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  • It looks like the lack of marketing for this film has really caused the filmgoing public to be deprived. I understand there was some turmoil surrounding the films release, which is why it was so delayed, and had things worked out better, it may have reached the audience it was designed for. The endearing part of this movie, with it's wandering plot, and it's archetypal characters, is that it is an accurate reflection of daily life among many of the lower middle class that lives in the middle of this country. I know these characters. Every one of them could be a neighbor to me. Although this film was based in Arkansas, it easily could have been made in Clay City, KY, right down to the phrase "daddy and them's" to refer to the patriarchal home-place. In short, this movie is about life, and not everyone's life, but hopefully about the life of someone everyone knows. When you add in the stellar cast, including hillbilly hero John Prine, this movie can simply not go unwatched.
  • I suspect that your ability to enjoy this movie may hinge on 2 things. Can you take a joke and have you ever lived in the South?

    If you enjoy SIX FEET UNDER that will help. At times you think you have things figured out only to realize that you are watching a character's dream or fantasy.

    If you have lived in the South you have met ALL these people. From Billy Bob who's wife, Laura Dern constantly reminds him of all the studs she bedded before him to her mother (in the film and in real life) Dianne Ladd constantly trying start an argument between them to the her sister (Kelly Preston) who has never really gotten Billy Bob's character out of her system to the "Out of towners", usually from UP NORTH who think they are SO much superior to the local folk. From the matriarch who is slowly slipping into senility and the patriarch who is Not dealing with that or anything else too well, to the "stud" brother who drinks too much (Jeff Baily) and goes through a lot of cars.

    For those NOT raised in the South I can assure you these are REAL PEOPLE. I have known them all in one form or fashion.

    ALL the acting is good. A very nice turn by a former Cowboys Cheerleader, Tamara Glynn, in the role of the paramedic, refered to in the move as the "ambulance driver". Also a Little Rock local (last seen advertising A/C and a Jr. College) does an admirable job as the brother who is said to be "screwing everything".

    ANDY GRIFFITH- Outstanding character and you have not likely ever seen him like this.

    TAKE NOTE of the scenery when Laura Dern and BBT are having the picnic. That is atop Petite Jean Mountain west of Little Rock and is some of the greatest scenery around.

    I was still laughing after multiple viewings. IF you take this as a farce you can enjoy it. If you are looking for the deeper meaning as in SLINGBLADE you will be bored and disappointed.

    FWIW I did not have anything to do with this movie and don't know any of the folks involved.
  • From the first time I caught a portion of this film on Showtime until I finally found a copy on DVD, I asked myself, "Why wasn't this released in the theaters?" I have rationalized that it was too real for the average Southern audience and conversely bizarre to a Northern group. Add the fact that Jim Varney was unable to complete the film, which I'm sure, created some last minute re-writes and the botch job the editors did in the cutting room and the answer becomes more obvious.

    The movie had a superior cast and each thespian was spot on in the portrayal of their respective roles. From the obvious stars Billy Bob Thornton's portrayal of an alcoholic, troglodytic, narcissistic redneck and Andy Griffith's character whose nightmare plagued view of life was truly delightful to watch, to the unsung Walter Goggins spot-on Southern Homosexual; Tommy Christianson (Jim Varney's alleged victim) and the tandem of Jaimie Lee's and Affleck's portrayals of fish out of water Yankees, all the actors were well above Hollywood's standards.

    The writing was as close as one can get to true to life redneck/white trash dialog. I use the terms redneck/white trash with personal pride having spent a good number of my life's years living in a trailer in Alabama. I have been surrounded by and endured these types with much fascination for quite some time and this movie was completely a slice of life. Well worth watching and should be a part of every Southerner's DVD collection.

    Through all the madness that ensues in the film, the finale leaves one feeling warm and fuzzy, if you work for it. You can see the potential for change and growth in all walks of humanity. The poor struggle with the past but live in the now. They walk in the shadows of the educated but are far from being imbeciles. Obscene behavior shows ignorance not stupidity. Anyone that sees this film and cannot get past all the verbose behavior in the film will not grasp the underlying love that is being purveyed. The Character's total dysfunction disables them from rational thoughts and actions, however, they do care for one another honestly and carry exceptionally strong family bonds.

    Now, for the most troubling aspect; the fatal flaw was the editing. The movie at first glance has some gaps and unexplainable situations that are baffling and distracting. Upon viewing the deleted scenes portion of the DVD the movie's intent and flow are re-established. This is still a very good film. Sadly, it could have been a great one.
  • First off, let me say that I am a southerner.

