|THE FEUD (director/writer : Bill D'Elia; screenwriters: Robert Uricola/novel by Thomas Berger; cinematographer: John Beymer; editor: Bill Johnson; music: Brian Eddols; cast: Rene Auberjonois (Reverton), Joe Grifasi (Bud Bullard), Lynne Killmeyer (Eva Bullard), Ron Mclarty (Dolf Beeler), David Strathairn (The Stranger), Gale Mayron (Bernice Beeler), Scott Allegrucci (Tony Beeler), Stanley Tucci (Harvey Yelton), Don Hartman (Ernie), Mert Hatfield (Clive Shell), Rob Vanderberry (Junior), Libby George (Bobby Beeler), Kathleen Doyle (Freida Bullard), Michael Stanton Kennedy (Curly), Rick warner (Ray Dooley); Runtime: 97; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Carole Kivett/Bill D'Elia; Castle Hill; 1989)|
|"Minor lampoon comedy of small
town America during the 1950s."
by Dennis Schwartz
D'Elia (noted for making commercials and the
"Chicago Hope" TV series) adequately helms this minor
lampoon comedy of small town America during the 1950s.
It's based on the novel by Thomas Berger
("Little Big Man"), with the novel set in the 1930s
and the film in the 1950s. It's co-written by D'Elia
and Robert Uricola, who keep it sitcom friendly and
lite. Though limited by no attempt made to flesh-out
its characters, it's nevertheless a somewhat pleasing
black comedy about locals from adjoining small towns
having a petty feud that gets ridiculously out of
hand. It's played as broad slapstick comedy.
worker Dolf Beeler (Ron
Mclarty) is a customer who
refuses to take his unlit cigar out of his mouth
while in the 'No Smoking' Hornbeck hardware store
of Bud Bullard (Joe
Grifasi). Thereby Reverton
Auberjonois), a stern
railroad dick, clad in black like an extremist
preacher, and a cousin
of the store owner, pulls a gun on the now
frightened Millville resident. That petty dispute
triggers a feud between the Beelers of Hornbeck
and the Bullards of Millville, which equates to
the Hatfields and McCoys.
When the hardware store accidentally burns down,
the innocent Dolf is blamed. The gun-toting
Reverton and Bud's sullen son Junior (Rob
Vanderberry), seeking retribution, prowl
around Millville looking for Dolf, and that leads
to all-out warfare, a heart attack, an attempted
suicide, a bar and bank stickup, and a tussle
between a bully Millville chief cop (Mert
Hatfield) and the gutsy Hornbeck teen Tony Beeler
who is defending his mom's (Libby
George) honor from the cop's abusive
talk during a traffic violation stop.
Dolf's 18-year-old football player
son Tony, a high-school senior with a crush on
the 13-year-old high-school freshman Eva
Bullard (Lynne Killmeyer),
the hardware store owner's daughter, are in a Romeo
and Juliet romance after they meet at a high school
dance. The other major subplot has Tony's dimwitted
slutty sister Bernice (Gale Mayron),
out of desperation for sex, elopes with the socially
awkward auto mechanic Ernie (Don Hartman).
Another characters of interest is Stanley Tucci as the smirking and smarmy chief of police in Hornbeck, who is the one-man police force with romantic secrets about his relationship with the Beeler ladies.
REVIEWED ON 5/21/2014 GRADE: B-
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
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