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$24.28 $8.93 list($26.98)
1. Normal
$13.49 $9.24 list($14.99)
2. A Thousand Acres
$25.16 $20.83 list($27.95)
3. Things Change
$22.49 $18.60 list($24.99)
4. Just for the Hell of It/Blast-Off

1. Normal
Director: Jane Anderson (II)
list price: $26.98
our price: $24.28
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0000AYJV8
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 13732
Average Customer Review: 4.58 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

As Roy (Tom Wilkinson, In the Bedroom) and Irma (Jessica Lange,Cape Fear, Tootsie) celebrate their 25th weddinganniversary, Roy passes out. While meeting with their pastor, Roy revealsthat he's a woman trapped in a man's body, and he wants to get a sexchange--setting in motion a complex and emotionally fraught conflictbetween husband and wife, individual and community, and parent and child.Normal explores Roy's gender dysphoria with empathy, but also hasan eye for the social and familial absurdities that come up. The humor,far from trivializing the issue, steers it away from cloying sentiment orpolitically correct sanctimony. The movie captures the confusion of Roy'sfriends and coworkers with realism and without judgment, and thestressful changes of Roy and Irma's relationship aren't sugarcoated ormade into a moral lesson. Both Lange and Wilkinson are superb, as are theskillful script and direction. --Bret Fetzer ... Read more

Reviews (19)

5-0 out of 5 stars wow
I've never written a review before, but I was so impressed with this movie, I felt like I should write something. Even though I personally don't deal with the specific issues in this film, I was deeply touched by Jane Anderson's script and the performances by Jessica Lange and Tom Wilkinson are nothing short of incredible - definitely some of the best work either has ever done. I do have to agree that Jessica Lange steals the show. Her reactions to what is happening to her are exactly what I imagine someone in her shoes might go through. I liked the way church issues were dealt with as well, although it wasn't surprising that Roy was treated as an outcast by the members of the congregration. Sad, but often the case.

I highly recommend this movie to anyone who needs inspiration. Very powerful film.

5-0 out of 5 stars A quiet powerhouse - Wonderful film
I caught this on cable and found myself unable to turn it off. Its the story of a husband and father living in a quiet, rural community who can no longer take living a lie. Roy is a woman living inside a man's body. He realizes he can no longer keep this to himself, confiding in his wife and turning their marriage and the community upside down. When he begins to wear earrings to the factory and singing in the women's choir, the family begins to be quietly isolated. I feel the reason he might have been left alone could have been because of respect for his wife and children. I don't know if that would be the same in real life. I seriously doubt it but even that little bit of what I believe is naive optimism doesn't detract from this film.

What is most touching is how the daughter handles it. She instantly embraces her father. Their grown son is less able to deal with it but the scene between father and son is touching. Its Jessica Lange that steals the show as Irma. Her reactions from anger to mourning are always dead on. Wilkinson is also wonderful as the tortured Roy who can see what he's doing to his family but can't stop himself in his search for personal freedom.

The scenery in this film is amazing and the music fits each scene. I was really impressed by everything about this film and would recommend it to anyone.

5 stars and then some. Normal will stay with you long after the film has ended.

4-0 out of 5 stars Inaccurate but truthful
Contradictory though it may be, this film is simultaneously inaccurate and truthful.

In presenting the gender transition of a middle-aged man in a small, conservative farming community, this film has an odd omission. As an earlier reviewer pointed out, Roy/Ruth is able to go through hormone therapy and to get Sexual Reassignment Surgery without the film ever showing how. This is more than just a technicality. To get HRT, one needs a prescription. Most endocrinologists who work with TG people work as much on the emotional side of the issues as they do on the physical. To get SRS, one must have letters from two therapists. Roy faces some incredibly difficult issues in this film. He also makes some very dangerous choices, such as wearing perfume and earrings to work before having disclosed his transition. In real life, the therapist would be working with Ruth on all of these things. It almost feels as though a decision was made after shooting to edit out all of the scenes in which Ruth interacts with her doctor and her therapist.

This does have the effect of focusing on the real drama, the evolving relationships within the family. But it makes the film feel somehow unreal and misguided.

Other than that, as several reviewers have mentioned, the acceptance of the community as depicted is extremely optimistic.

For all that, this film nailed it. A couple I know invited me over to watch movies with them one night, and popped this one into the VCR. Halfway into the film, I broke down weeping and had to leave. As a TG woman myself, this film captured the truth of what happens, of the emotions and changes, as accurately as anything I've ever seen. The humanity of this movie, in how it depicts all of the family members, is stunning. There is no sensationalism, no embellishment, just four human beings trying to make sense of and work through a difficult transition.

