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When down-on-her-luck country girl Shirlee Kenyon (Dolly Parton, 9 to 5) walks through the wrong door at the right time, she accidentally becomes Chicago's newest talk radio celebrity and turns the Windy City's hottest radio station upside down. With her homespun wit and down-home advice, Shirlee immediately wins listeners' hearts but causes hilarious confusion for her ratings-conscious boss (Griffin Dunne, After Hours) and comical havoc for the investigative reporter (James Woods, The Onion Field) trying to uncover her mysterious past. Michael Madsen (Reservoir Dogs), Teri Hatcher (TV's Desperate Housewives), Jerry Orbach (TV's Law & Order), Philip Bosco (Angie) and Jeff Garlin (TV's Curb Your Enthusiasm) co-star in the romantic comedy that will warm your heart.
-Audio Commentary by Director Barnet Kellman
-Original Theatrical Trailer
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Having seen a few tepid female 80s comedies, all of which were entertaining to a degree, I found myself having no expectations for this film, and figured on more sugar coated "criminal situation turned on its head for feel good resonance" kind of film meant to deliver a few laughs. And, to be fair, that is sort of what this movie is, but it doesn't make any bones about being anything other than a woman trying to find her niche in the world with some of the same problems that she addresses with her own brand of hometown psycho-analysis.
Unlike those other 80's comedies I actually found myself laughing at a few parts. Timing is everything, and this film has a few good key moments, as well as some feel good moments.
A very professionally done film that they just don't make anymore, and I wish they would. The visuals really help sell comedies like this that don't have many laughs but still a fair amount of good moments that make it worth watching. There's a real film maker's craftsmanship that happened between the 70s and 80s that seems to have been lost--from writing to shooting to editing. It makes one wonder why that is.
Take a chance on it. I think you'll enjoy it.
Dolly Parton [`9 to 5' and `Steel Magnolias'] and James Wood [`The Hard Way'] star in this light-hearted romantic comedy, about a country girl who accidentally becomes Chicago's talk radio celebrity! With her homespun wit and down-home advice, Shirley Kenyon [Dolly Parton] wins listener's hearts . . . and the heart of investigative reporter Jack Russell [James Wood]. But when Jack discovers the hidden secret of her success, it jeopardises both her newfound celebrity status and their future together. Filled with romance, charm and heart-warming humour and of course `Straight Talking' is totally pure entertainment!
FILM FACT: Dolly Parton composed ten original songs for the film soundtrack, including a re-recording of her 1976 "Light of a Clear Blue Morning."
Cast: Dolly Parton, James Woods, Griffin Dunne, Michael Madsen, Deirdre O'Connell, John Sayles, Teri Hatcher, Spalding Gray, Jerry Orbach, Amy Morton, Philip Bosco, Charles Fleischer, Keith MacKechnie, Jay Thomas, Paula Newsome, Tracy Letts, John Gegenhuber, Ralph Foody, Robin Eurich, Jeff Garlin, Paul Dinello, Barnet Kellman, Robert Kurcz, Ray Toler, Michael Oppenheimer, Michael Jeffrey Woods, Alan Wilder and Roger Christiansen
Director: Barnet Kellman
Producers: Carol Baum, Fred Berner, Robert Chartoff and Howard Rosenman (executive producer)
Screenplay: Craig Bolotin and Patricia Resnick
Composers: Brad Fiedel and Dolly Parton
Cinematography: Peter Sova
Video Resolution: 1080p
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Audio: English: 2.0 DTS-HD Dolby Digital
Running Time: 91 minutes
Region: Region A/1
Number of discs: 1
Studio: Mill Creek Entertainment
Andrew's Blu-ray Review: Coming off a successful string of hits including [`9 to 5' and `Steel Magnolias’] Dolly Parton took a chance with `Straight Talk,' as she hadn't carried a film which was designed to be more of a mainstream romance. Luckily she once again found herself gifted with talented co-stars who helped share the burden. Dolly Parton was fortunate enough to work with the always engaging James Woods and Griffin Dunne.
`Straight Talk' is definitely a product of its time. In today's culture of oversaturation, one area that's definitely not exempt is talk shows. People are famous simply for being famous and everyone blogs ad nauseam about their days. Thus a film that combines talk shows and mistaken identities simply wouldn't fly. Not only that but we love nothing more than to see our heroes fall off their pedestals. Any movie made today which even attempted to tackle similar subject matter would need to include the main character being humiliated. And what really dates the film is the key plot point: Dolly Parton being mistaken for a doctor, which our society long ago gave up demanding as criteria for talk show hosts.
