Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Daddy & Them

I'm a big fan of Billy Bob Thornton. He's a Southern boy and knows his people well: their slang, mannerisms, love/hate relationships within the families, their idiosyncrasies.
I was thrilled when I came across a Billy Bob movie I had never heard of. Released in 2001, he wrote, directed and starred in the film, which was shown in a handful of southern test markets and immediately went to video. Although it didn't get great reviews, I really enjoyed it.
Daddy & Them is a dark comedy about the trials and tribulations of an eccentric Arkansas family. A blond Billy Bob plays Claude, a poor-white-trash sort of fellow, and Laura Dern plays his wife Ruby. Due to Claude's long-ago relationship with her sister, Ruby is insecure, so she is constantly spouting lies about a "muscled-up" lover she once had. Claude is obsessed about the former lover, feels inadequate, and seeks reassurance of her love at every turn.
In the middle of all this, news comes that Claude's Uncle Hazel (Jim Varney) has been accused of murder and is in jail, awaiting trial. Claude and Ruby head for the Alabama town where they grew up, and all hell breaks loose.

Claude's father, O. T., is played by Andy Griffith. Sandra Seacat plays his mother, and Ruby's mother and sister are played by Diane Ladd and Kelly Preston. Jamie Lee Curtis and Ben Affleck play bickering married attorneys handling Uncle Hazel's case, and Jeff Bailey and John Prine play Claude's brothers.
John Prine was an added bonus for me; I love the man and his music. Unlike some singers, who should stick to music and stay away from acting (Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson, for example), he is very good as Claude's "Zen hillbilly" brother.
As the credits were rolling, he and Iris Dement sang a catchy little song he wrote for the movie. Bill and I laughed all the way through In Spite of Ourselves.

1 comment:

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

Billy Bob is a good actore and doesn't get the recognition he deserves. Lots of stars in this movie yet I never heard of it. I'll ahve to look for it on NetFlicks..thanks!

All words and pictures © 2008 Brenda G. Wooley