Monterey, California in the 1940's. Cannery Row - the section of town where the now closed fish canneries are located - is inhabited primarily by the down and out, although many would not ... See full summary »
Eastern lawyer Sam Houston moves to Texas. At the request of President Jackson, he leads the Texan independence movement and wins the decisive battle against the Mexican army to gain Texas independence.
A woman and two children are kidnapped by Apaches. The husband of the captured woman enlists the help of his neighbor to find the Apaches that seized his family; not knowing his neighbor has unknown reasons of his own for helping him.
It's the mid 1970s. Moving back home with her mother Virginia in Tennessee, Marie Ragghianti was able to leave an abusive marriage to eke out a better life for herself and her three young children - the youngest, Ricky, for who she would have to deal with his major health issues - by waiting tables, all the while being able to complete the degree requirements at Vanderbilt to obtain a B.A. in English and Psychology. She is unapologetic in asking a college acquaintance, Eddie Sisk, for a job, he who has just been appointed legal counsel for just elected Tennessee Governor Ray Blanton. In what he considers a win-win situation, Eddie offers Marie a job as the Extradition Officer for the state, a job offer which she accepts. From there, Marie quickly moves up the chain of command, first to become the liaison to the Governor via Eddie on Parole Board recommendations - the role which is meant to be a two way street, where there is an understood quid pro quo in recommendations from the Board...Written by
Marie Ragghianti (Sissy Spacek), in real-life, and in this film, was the first woman to head the parole board in Tennessee. See more »
The song playing in the nightclub a day or two after her son chokes on the pistachio, is "Honey Honey" by ABBA. That song wasn't recorded until January of 1974, and the screen had previously just read that it was 1973, moments earlier. See more »
Sissy Spacek plays Marie Ragghianti, a single mother of three who escapes her abusive husband in Georgia, moves back to Tennessee and her mother, and gets her degree. After getting her degree, she meets old college friend Eddie Sisk (Jeff Daniels), an appointee of the new Governor, and he gets her a job in the clemency and extradition bureau. She does her job well enough that Gov. Blanton (Don Hood) eventually appoints her to the parole board. On the parole board, however, she learns there may be high-level corruption going on, with paroles and pardons being sold, as well as delays in extraditions. At every turn she's stymied, until the governor fires her. She sues for wrongful dismissal, hiring former Senate Watergate counsel Fred Thompson (playing himself). Also in the cast are Keith Szarabajka as the civil servant trying to win Marie's heart; and Morgan Freeman as a fellow Parole Board officer who not only isn't impossibly virtuous, but is in fact a bit of a bad guy.
The performances are good, especially Spacek's, and the trial scenes are particularly good, as there's little of the histrionics that generally appear in Hollywood courtrooms. In fact, the courtroom itself is pretty cramped and much less majestic-looking than in most movies. The movie is generally based on a true story, although I do wonder how much liberty was taken with that story since Ragghianti has to go through so much that it gets ridiculous by the end. The other problem with the movie is the heavy-handed music score, which makes it very obvious when Something Dramatic Is About to Happen. It was to the point that I started laughing when I heard the change in music.
Still, don't let that put you off the movie. It is a solid film.
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