6.0/10
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10 user 1 critic

Curse of the Starving Class (1994)

Sam Shepard's coming of age drama about a dirt-poor 1950's-era farm family. Dad's a foul talking drunk, and Mom is desperately trying to save what's left of their family life.

Director:

J. Michael McClary

Writers:

Bruce Beresford (screenplay), Sam Shepard (from the stage play by)
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1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
James Woods ... Weston Tate
Kathy Bates ... Ella Tate
Randy Quaid ... Taylor
Henry Thomas ... Wesley Tate
Kristin Fiorella Kristin Fiorella ... Emma Tate
Louis Gossett Jr. ... Ellis
Jim Fitzpatrick ... Emerson (as James Fitzpatrick)
Joel Anderson Joel Anderson ... Slater
Lauren Abels Lauren Abels ... Taylor's Assistant
John Cannon Nichols John Cannon Nichols ... Des
Jerry Biggs Jerry Biggs ... Policeman
David McDavid David McDavid ... Will
Gary Carter Gary Carter ... Weston's Buddy #1
Peyton E. Park Peyton E. Park ... Weston's Buddy #2 (as Peyton Park)
Del Roy Del Roy ... Ellis' Buddy
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Storyline

This cinema version of the Sam Shepard play is set well after the mid-century. James Woods as the alcoholic farmer drives a huge beater with a rusted roof which is emblematic of the general disrepair of his farm. A lovingly tended lamb with maggots is the reverse emblem of something helpless, needy and cared for. The refrigerator is spoken to as a character, as if standing in for absent nurturing from Woods' self-centered wife. The couple have two kids who must come of age as their home is being torn apart around them and the parents pursue fantasies of "better things" offered by crook Randy Quaid. Henry Thomas as the son copes by holding on to the land and creating a poetic commentary, and the responses of his sister to the crisis become a powerful and surprising tribute to womanhood. Written by <abbyskl@earthling.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language, and for a scene of nudity | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

5 May 1995 (South Korea) See more »

Also Known As:

Al otro lado del paraíso See more »

Filming Locations:

Dallas, Texas, USA

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Box Office

Budget:

$12,577,385 (estimated)

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$23,988,427
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Ultra Stereo

Color:

Color
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?


Quotes

Ella Tate: You know what this is? It's a curse. I can feel it. Goes back in back to little cells and genes. It's tiny little swimming things just making up their minds without us. Plotting in the womb. Before that even, in the air... we pass it on. We inherit it. And pass it down. Just goes on and on like that. Without us.
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Connections

References Talking Heads: Once in a Lifetime (1981) See more »

Soundtracks

Nocturnal Lounge
Written by Jesse Dayton Warren
Performed by The Roadkings
Courtesy of Bullet Records
Published by Justice Artists Music Corp. and administered by Music
Corp. of America, Inc./BMI
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User Reviews

 
Talk about a Character study film!
10 January 2018 | by marstdrSee all my reviews

I love Sam Shepard's writing no matter what the topic. He is one of the finest writers in American History, because he was so brutally honest with his depictions of real people. Sometimes, writers will avoid the hardest part of the story to tell, so they rewrite facts that soften the emotional blow to their own psycne's. Not Sam Shepard, Sam changed the reality of story telling with his 'Life-To-Page,' inflections that make most people cringe with digust. But, we've discovered as an audience, that the truth always rises to the top. Sam has just fastened the pace of revealing the truth without having to investigate the story. You were and are still the greatest ins[piration to us in the industry, Sam! Thank you for your brutal haunting honesty, with your expose styled writing.

P.S. LOVED all the supporting characters as well. They were real people as well, that Sam kept stowed deep in his memory.


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