I went back to see my friends three nights later and watched the rest of the film. I'm glad I did. You will be glad you saw this film too. It's a wonderful story of love.

5-0 out of 5 stars Riveting Drama
Roy (Tom Wilkinson) and Irma (Jessica Lange) are a normal farm family with an estranged son and a teenage daughter. After their 25th wedding anniversary, Roy confesses that he is a woman trapped in a mans body. At this point, I expected things to get absurd, including the predictability that we will see Roy in drag. However, Director/Writer Jane Anderson allows all ssues to come the forefront; family, friends, religion, coworkers and community. What seems a destiny for ruination is full of surprises and Anderson can humble the viewer by showing how anyone can be easily misunderstood. The performances by Wilkinson and especially Lange are nothing short of amazing. The emotions run high, vivid and clear as each person struggles with this abrupt revelation that affects everyone's life. This is a precise study of empathy, understanding, the testing of relationships and most importantly - love.

5-0 out of 5 stars Memorable performances from Wilkinson and Lange
"Normal" is a film where the performances by Tom Wilkinson and Jessica Lange are so much better than the script. This is not to say that the script by writer-director Jane Anderson is inadequate, but rather than Wilkinson and Lange give it a power and grace that transcends what was on the printed page. Wilkinson, a veteran character actor who suddenly seems to be in half the films coming out (Jim Broadhurst is usually in the other half), plays Roy Applewood, who has been married for 25 years to Lange's Irma and who finally reveals his deepest and darkest secret: he feels like a woman trapped in a man's body.

To say that this comes as a shock to everyone is an understatement. Roy is the foreman at a plant that manufactures tractors and a pillar of his church. He is also married to Irma, who, like the actress who plays her, has gotten sexier as she has gotten older. When the church throws an anniversary party for the couple Roy kisses his wife and faints. In a counseling session with their pastor (Randall Arney), Roy finally confesses that he is a woman. The fact that Roy says this in such a matter of fact manner, without the slightest trace of any affectation that would suggest being gay, is what makes "Normal" such an offbeat look at a somewhat offbeat subject.

This is not a sensationalistic treatment of the transgender topic (remember the lurid film "The Christina Jorgenson Story"?). The script is clearly sympathetic, but also manages to tell the story with a wry sensibility and to reach a level of depth that we usually do not find in such films, which tend to veer towards sensationalism and/or melodrama. This is because despite the fact that Roy starts taking female hormones so that he can grow breasts he still loves his wife. Underneath all the shock and dismay at Roy's transformation there is a love story going on, crystalized when Irma's pastor gives her permission to give up on her marriage and she replies with emotional elegance, "How can I? He is my life."

Perhaps it is not realistic that "Normal" has Roy treating his gender reclassification as if it were akin to getting a new haircut: he wears earrings and perfume to the tractor plant and wants to be called Ruth. But Wilkinson brings a sense of dignity to the part that helps carry it off and no doubt Anderson is trying to make a point. The only part that rings false for me is the dramatic exploitation of the Applewood's two children. Two, not just because you get to have one son and one daughter, but two because one will accept their father's change with curiosity while the other goes off the deep end. Of course it is the son (Joe Sikora) in the latter role and when he reads the letter written by his father to a bunch of drunks in a bar, I thought was going way too far (unless he was adopted?). The same holds true for Irma's awkward try at a tryst with Roy's boss (Clancy Brown).

Anderson wrote the hysterically funny "The Positively True Adventures of the Alleged Texas Cheerleader-Murdering Mom" and shows much more restraint overall with "Normal" in dealing with the satirical side of her subject matter this time around. When Irma kicks Roy out of the house, she pointedly tells him he is much too selfish to be anything but a man. Still, we come back to the performances by the two stars. Wilkinson plays this role perfectly straight as if he was changing political affiliation and not gender. In contrast Lange gets to run the gamut of emotions from disbelief and anger to acceptance and love. Wilkinson is so decent and real that you have to admire him and root for him, especially when the alternative is identifying with the less tolerant and understanding members of his family and community. But you also root for Lange to keep her husband.

