Year 8, Day 242 - 8/29/16 - Movie #2,437
Ryan O'Neal carries over from "Barry Lyndon", and I'm well on my way to posting "Captain America: Civil War" at the end of this week. It could be a tough slog getting there, though. But if I can just stay the course for another 2 weeks and get to movie #2,450, I'll feel like I'm over the hump, and I can take a lot of breaks after that, and pretty much coast to the end of the year. The final 50 films in 109 days? No sweat. I can take breaks for New York Comic-Con, Thanksgiving, Christmas shopping... Yep, it may still be August, but I'm already planning for the holidays.
THE PLOT: During the Great Depression, a con man finds himself saddled with a
young girl who may or may not be his daughter, and the two forge an
AFTER: Boy, this chain would have been great, if only I had scheduled it around Father's Day. My bad. "King Lear" was all about a man and his three daughters, and then "Barry Lyndon" focused on a faux nobleman and his impudent step-son, and now tonight we've got a con-man and his (perhaps) daughter traveling around the Midwest. Three nights of fathers quarreling with children, in other words.
But even with the fights (and the kid tonight probably wins more than she loses) this film is mostly endearing - there's something inherently endearing about films made during the Great Depression, I don't know why that is. Is it just nostalgia for a simpler time, or does the hardship of the times just make our lives today seem so much better? Maybe it's the fact that you could get a hot dog and a soda for under a nickel, or a new set of tires for your car for about 6 bucks. (I looked up the general causes for inflation over the decades, and there's a lot of economic mumbo-jumbo, but pure human greed never seems to be listed as one of the factors.)
The father/father-figure and his daughter/surrogate daughter aren't together long before she starts helping with his cons - there's the one where they sell monogrammed Bibles to recent widows, and then there's tricks to get too much change back from a store. I'll admit, I had to watch the sequence a few times, because the exchange of money is a bit complicated, but I eventually figured it out.
I just wish more movies could be like this, namely relatively short, mostly enjoyable, endearing and entertaining. Because it turns out you can set a film during the Great Depression without the story being so, you know, depressing.
Also starring Tatum O'Neal (last seen in "This Is 40"), Madeline Kahn (last seen in "Betsy's Wedding"), John Hillerman (last seen in "A Very Brady Sequel"), P.J. Johnson, Noble Willingham (last seen in "The Last Boy Scout"), Burton Gilliam (last seen in "Thunderbolt and Lightfoot"), Randy Quaid (last seen in "The Paper").
RATING: 6 out of 10 hair ribbons