If you know me, you probably know that I don’t exactly exhibit small town values. I grew up in the suburbs, went to a state college and have worked in major cities such as Dallas & Houston. However, for the last ten years, I have lived somewhere in Brazoria County (small town haven) and I currently reside in West Columbia, Tx which has a population of around 4,000 people. Would Good Intentions be an accurate portrayal of small town southern life or more stereotypical mayhem?
Etta Milford (played by Elaine Hendrix) lives in the small town of Myra, Georgia. She has two young boys and a husband named Chester (played by Luke Perry). Chester runs one of the local convenience stores while Etta stays at home and tends to the children. Money is very tight for the family, so naturally one would think that they would be a little more careful with their income.
However, Chester has a habit for inventions and get rich quick schemes. In fact, he just put several hundred dollars down for some fireworks and he’s working on a baseball novelty contraption that will break nuts. But he’s not getting anywhere, especially after one of the kids accidentally sets fire to the fireworks and the manufacturer isn’t willing to go forth with the novelty item until he sees money up front.
Etta is so desperate for money that she begins to brainstorm various ways to amass a little money. She gets the idea from an antique roadshow television program that if she got some furniture it could appreciate in value over time. The problem is she doesn’t have any money. Etta then decides to go under the guise of a mask and rob her own husband’s convenience store. She then uses that money to buy a piece of furniture from Zachary (played by Gary Grubbs) who runs the local antique shop.
Chester doesn’t have much help to go find the perpetrator who stole from his store. The local police who are run by Sheriff Ernie (played by Jon Gries) have no leads. Chester tries a few ideas including purchasing a gun (the gun shop owner Bo, played by Jim Cody Williams won’t sell him one), a guard dog (which ends up scaring away customers) & installing bullet proof glass (which is missing a hole). Nothing seems to work.
Meanwhile, Etta still needs money to buy more pieces of furniture for investment. She also has to keep an eye on her sister, Pam (played by LeAnn Rimes) and her potential husband to be, Kyle (played by Jimmi Simpson). Does Etta have the wits to keep Chester & the police guessing without her getting caught? She does have good intentions even if they are short sighted.
There is a reason why small southern towns get a bad name. It is because that almost every movie about small town life in a southern town is a walking stereotype. No money, check, hick wife in short shorts talking sassy, check, clueless police, check. I think we got all of the major ones. Thankfully, there are some really good performances; primarily by the likes of Elaine Hendrix and Gary Grubbs (who deserves a mention somewhere on the box).
The problem is the good performances don’t outweigh the overwhelming mediocre ones. It just seems like there were certain stories that they wanted to work on but never got around to finishing or fledging out. The eighty five minutes seems to seriously handicap character development if your name isn’t Etta or Chester. The ending also has holes especially if know anything about the way things like sales & margin work.
The video is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. The color is good and the little town of Rutledge, Georgia makes anybody in the South who has seen a small town feel right at home. I do like the attention to detail and subtle uses of certain visual cues. The only I have problem is that some of the dark scenes don’t work for me as much but overall it has a satisfactory feel.
The audio is presented in English 5.1 Dolby Digital with an optional 2.0 Stereo Mix. Dialog is clear and there are no problems with any of the southern accents. Impressively there are some surround effects, particularly in the case of the exploding fireworks and a car crash. It’s not going to be amazing, but it is a nice pleasant sound mix. Subtitles are provided in Spanish.
- Automatic Trailers: Order of Chaos, Wheelmen, Valentino: The Last Emperor, The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, & JCVD
- Filmmakers’ Commentary: This commentary includes director: Jim Issa along with Pamela Peacock & Richard Sampson as producers. A lot of fawning over of LeAnn Rimes and Luke Perry. I understand Luke, but Rimes is quickly forgotten in a small supporting role. There is a lot of information about the shooting location which was Rutledge, GA rather than the named Myra, GA. However, there is a good amount of dead air space too.
- Trailer 2:14: Go figure, Elaine Hendrix is the star of the movie. Never would have guessed from the cover or gushing over from the filmmakers over Rimes.
- Cast Interviews 5:27: This are some pieced together interviews with Hendrix & Rimes. Most of the talking is supplied by Leann, did I miss the fact that she was in the movie for roughly 10 minutes?
- Photo Gallery 2:31: A collection of thirty pictures set over some music by Leann Rimes.
This movie certainly might have some Good Intentions, but it’s funny how good intentions only mean so much. Despite strong performances from the likes of Elaine Hendrix, the writing just doesn’t get anywhere. Furthermore, when you primarily highlight a name on your box based solely on her singing career to what equates to be a ten minute role, you have your issues. The intentions don’t hold up and you leave your audience never wanting to visit Georgia or any small southern town.
The disc is a decent effort with more than adequate video and audio. The extras are on the slim side and the implied deleted scenes (or a director’s cut) would have been a nice touch. I want to point out a special cameo moment: Angel Williams is a stripper in the film, she happens to actually be Angelina Love, a pretty popular female wrestler in TNA.
Oh one more thing before I go, note to directors: if you are filming a movie in Georgia and the only baseball team shirt you show is from the Philadelphia Phillies, the long time rival to the Atlanta Braves; you really need to do your homework. I honestly can’t recommend this film and it is a shame since there are a few actors and actresses do shine through in this stereotypical film.