But in the end "Normal" is a love story. If it were about a sex change operation then we would be getting all the nuts and bolts about how that is done. Anderson is not concerned with the mechanics; she cares about the people. In the end, Ruth and Irma care about each other and it is hard for us not to care about them as well. ... Read more


2. A Thousand Acres
Director: Jocelyn Moorhouse
list price: $14.99
our price: $13.49
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1558908331
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 20075
Average Customer Review: 3.25 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (24)

3-0 out of 5 stars excellent cast performs beautifully despite mediocre script
The dramatization of Jane Smiley's "A Thousand Acres" is dissapointing in that not only does it come from an excellent novel, but also because of the dream cast involved.
The story is loosly based on Shakespeare's "King Lear," in only that the father in the modern version is an evil villain, while the two daughters are alleged martyrs. The issues involved in the film are important and though-provoking--incest, sexual abuse, breast cancer, Alzheimer's disease, dysfunctional families--too bad the writers handled these noteworthy subjects so messily. The calamities piled upon the characters happen in an episodic way, that makes the film feel like a miniseries without commercial breaks. With each new mini-drama, you feel as if you should watch this movie in installments. The script is also full of cliched dialogue, and characters without motivation.
Despite all these flaws, the film is still worth watching if just for the cast. Jessica Lange, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Jason Robards prove themselves brilliant performers in this film--each actor gives more than the shallow script deserves.
Lange plays Ginny Cook, the shy and docile oldest daughter, who accepts her lot in life without complaint, and manages to live a relatively happy life. Her character is the most appealing, and Lange gives nuances and shadings to the character that weren't written in. Ginny described herself in the film as a "ninny" and she is written as so--Lange gives her so much more, and it is amazing to watch her create a true three-dimensional character.
Jason Robards is Larry Cook, a dragon of a father. He like Lange is given an essentially cardboard character, and his performance gives Larry a sense of pity and pathos, that the script did not allow. The writer wanted him to be simply evil, and Robards chose, wisely, to instead, elevate Larry out from the cartoonishly evil lines he was given, and make him a complex human being.
Michelle Pfeiffer gives the most provoking performance of the three main stars, because hers seems to be an mixture of Robards and Lange's. Her role is also quite underwritten, but she manages to breath life (not just fire) into her character, the angry and resentful, Rose. The part is written as dour and bitter--completely unlikable, and even as the story moves on (slowly) and you realize the sacrifices Rose has made, she is still written in a completely shrewish way. Pfeiffer gives her vulnerability sorely needed, and manages to steal the film (not an easy thing to do, considering her costars).
Jennifer Jason Leigh has a smaller role as Caroline, the youngest daughter. Her role is underwritten on the lines of Robards' and Pfeiffer's characters, yet unlike the two, she fails to bring any depth to the essentially pouty and boring person she is portraying.
All in all, a good movie to watch to witness the beautiful chemistry between two of America's finest actresses.

3-0 out of 5 stars good performances despite some script flaws
The actors save this sparse script in this film.

3-0 out of 5 stars "Daddy, dearest?"
A good film driven by a rather creepy performance by Robards. Memorable.

Recommended.

3-0 out of 5 stars Shakespeare it isn't!
This film definitely has merit as well as an all-star cast. It may well be an updated version of King Lear, but I found the topic less than entertaining...and I was not thrilled with the ending. As for Colin Firth's performance as an American drifter... he successfully portrays a Mr. Wickham from his P&P days. He is charming, available, and easy to like ~ except he is definitely not going to be around for the duration. And what sort of cad sleeps with sisters of the same family...simultaneously?

2-0 out of 5 stars When Majesty Doth Stoop To Folly
I saw this when it came out on televison and I must say I thought it was just awful. How can anyone win any literary prize for something that is little more than Shakespeare...? While this is a majestic production with great acting, direction, and cinematography I confess I found it much too predictable as it seemed to follow Shakespeare's KING LEAR almost act for act and scene for scene. The only persons missing were Kent, Glouster, Edmond, Edgar, and of course the Fool. Had the story line varied sufficiently as to be a mere suggestion of the play, I would have enjoyed it very much. It bothers me that the the author received accolades for a mere re-write! It is as Kent said "when majesty doth stoop to folly!" ... Read more


3. Things Change
Director: David Mamet
list price: $27.95
our price: $25.16
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Asin: B00000F722
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 15990
Average Customer Review: 4.25 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (12)