    I'm also a fan of Billy Bob Thornton, but I can't say that all of his movies are works of genius. When he's good, he's very, very good...etc.

    I watched "Daddy and Them" and thought I had really stumbled onto a gem! Also written and directed by Billy Bob, it portrays two of the most dysfunctional families ever. They are his immediate family, plus his wife's (Laura Dern), who've gotten together because Uncle Hazel (Jim Varney, in a very small, thankfully non-Ernest role) has been arrested for attempted murder.

    To top it off, these people are the epitome of Arkansas rednecks! Diane Ladd is in it, as is Andy Griffith. Since it's a Billy Bob-er, the language is kinda raw, and it's a real hoot to see and especially hear old Sheriff Andy get down and dirty! He plays BB's elderly, semi-senile father.

    Very humorous, with more than a few belly laughs... up until 1:10, or thereabouts, then the whole thing just collapsed! It went into a final half-hour or so of boring, self-absorbed pseudo-psychological angst and apologia claptrap. What a come-down! I guess it was intended to make the film "relevant," or something, but what it really did was to make it a semi-disaster.

    I'd recommend looking at the first 2/3rds, then, when BB starts to become a self-analyzing motormouth, turn it off and play Scrabble, or something.
  • Filmed in Little Rock, Arkansas, this film is a languid telling of a Southern family's domestic travails. All the characters appear to be enjoying themselves most of the time, except Ben Affleck and Jamie Lee Curtis. And John Prine, who seems to be enjoying himself all the time.

    Prine's gravelly voice is a treat. Wait for the credits to roll and you will finally get to hear him sing ("In Spite of Ourselves"—just right for this film).

    The soundtrack is stunning, especially the acoustic "Dixie," soft and reflective, strummed while Billy Bob reflects on himself.

    Don't miss the director's commentary. Billy Bob Thornton adds quite a bit of insight and detail to each scene.

    Pour a glass of wine, build a fire, and enjoy.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I won't rehash what everyone else has said but make an interesting observation. The characters in "Daddy & Them" pretty well represent every individual in this world - in all our glorious dysfunction. Every once in a while, someone comes along that gives our idiosyncrasies a voice- brings us together even if just for a little while. The kind of things that we all know in our hearts but never hear anyone put accurately into words. In real life, one of these rare individuals is songwriter John Prine. I wonder if Billy Bob thought about this when he cast JP in the role of Alvin - an enigmatic oddity who ultimately nails the situation and brings everyone together, even if just for a little while?
  • I will be the first to admit that I was skeptical about Thorton writing and directing this movie. And since I was (still am) going through a complicated divorce when I saw the movie, it made me cringe a few times in the first half of the movie. Up until Julia had her outburst - after that, things started to converge. Without giving away too much, I'll say that I can easily compare this movie to a symphony that is unconventional in the sense that it doesn't have a climax where a naive audience expects it to be. However, the first half being full of dissonance and stark tones, that almost magically become resolved into a harmony.

    Seeing as though the IMDb patrons gave this movie only barely more than a 5 score, what I am going to say now will be controversial: I think Thorton is a freaking genius, and I am glad I watched this movie. For me, this is a solid 8 stars.
  • BJBatimdb22 February 2009
    What an odd little film. I expected something a little out of the ordinary, having been a fan of Billy Bob Thornton since Slingblade, and this ALMOST worked but didn't quite - ultimately let down by Thornton's inability to end the movie.

    On the plus side, all the performances are good, apart from a rather hysterical turn from Brenda Blethyn, there are some nicely observed family dynamics, a few great comic lines, and the whole movie is lit brilliantly - making it visually interesting instead of potentially dull.

