate motel. Now, the two daughters, Latrelle played by Bonnie Bedelia, and Noletta played by Delta Burke, are arguing over whether mom should be buried in her fur wrap in the middle of summer. This done over a table full of southern fried food sent in by neighbors. The talk turns to Noletta's husband, the lover with the wooden legs, mom's son-in-law. And then turns to Boy Brother, their younger bro, who dresses in women's clothing and has spent the past 20 years in the insane asylum. Latrelle's son is in Hollywood and acting in gay plays. The curious incident of the wooden legs has made the family a laughing stock and how to deal with this?

In the meantime Boy Brother and his psychiatrist, Dr Eve Bolinger, are undergoing his therapy. Dr Bolinger is going to cure Boy Brother of his homosexuality and make her so famous she will appear on Oprah.
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