The Stars Fell on Henrietta
The Stars Fell on Henrietta
Sypnosis: Mr. Cox (ROBERT DUVALL) is a wildcat oilman -- a speculator who believes he can detect the site of a productive oil well just by examining the land around it. He's spent decades in the oil business, some better than others, but, although he's helped other oilmen make their fortunes, he's never had a strike of his own.
The year is 1935 and the Great Depression has etched its way across America. Mr. Cox has found himself moving from one Texas boomtown to another, living out of his suitcase, pursuing a relentless, elusive dream. His quest is for an oil strike so huge and so rich that he will find not only wealth, but validation for who he is and what he has always done.
The dream remains just out of reach. Now Mr. Cox has arrived at a crossroads near Henrietta. Texas, virtually destitute, with only his cat Matilda and the memories of his many near-misses to keep him company. He is a man to whom history has not been kind, acknowledged by his peers as an eccentric failure.
Driven by nothing more than complete faith in his instincts, Mr. Cox would be willing to risk everything for one real chance at success.
In contrast, Don and Cora Day (AIDAN QUINN and FRANCES FISHER) and their three little girls have a small cotton farm on the outskirts of Henrietta. Daily life has become an ongoing struggle and they are now facing the possibility of losing their land to the bank.
Into this situation comes a polite and eccentric gentleman whom Don Day has rescued from a blinding dust storm. The man, Mr. Cox, takes one look around the Days' property, sniffs the air, and experiences the kind of revelation that will change the course of his life. He has absolute certainty that there is black gold on their property. All he needs is five thousand dollars to rent a drilling rig, and the Day family's permission to turn their moribund cotton field into an oil field.
The Days are stunned -- both by the thought that they could be sitting on oil and by the outrageous idea that they'd have five thousand dollars to squander on anything, much less a stranger's quirky proposition. They ask their guest to leave immediately. But Mr. Cox, unfazed, departs for the nearby boomtown of Big Stone, determined to raise the cash himself, even if it means taking an extraordinary chance with the wealthy, arrogant and profiteering oil magnate Big Dave (BRIAN DENNEHY), who has nothing but contempt for Mr. Cox.
Meanwhile, Don Day has had the spark of an idea planted in his head. He soon undertakes his own serious risk, gambling the last of the family's meager income on a borrowed dream of oil. He suddenly finds himself willing to risk even the love and approval of his wife in order to take a chance on lifting his family from their hand-to- mouth life.
When Mr. Cox reappears, he discovers the Day family already hard at work on making a dream -- once his, now all of theirs -- into a reality. In the process, they each discover what is truly important to themselves -- and they learn that hope is not an emotion reserved only for the young.
THE POPE OF GREENWICH VILLAGE
Synopsis: Picture if you will two cousins, Charlie (Mickey Rourke) and Paulie (Eric Roberts), prowling the mean streets of New York's Little Italy. Charlie is reasonably put-together, a maitre d' at a chic café who aspires to running his own restaurant someday. Paulie is an incurable flake who can't resist a temptation or a goofball scheme, couldn't tell the truth to save his soul, and keeps splashing Charlie with the street slop of his slewing trajectory through life. This includes drawing him into the circles of Mob crime, most especially Paulie's boss, that supreme sleazebag "Bedbug Eddie" (Burt Young).
Michael Cimino is said to have had a hand in this movie, though the credited director is Stuart Rosenberg--an impersonal craftsman often hired in midshoot after the star and a more volatile director had parted company. This helps account for the picture's overall lack of rhythm and its wavering between overemphatic, Ethnic-with-a-capital-E idiosyncrasy, and low-key befuddlement. Still, it has its charms, most of them deriving from a terrific cast. At the time it came out, in the summer of 1984, Rourke and Roberts were both exciting, unpredictable talents; Roberts in particular had an amazing talent for being somebody brand new--psychologically, even physically--in every film he made. But even though they're hitting on all cylinders, the boys are quietly upstaged by some redoubtable old pros: the great Kenneth McMillan, the ineffable M. Emmet Walsh, and--scoring her umpteenth Oscar® nomination as the mother of an ill-fated cop--Miss Geraldine Page. --Richard T. Jameson