    On the minus side, it's film you have to be patient with to discover its good qualities. The dialogue is offbeat and interesting but the plot feels like a long short-film. And then the ending... what a botched job! There's a PERFECT ending which would have made this a succinct, quite special little film. Instead Thorton goes to another scene. And another AND ANOTHER and... who knows how many, because at that point the DVD we were watching got stuck in protest and we all agreed that we'd seen the best of Daddy And Them, and that we should hit eject before we became hostile.
  • I saw a rough edit of this film in December of 1998 and thoroughly enjoyed it. I can only wonder at what has caused the release of this movie to be delayed. Feel free to e-mail me if you can shed any light on this. The movie is set in suburban and rural Arkansas. The plot follows Billy Bob Thornton's character and his girlfriend played by Laura Dern. They belong to one of the most dysfunctional (and funny) families ever portrayed on screen. Most of the family members have serious problems with communication and alcohol. The family dynamic is further complicated when one of them (Jim Varney - rest his soul) is thrown in jail. Varney turns in an astounding performance and it's a true shame he isn't alive to see how the critics are going to react. The cast is full of quirky, interesting characters that are easy to connect with emotionally. John Prine steals the movie as the focal point of what is probably the most important (and hilarious) scene in the film...which I won't give away here. I highly recommend that you see this movie. Now the question is - When will the studio let you see it?
  • steve-106928 July 2003
    I have seen this movie 2 1/2 times now and it gets funnier and funnier. The subtle humor builds with each viewing. It's too bad movies like this don't get the attention like the crap that's out there now. A must see! A few times :)
  • I really was hoping this would be better. After 20 minutes, I cut my losses and quit watching it. Laura Dern was an unlikeable basket case and BBT was a jerk throwing baloney around. Ugh.
  • This was a bad movie, and that's not slang for "good"; it's a substitute word for terrible. It was in dire need of another writer on the script. After all the turmoil between BBT and Laura Dern, it now seems so autobiographical with held over dialog from Sling Blade.

    Since it was shot in Little Rock there have been periodic stories about the failure to go into theatrical release. That was actually a decision of good taste on the part of the distributors.

    Technically it was well done. Good photo's - good locations. Wonderful assembly of actors. And Jim Varney- approachable, friendly, a regular guy. What a shame his last appearance was in this thing.

    With a state that is so paranoid about its image, Billy Bob has dumped a load of stereotype on his hometown, and it is hard to understand why. Nobody thinks these people are interesting in real life - so why does a movie about the bottom-of-the-septic tank types appeal to a movie maker? The only people who come out on top are the ones who don't pay any money to watch the movie.
  • Just watched this movie and felt compelled to comment about it. I have seen Sling Blade and was moved by Thornton's ability to portray a character. Well he didn't let me down in this one either! When I saw John Prine, I almost flipped! I missed seeing his name on the box when I rented it, and it really made the movie! I am a really huge fan of Prine, but never knew he made this movie. I only wish there had been an opportunity for him to sing during the movie, but the song afterward was great. If you watch the DVD version, make sure you listen to the commentary Billy Bob makes when John Prine wakes him up on the hood of the car. I most certainly agree with him that Prine does, indeed, steal the movie!
  • Interesting thing about this movie is the responses from Southerners. That should be an indication that Southerners (the white ones at least) are very desperate for any authentic representation from Hollywood. Personally, I found the stereotypes offensive. I'm not white, but I have roots and went to college in the South (one of my best friends was from Little Rock, the accents were indeed well done) and personally can't stand the "white trash" stereotype. No person is "trash" or should be looked down on because of their accent or perceived class. Unfortunately, Daddy and Them fails to rise above these characterizations.

    There are some "Southern" gags that are pretty funny, like jokes about Pet Milk, Methodists, and conspicuous use of matches while taking a dump. The old evangelical Doris Akers tune, "There's A Sweet, Sweet Spirit in This Place" as picked out on a mandolin at the end was a nice touch. And if you don't have roots in the South, the title itself "Daddy and Them" won't, well, make a lick of sense. I wish they would have included more southern phrases. The "musician" angle also completely disappears into nowhere.

    But if you want to watch chronically dissatisfied married people yell and scream at each other for 2 hours straight over ancient history, or believe jealousy to be a virtue, or enjoy adoring XCUs of Laura Dern's big ol' head, this is the film for you. I really got what I deserved with this movie. Can't stand Laura Dern, can't stand BBT, only bought it because Jamie Lee Curtis is in it, reasons why still to be determined. After viewing, the first two conditions still stand. That's what I get, I suppose.