5-0 out of 5 stars The greatest "Don" - Don Ameche in subtle mob masterpiece!
Don Ameche has always been a great actor who has portrayed in role after role something most actors never achieve: Elegance. In this role of Gino, a humble cobbler, Mr. Ameche achieves something even more sublime: Quiet elegance, coupled with gracious charm that defeats even the worst intentions of all those who would want to harm this truly GENTLE man. Joe Mantegna, as Gino's "foil", is equally wonderful as a basically ignorant man with a great heart who is obviously in the wrong profession. Mamet's (and Shel Silverstein, of all people!) screenplay and direction are flawless: his story is filled with suspenseful and humorous moments piled up one after another, and all are surprising - to us as well as to Gino! Nothing is as it seems, and the finale is truly inspired! Before this film I was not impressed with Mamet's work, neither on film nor on stage. I may still not care for Mamet's work. But, "Things Change" changed my view of what he can do with a good story and great actors, at least for now. However, as Ameche/Gino says: "things change." One reviewer has compared this film to Peter Sellars "Being There", and I think the comparison is a good one. Although we are not dealing with an idiot in this movie, Mamet's film does show that (most) people will react positively to a positive impulse and allow the good in themselves to surface over avarice and other human errors. And, like Gino, this is a very gentle movie. There is virtually no violence, no rabid car chases, no steamy sex, and, much to my personal amazement, virtually none of the profanity that has littered Mamet's scripts (his profanity, in my opinion, has crippled his work for many people). Above all, though, this is Don Ameche's film. His quiet elegance, charm, and subtle humor create a character who lives in the memory long, long after the film is experienced. This movie, and his performance, are to be cherished and watched again and again. Hurrah that it is on DVD!

4-0 out of 5 stars Mamet proves that THINGS CHANGE
David Mamet has always been a fimmaker whose most unique asset is his control of the english language... (Or maybe more accurately, 'Mamet's English Language') Well, this film looks like a Mamet film, especially with favorite performers like Ricky Jay, Joe Mantegna and William H Macy (in a blonde punk hairstyle...). But, it is less of a language film than a touching and slight odd-couple comedy. This matching a mob enforcer with a sicilian shoemaker in Lake Tahoe. Don Ameche is a totally charm in the film, each moment displaying the innocence of a shoemaker. That innocence is misinterpreted as cold-hearted mafiosa control. The film is a wonderful distraction but lacks the brain of other Mamet films like HOUSE OF GAMES and OLEANNA. The DVD has a nice widescreen transfer and an original mono audio track. Remneber, Things Change.

5-0 out of 5 stars Three thumbs up!
Undoubtly David Mamet lived a glorious decade in these eighties. House of games , the untouchables a scripter and this one.
Don't wonder if this movie belongs to cult movie status. It's a witty comedy about an inept , poor experienced and low level gangster who suffers the consequences of his acts when he goes against the orders to take an old shoe - shine boy on one last fing just before the latter goes to prison being not guilty.
Notice this disfunctional state of mind of this rookie gangster, follows the ancient rule about the wisdom of the experience , despite this statement is not always true all the times , but it does in this case.
The laughable side about the sordid universe that surrounds the underworld has been so irreverently told as in this case.
Don Ameche (Coccon) and Mantegna (House of games and Alice) give a fine performance.
Don't miss this funny comedy. A winner film.

1-0 out of 5 stars Change To Another Movie
Joe Mantegna and Don Ameche star in this drama/ thriller/ comedy directed by the overrated David Mamet. Like most Mamet movies, "Things Change" tries to clever, unusual and oh-so-surprising, but unfortunately the overall effort is nothing more than a dull, tedious and uninspired achievement. The acting is alright and the direction competent enough, yet the plot just drags endlessly and fails to present a memorable and remarkable moment. The last ten minutes are somewhat interesting and present enough dramatic tension, still that doesn`t make for the boring hour that precedes it. "Things Change" has little or nothing going for it, delivering an intantly forgettable cinematic experience.

There are more compelling things around.

4-0 out of 5 stars pretty good
I gave this film four stars, kind of as an homage. Joe Montenga and Don Ameche were both pretty good, they made me chuckle; a star apiece.
The other two stars, just on general principle, have to go to the writer.
Shel Silverstein wrote this! ... Read more


4. Just for the Hell of It/Blast-Off Girls
Director: Herschell Gordon Lewis
list price: $24.99
our price: $22.49
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Asin: B000059H8L
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 43140
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Description

Just For the Hell of It (1968, 81 min.) - Teens run amok in the Drive-In double bill from the incredible Herschell Gordon Lewis! A gang of nihilistic delinquents raise hell in a suburban community by doing whatever they want, whenever they want, Just For the Hell of It! Dexter, Denny, Bitsy, and Lummox aren't misunderstood, underprivileged, or even angry, they're just plain bad. When things get dull, they hop in their '67 Mustang and commit senseless acts of cowardly chaos. "Blast-Off Girls" (1967, 83 min.) - Slimeball manager Boogie Baker tries to turn a small-time teenage rock band into an overnight sensation with the help of pot parties, blackmail, and plenty of Blast-Off Girls in H.G. Lewis' answer to "A Hard Day's Night," which also includes a cameo by Mr. Rock & Roll himself, Kentucky Fried Chicken's Colonel Sanders! ... Read more


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