Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean
After the critical and commercial failure of Popeye, Robert Altman couldn’t really get the sort of projects he wanted in Hollywood, especially since many of his other films had had good reviews but bad box office. So he spent the whole decade of the ‘80s making films of plays. Some of them were good, and some not so good. He made one truly bad film, O.C. and Stiggs, and most people never saw it. This one is a good one, made from a play he directed himself on Broadway, though I found it fairly predictable. I mean, did I really believe Sandy Dennis had an affair with James Dean when he was in town shooting exteriors for Giant in the tiny town of Marfa, Texas? Not for a second. All the other women of the Jimmy Dean (not the sausage maker) fan club who have gathered for the twentieth anniversary of Dean’s death have secrets, too. It is chiefly memorable for the fine performances, particularly by Cher. This was her first serious film, after two appearances in forgettable stuff from her Sonny and Cher days. Karen Black and a young Kathy Bates round out the cast.