    Recommendation: avoid unless you are a BBT completist.
  • thundercaust19 September 2004
    I was really looking forward to this movie because of billy Bob Thornton, BUT for an hour and a half of listening to the bickering back and forth of who slept with who got really old really fast. A waste of time and money. The acting in the movie was up to par but anyone could argue consistently and make it believable. Laura Dern is her usual self and does a decent job but like I said the continuous arguing is all the movie is based on. Nothing spectacular at all. Why the film industry decided to waste good film on such a poor script is beyond me. Its really disturbing to know that there are executives out there that would even read a 1/4 of the way though this script and say lets make this into a movie. Billy Bob should leave the pot alone next time he decides to write a movie.
  • I had heard about his movie for a couple of years, but just had the chance to watch it tonight on SHOWTIME. Written and directed by Billy Bob Thornton, the story is not very cohesive, but the characters are very memorable, especially those played by John Prine and Andy Griffith. There are some great comic moments, and a few touching scenes that reminded me of several families I have come in contact with here in the rural south. Actually, John Prine, better known as a singer/songwriter, steals the picture with a wry understated performance. I can see how the studio didn't know how to market the movie for the big screen, but it plays pretty well on the small screen.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    After reading a number of IMDb reviews, I looked forward to this movie. I'm from the deep south, Mississippi, and love southern stories with eccentric characters. However, I did not identify with much in this movie. First of all, the dialogue is so heavy on the f-word that I felt embarrassed and annoyed. Southerners have more dignity and elegance. These are characters I would never want to live next door. I don't really know people quite so rude, and openly discussing sex in public is a no-no for southerners I have known. Of course, maybe I know more of those for whom the Bible-belt actually has meaning. Even when the moments become more tender towards the end, the scenes are too long and soon become boring. For me, the movie "Sordid Lives" offers a better depiction of colorful southern characters, and if you really want an odd role for Andy Griffith, see "Rustlers' Rhapsody." I can see why there was a problem with distribution of this picture. After we'd seen "Daddy & Them," my little southern group agreed that the movie is "a little less than OK."
  • This was a quite annoying and pointless little movie to watch. I liked the cast and director, so I decided to give this movie a shot but it ended up being an huge deception.

    The movie and its storytelling was totally uninteresting. It's filled with a whole bunch of characters, that just don't amuse. I'm sorry but a couple of moronic characters who just stare and never have a decent conversation with each other is just not my idea of entertainment.

    It's obvious that the movie has an overall message about family values in it but the way of storytelling, characters and dialog make sure that the message just doesn't come over. The message gets muddled in into the too thick style of film-making. Billy Bob Thornton tries to put a lot into the movie and tells the story subtle, in a Wes Anderson kind of way but none of it really works out. The movie instead is a boring one about nothing. It makes the movie extremely redundant.

    Somewhere in its mess there still is a story about a family coming together again when the uncle gets accused of attempted murder. However the story gets abandoned often and totally forgotten time after time, until the moment when the movie suddenly gets back on track with its main plot line. It really doesn't make this the best constructed- or flowing movies.

    The dialogs and sequences seems to be endless, because there isn't really anything happening in it. It gets highly annoying after a while and makes the movie very tiresome to watch.

    What a waste of a fine cast. Billy Bob Thornton plays a typical Southern Billy Bob Thornton kind of character. Laura is pretty annoying as his wife and the rest of the characters are cast because of their looks and not for their acting skills, which I must say works out pretty well for the movie. Although, the characters in the movie are supposed to be family but not no one of them look like each other. It also does make the movie confusing at times. Jim Varney plays his final film-role in this movie. His role is entertaining, though short. Same can be said about Walton Goggins. Ben Affleck and Jamie Lee Curtis as two married lawyers are also pretty entertaining.

    A boring and sometimes even annoying awkward little gem. I regret I've ever watched this movie.

  • =G=11 July 2003
    "Daddy and Me" takes a look at a dysfunctional Arkansas family of ignorant hicks with Thornton and Dern out front as a couple with issues. A sort of slice-of-dysfunctional-family-life flick which pours over a good cast of oddball characters, this comedy doesn't manage to conjure up anything of significance except a whole lot of Thornton's trailer park trash home spun situational comedy/drama "home cookin'". "Daddy and Them" offers plenty of familiar faces cranking out solid performances, but everything else from concept to completion is about as dysfunctional as the characters. For Thornton fans only. (C)
  • Ruby (Laura Dern) and Claude Montgomery (Billy Bob Thornton) is a very insecure jealous couple, because of their past sentimental life: Claude has had an affair with Ruby's older sister Rose (Kelly Preston), when Ruby was a young girl; and Ruby has had many muscled boy-friends in the past. When Claude's uncle Hazel (Jim Varney) is arrested for attempting of murder a local, Ruby and Claude travel with Rose and Jewel (Diane Ladd) to Arkansas to give their sympathy to the Montgomery family. While traveling, Jewel recalls all the time many events between Claude and Jewel, irritating Ruby. Finallt they arrive in their destiny in the breast of the Montgomery, a low middle class family with total lack of communication.

