Monday, August 13, 2007

The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio

Things I like about the '50s: commercial jingles were a national pastime, women got to wear fun colorful clothes, cars were huge but still awesome, and a house cost $3000. Things the '50s should be punished for: girdles, women not knowing how to drive, a married couple with kids who call each other "Mother" and "Father". However, the movie I just saw on DVD, The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio, manages to make the '50s seem like a reasonably fun time without glossing over the things that must have made things a nightmare for most women. Julianne Moore plays the mother of 12 children married to a drunk (Woody Harrelson with terrible red hair) who keeps things going in her family by winning tons of little contests - product jingles, poetry contests, and other tiny writing contests. It was a creative outlet for her, and the movie makes it clear that this ability to make some money for her family (or in some cases substantial money) and also her only real mind-bending activity. The movie does it in cute ways showing lots of commercials and jingles she is responsible for. Apparently this was a common practice in the '50s - to get housewives to enter contests to win tiny prizes while the company gets a perfect jingle for their product. It's a good movie, with a new look at a common archetype with a funny background story.

No comments: