Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Marxist Movies Reviews 10: Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean (1982)

Marxist Movie Reviews attempts to look at modern and classic films from the perspective of what they say about society and social conflict.

The Plot: A group of friends from a small Texas town reunite to mark the anniversary of their James Dean fan club, where they experience revelations and long-hidden secrets about each other

The Best Part(s): Strong performances by the cast, including Cher, Karen Black, and Kathy Bates

One of my favorite recent quotes from a movie or TV show is from The Sopranos, when Tony advises one of his associates that “‘Remember when’ is the lowest form of conversation.” That bit of advice speaks to the toxicity of nostalgia, even as it dominates American thought in pretty much every area of life. Political ideologies and million-dollar ad campaigns are built on the longing people have for some mythical past when everything was better.

This 1982 film, directed by Robert Altman and based on a stage play of the same name, shows how damaging and damning it can be to stay stuck in the past. The entire film is shot in one location, the interior of a decaying five-and-dime in a Texas town that’s been passed by in every sense possible. The woman who runs the place and the people who come back to it are all living in the past in some way, except for one of the group who undergoes a substantial transformation that triggers much of the conflict.

The major theme I got from watching this story is that moving on is hard to do sometimes and scary most of the time, but the only thing worse is standing still. While the mise-en-scène is a little too static, the story and cast performances make this a very watchable movie.

My Rating: 7/10 (“Really Liked It”)

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