User Reviews (12)

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  • "Road to Riches" is a lightly romantic dramedy about a down-on-his-luck middle aged professional game show contestant (Forster) who harbors affection for a beautiful stripper (McGowan) and befriends a fresh-faced naive young interloper from Texas (Pardue) - a sort of poor man's Joe Buck (Midnight Cowboy) - until both men find themselves competing for the same woman. A B-flick at best, this little indie is rough around the edges showing signs of low budgetness and a lack of attention to detail with plot parts which don't dovetail well. However, when all is said and done, the film's good naturedness, poignant crescendo, and feel good conclusion make it a worthwhile watch for the couch potato in the mood for some casual small screen entertainment. (C+)
  • Warning: Spoilers
    ***Slight Spoilers Below***

    I caught this film almost by accident this morning on cable, in just about the last place I'd expect to find it: HBO.

    This film is an easy match for anyone who enjoys any of Paul Thomas Anderson's early films, as it revisits some of the territory of 'Hard Eight' and Lodge Kerrigan's 'Claire Dolan'. Sorry, no Gwyneth Paltrow-as-a-hooker here, but this film explores a sort of strange, alternate universe at the center of our fickle, ADD American culture.

    The inimitable Robert Forster stars here as a sort of con-man (Jack), living off of the fringes of televised Game Shows and other short cons. He lives in a 'resident motel', as he works toward a big payoff scheme, his 'Rat in a Can'. I won't describe it here - you'll just have to see it for yourself.

    In any case, this film charts the Forster character's search for luck - if not a payoff - such that he and the Rose McGowan character (Moira, an 'exotic' dancer) can escape L.A. to retire in Mexico.

    Into this stalled romance-cum-caper stumbles Henry (Kip Pardue), who seems to have all of the luck that Jack lost, when his career as a child-actor went belly-up. Just let it be said that opportunities open up for Henry, and Jack tries and fails to exploit them.

    But the 'plot' here, while it is amusing, is not the thing to study - rather, it's the characters: They're not wacky, not over-the-top, not for people who'd just as soon be watching 'Friends'. Rather, these characters are on a voyage to discover their own 'centers' rather than try to rig other games and schemes to support themselves.

    Definitely worth a look, especially for fans of independent films. 6/10.
  • Strange Hearts is probably one of the biggest film surprises I've had all year, it's a very well-done little independent film that deserves much more then a straight-to-dvd release. The story revolves around Jack, a down-trodden middle-aged man who's best friends with a mysterious and very disturbed young woman called Moira. Their friendship is stretched when a young man, called Henry, enters their lives. Henry, a strangely lucky guy, "steals" Moira away from Jack, unaware of her emotional fragilities and disturbing past, forcing Jack, who treasures Moira more then anything AND who you start feeling very sorry for by now, to put his luck to the test and gamble on everything he has.

    The entire cast is exceptional. Robert Foster's renowned charisma shines through in many ways, and Kip Pardue is very hateable as the cocky Henry. Rose McGowan (who I've become very interested in since seeing this movie) is probably the stand-out of the film, utilising her interesting role to the very hilt and stealing every scene she is in. First-time director and screen writer Michelle Gallagher delivers a powerful punch on her debut, and I look forward to seeing what she has to offer in the future.

    Overall Strange Hearts is a thoroughly enjoyable drama, that really makes us think about how much of a big part friendship, trust and loyalty play in all our lives. A definite 3/4.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I think this is a great film because of the great story. It's about this girl Moira, who's a stripper. She's really insecure, and Jack, the old guy next door, helps her when she has a hard time. He first met her outside a hospital, and he felt bad for her and picked her up. Since then he's always been there for her, and suddenly he falls in love with her, but what he doesn't know is that she has feelings for him to. to make the film even more complicated, she doesn't know that he loves her, and henry, a better looking and much younger guy than jack, falls deeply in love with Moira. He gets her a job and they have a great time together. he asks her to marry him, and she doesn't know what to do ,cause her dream is to get to Mexico...
  • mikee676118 December 2002
    I loved this film. Rose M is all grown up and Forester couldn't be better. It moved me. i loved this movie. The fragile balance in life between what we mean and what we say are well explored. The consequnce of inaction is heartbreaking and can hurt us more than the things we do say. Well done.
  • I wasn't expecting much at the start of watching this low budget comedy, but found myself liking both the plot and the players. The film is launched under three names, "Strange hearts", "Road to riches" and "Rat in a can". It's more of a drama than a comedy, and stars well known actors Robert Forster, Kip Pardue, Rose McGowan and Harry Hamlin.

    Young Henry, a Texan carpenter, is a lucky naive honest guy, able to charm everyone. In addition to that he's a lucky one. As audience a a game show he meets up with the quite more unhappy and unlucky scam artist Jack Waters, which has a female scam artist and show girl companion, Moira. Henry doesn't really understand they are pulling his leg, and Jack sees every opportunity to exploit him and his wallet. After charming audience at a game show, Henry is asked to take over as a game show host, and the show is on. Telling more will spoil.

    The film is easy entertainment, but has a cult side to it which I like. Not your average stupid American comedy, but a charming one, due to the charming two leading guys. Forster is good as the slick con artist, and Pardue is elegant naive charmer. Rose McGowan I haven't seen better since the Grindhouse movies if Rodriguez and Tarantino, "Planet Terror" and "Death proof". (Haven't seen her TV-series "Nip/Tuck" and "Charmed" though.) Forster is loved both by David Lynch and Quentin Tarantino, and the reasons are obvious after watching this, and Pardue delivers once again a great role here. This film has a certain feel of Lynch, and that is something likable as well.