The fact that `Straight Talk' is so obviously a 1990s film is one of the reasons I enjoyed it so much. It has a definite re-watchable factor that ties directly to when it was made. For all that the movie rests on a case of mistaken identity, it's still an amazingly straightforward story, one with lessons which bear repeating and continue to surface in other films. While a film like `Runaway Bride' which offers up the same morals, meaning be true to yourself, sometimes a fresh start is the best ending there is, and love will find a way which may have made a lot more money, I love watching `Straight Talk' due entirely to its performances.
Dolly Parton carries this film, eminently believable as a small town woman who likes to forget her own problems by listening to others. She is evenly matched with James Woods, who offers a performance the tone of which I've never seen him, duplicate. Outside of Hades in Disney's Hercules, this may be my favourite of his roles. Through facial expressions alone, he's able to portray the genuine struggle his character goes through when he finds himself falling for the subject of his investigation. However, even the bit parts are cast well; from a cameo by Teri Hatcher [‘Desperate Housewives’] to a small supporting role by Jerry Orbach [‘Law and Order’]. No one chews scenery or acts above what their character calls for. Thus the script is allowed the best chance to duplicate the screenwriter's original vision.
And while some may complain that ‘Straight Talk’ is merely a vehicle for Dolly Parton's songs and 10 of which appear in the film and on the soundtrack and I didn't find their placement too be jarring or that this was a step away from a musical. Let's face it; Dolly Parton is always going to be known as a singer, who we love to bits, and the fact that she wrote the songs specifically for the film, helps make their additions more cohesive. Plus, they blended so well with Brad Fiedel's film score.
Blu-ray Video Quality – `Straight Talk' comes to Blu-ray with a very nice 1080p encoded video presentation. This is another brilliant licensed release from Mill Creek Entertainment, especially as the film looks quite good in high-definition. The clarity and improvement is obvious, there is definitely no confusing it for standard-definition. Even weaker looking moments still feature a notable level in improvement. Colours are pleasing and black levels remain solid throughout. Detail isn't always the sharpest, but it is definitely easy to appreciate in the majority of the scenes. The film isn't visually stunning, but it certainly doesn't look bad either. Overall I think this is a respectable transfer that will at least please fans of the film. I've never seen the film look better, so I don't know how much better it could look than this. Overall I think Mill Creek Entertainment a very fine good job with the transfer, with no serious issues to report.
Blu-ray Audio Quality – A 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio track is included, but the printed information on the back cover lists the release with a 2.0 Dolby Digital audio, but rest assured that it was simply a mistake. Like with other titles in the Mill Creek Entertainment catalogue, no subtitle options are included. While 2.0 audio isn't exactly something to get excited about, I am very appreciative that Mill Creek Entertainment managed to include a high-definition audio track. The film relies very little on surround sound effects, so I wasn't too upset when a 5.1 mix was not included, but it would have been nice if they had included it. Dialogue is of highest priority in the film and sounds quite clear throughout. The film's music also has some nice clarity throughout. Audio effects from the film manage to satisfy, though nothing special. Overall this is a very solid mix, which I don't think could sound much better.
Blu-ray Special Features and Extras: Sadly there is no extras have been included, which is a great shame, as I am sure there was some behind-the-scene outtakes available or even interviews with some of the cast.
Finally, `Straight Talk' earns a solid Blu-ray release from Mill Creek Entertainment. The video and audio presentations are certainly satisfying, and at times impressive. Overall this Blu-ray release is well "worth a look" to any fan of this film and of course the brilliant Dolly Parton. The pricing on the release is totally fantastic value. While studios won't be remaking `Straight Talk' anytime soon, this feel-good film doesn't rely on anything flashy, but it rides on the talents of its cast and at a bargain basement price, you would grin a lot from this wonderful film and it has gone pride of place in my Blu-ray Collection. Highly Recommended!
Andrew C. Miller – Your Ultimate No.1 Film Fan
Le Cinema Paradiso
WARE, United Kingdom
While on the quest for secretarial position at a radio station, she is mistaken for an on air radio shrink. Before she can correct them, she is forced on air and taking calls. However, her life experience and compassion for others compels her to answer the questions, ultimately assuming the life of "Dr. Shirley."
However, along the way, James Woods meets her and sets out to get the true story on Shirley, knowing that she isn't who she says she is.
A "cute" story of love and mistaken identity, Straight Talk is entertaining and a fun story to watch once.