Kelly and Evelyn Ryan live in Defiance, Ohio with their 10 children. At first glance their life seems idyllic; they call each other "Mother" and "Father" and seem to dote on the kids. But Kelly was a garage-band crooner whose voice was ruined in an auto accident. He's resigned to a dead-end factory job that barely pays the bills, and is given to fits of alcohol-induced rage. Evelyn, a stay-at-home wife and mother, deals with this abuse by appealing to her priest, who is no help at all. She deals with their poverty by entering the jingle contests that were the rage in the 50's and early 60's, even sending in multiple entries in the names of the children. She is very clever at it, winning more than her share of prizes, but her successes aren't enough to keep the wolf from the door. Further, they trigger Kelly's insecurities and he retreats deeper into the bottle, using food and mortgage money to support the habit. Can the loving, optimistic Evelyn hold the family together? Is she ...Written by
Robert Zemeckis ultimately decided not to direct, because he couldn't bear the thought of working with so many children. (There were twenty involved in the production.) He stayed on as a Producer. See more »
When Mother throws the Jell-o at Father, it runs down his chest in a narrow "V" shape. But in the later close-up, there is much more Jell-o, covering most of the front of his t-shirt. See more »
I am probably prejudiced since I grew up in Defiance, and even played Little League with "baby" Dave, but this movie was terrific. I did in fact read the book first and I couldn't put that down. I was expecting the movie to not do it justice. The book certainly has more stories to tell than the movie has time for, but some of the best stories are still presented on the big screen for you to enjoy.
This lady was a legend. Her kids were exceptional though I remember them as a bit quiet but with the boys being incredible baseball players. Yes, the mother may initially seem too "polyantic", but after a while you realize she is still human, and simply has a love that was contagious to her kids and will be to the audience as well.
Woody is tremendous as the self loathing, but unintentionally funny father. And Julianne shows her great versatility in her character by evoking both empathy AND admiration for her strength and genuineness.
I am sure this movie will get sent straight to DVD and become unjustly overlooked (I blame the title a little bit for that). But, it's a good family movie, an intelligent movie, and will evoke a lot of feel good emotions which are the hallmarks of any really good movie. Go see it!
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