    "Daddy and Them" could be called "How to Waste a Magnificent Cast in a Dull Movie". Having names such as Jamie Lee Curtis, Laura Dern, Billy Bob Thornton, Ben Affleck, Kelly Preston, Diane Ladd and the always boring with her horrible crying timbre of voice, Brenda Blethyn, I really expected an excellent dark comedy. However, the result is a complete disappointment, with a very tedious screenplay. It seems that Billy Bob Thornton, without Angeline Jolie in his personal life, is living based on his magnificent past and presently is down of the hill in his career, with very bad choices in his movies. With due respect, some IMDb users surprisingly liked this flick, and apparently most of them are from the south of USA. Maybe this kind of humor, with this horrible accent, works in that area. But for an overseas viewer not used with such culture, it is an uninteresting and tiresome film. My vote is three.

    Title (Brazil): "Tudo em Família" ("All in Family")
  • Finally saw this film via Showtime after years of waiting for a studio/theatrical or video/DVD release. It was worth the wait, although strange seeing BBT and LD as a couple long after they've both moved on to other people. I didn't realize there were so many big-name personalities involved in the project (e.g. Ben Affleck, Jamie Lee Curtis, etc.) The film, with its collection of quirky characters reminiscent of "Daddy's Dyin', Who's Got the Will?" left me with a thoroughly enjoyable experience. It's one of those films that mostly makes you laugh, maybe tear up a little, and in the end, think about what the message was. There are so many families like the Montgomerys - dysfunctional with few to nonexistent communication skills - and we see bits of ourselves and our own families in these characters. The main reason I wanted to see this film so badly is because I'm a John Prine fan, and although his lines were few, they were effective! And stick around for the closing credits to hear his song "In Spite of Ourselves," a duet with Iris Dement. Worth the wait!
  • Billy Bob Thornton captures the slang and dialog of southern rednecks the same way Quentin Tarantino captures the slang and dialog of the inner city thugs.

    "Don't think I don't know things like that" "I can't have a goddamn car wreck in peace" "That line dancers eyes got as big as pie plates"

    (after car crash) Paramedic="They were all drunk" Claude="Did you hear that? We were all drunk" Ruby="Oh baby, thank God you were drunk" Claude="I was drunkest one of all!"

    The scene where the mother screams at her two daughters to quit fighting and "get in this car NOW!!!" was played out by my mother and sisters many times before I ever saw this movie.

    This movie is a creative dark comedy with great cinematography and a relaxing soundtrack. So funny on so many levels it gets better every time I watch it.
  • I'm from the south and though I'm sure people are like these people in the film, I don't know of any. The reason for the 8/10 was because of Jim Varney's performance. It was refreshing seeing him in a different light even though I grew up on 'Ernest P. Worrell', who is still my favorite. I understood what BBT was going for but I don't think he got there. There was too much bickering between Ruby and Claude, with jealousy as the constant instigator, and too much bad language for my tastes. And this may not be fair, but I took off a star because of the foul words Varney had said. I just can't wrap my head around the fact that he said them. I wanted more scenes with Varney but I'm guessing that because of the cancer and him needing surgery changed all that. BBT did the right thing in adding Varney to the cast. The courtroom scene is one of my favorites in the whole film. I wish Varney was still alive. He had a lot more in him and he was a tremendous talent. "The good ones die first". I can see from the others on IMDb that the reviews are mixed. It wasn't a bad movie but BBT did better as 'Sling Blade'.
  • I bought a copy of this movie, as I have with every B.B.T. movie I could find. I love it. I wasn't even aware of all the big name talents who were a part of this picture, but was very happily surprised to see the character "Alvin," who I kept thinking, "Wow, that looks like John Prine, he even sounds like John Prine." Then to find out it was him, that was a thrill. I have watched this film several times and it seems like each time I do, I catch a line that I didn't manage to hear on the first viewing. There's a lot of that going on here. My favourite scene has to be the liquor store trip, done in slo-mo to the tune of "Ghost Riders In The Sky." Brilliantly funny. I laughed my face off throughout this movie. One of my favourites. I don't know why it didn't fare better. Probably because of the dumbing down of America (and Canada as well.) The humour would go right over a lot of heads.
  • I lived in Arkansas for 20 years and this story really comes as close to real life there as you can get.I really enjoyed watching and laughing with this movie.I have lived all over the united states over the years but living in Arkansas was my best experience.I would highly recommend this movie for a good laugh.
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