    Some animal protectors will be put of on an idea of Jack's with a rat in a soda can, but remember that this is film. Production value is good, but the clue to the liking is that the good actors are making this a charming gem with good entertainment value. A little possible future cult movie, due to the actors.

    This is a film which easily could have been overdone, and also a film which could have been so much more. Charming anyway.
  • I read the review as posted by another person in regards to this movie, and I felt it wasn't giving Strange Hearts, Road to Riches ... or whatever it's called, the proper justice. (Which makes me think, why do people ever make up multiple titles to a movie. Whenever I think of that I think of the movie White Water Summer; save yourself some time and don't look it up folks, Kevin Bacon will probably thank you).

    Anyway, I know my opinion may be a little biased considering I just got done watching the movie, but I must say, I was pleasantly surprised. Robert Forester did such a good job in this movie it actually made me come here and write a review for the first time. I don't want to build the movie up or anything, but it was a nice character movie.

    Be it as it may that it did have unrealistic parts, but the direction was great and very original. It had many great moments to keep my attention. Like at the beginning when Forester's character gets screwed on a $100,000 dollar pyramid rip-off and he swears himself off the set. Apparently it only takes two seconds and two guesses to get "air propulsion", but it takes ten seconds and more than the obvious hints of birds and airplanes to make a clod guess "things that fly"(yeah, I'd be really angry too).

    Sure, Rose McGowan could have used a couple of stripper classes or two, and if I hadn't already seen her naked I'd wonder if she had silver dollar nipples with the size of those boobie tassels she was wearing. However, I must say it was a good movie I enjoyed watching. I'm not going to buy it or anything, but if you're up at eleven o'clock at night and you happen to see it on, It's well worth your time. Especially to find out just what Forester's character will do with that empty soda can.
  • Maybe they should have used the alternate title, "Rat in the Can," instead of "Strange Hearts." Of course, if you go looking for "Strange hearts" on cable, you will have better luck trying "Roads to Riches."

    But, "Rat in the Can" is a good title to describe just how far Jack Waters (Robert Forster) has fallen in his luck. It's his million-dollar idea, and it's a winner if he can manage to go through with it. Forster (Jackie Brown) plays a lovable loser, who just can't get his act together. It is going to cost him the love of his life, Moira (Rose McGowan, who plays what I consider her best role to date as a stripper.) Smooth talking Texan Henry (Kip Pardue - Remember the Titans) is working his charm to drag her back home to keep her barefoot and pregnant.

    "Friends" fans will find this slow, but it is a good romantic indie film.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Although the basic plot line off this film may not be the MOST exhilarating, what truly intrigued me was the somewhat subtle and rather disturbing study of human relationships. The characters in this film are undoubtedly true to life and there is no aspect of their personalities that I was able to find unbelievable, although they may appear slightly bizarre. The impression that we have stumbled across these people is created brilliantly and adds to the films overall appeal. There is a definite appeal to the somewhat 'battered' (I use this term in a more generic sense) and most certainly vulnerable Moira and her portrayal marks one of Rose Mcgowan's finest performances. I was so intrigued by the relationship between the three lead characters that I felt the need to watch the film again straight after it had finished to study my initial impressions further.

    Although perhaps I raised an eyebrow at the final shot, the overall concept and feel to the film was raw and attention grabbing, forcing you to study the characters with great detail - they are most certainly not spelt out in bold print- and I was left with an unnerving feeling that was cross between satisfaction and dissatisfaction. Strange Hearts is most certainly a thought provoking film. it seems to be commonly described as a romance but i would have to say that romance takes a back seat as the strongest relationship (that of Jack and Moira) is never explicitly defined, it could be called romantic or could be interpreted in many other ways, and stroke of genius from the makers is that their interactions are never explicitly sexual or otherwise and could be viewed either way.

    Strange Hearts is definitely a worthwhile watch but also one to make your own mind up about. The story is certainly no James Bond (but is that such a bad thing?) but it carries nicely and paves the way for the much more valuable subtext that I have been turning over in my mind since watching.
  • The biggest star in this vehicle was Harry Hamlin, playing a character named Dan Smith, so that shows you how important that role was.

    Robert Forster, looking like a poor man's Alec Baldwin, plays Jack Waters, a middle-aged man who is a contestant on the live (on the air) game show "Road to Riches". He thinks he's going to win $50,000. He doesn't. He's so enraged he begins cursing and has to be physically restrained and led from the set. Strangely enough, despite this fact, and the fact he later destroys property--as well as making threats--he is never barred from the studio. That is just one example of the lack of believability in this film.

    The next character to enter the non-plot of this storyline is young Henry Fields played by Kip Pardue. Henry, new in town, is the poster child for naive yokel.

    Henry & Jack fall into conversation outside the studio and hook up.

    Jack takes Henry to a strip joint, where Henry sees Moira Kennedy(our third character--played by Rose McGowan), on stage, performing what is supposed to be an erotic, exotic Asian dance. What actually happened is, the girl came out and did a little wriggling and weaving that lasted maybe five minutes and was nothing exceptional.

    Moira is a friend of Jack's, so she's conveniently handy from then on.

    Nothing of much interest happens throughout the rest of the film. There's some kind of offer made by Dan Smith to Jack to screw over Henry for an undisclosed amount of money. Why Dan would make this offer was never clear.

    Eventually we have both men up for grabs by the unexceptional Moira. There's balding Jack, a loser old enough to be her grandfather, and Henry, another loser, dumber than dirt. Gosh! Golly! Gee-willikers Folks!--which one will she chose!? I know I didn't care.

    1 star
  • I loved this film...I felt sorry about the rat in the can but still I loved it hehe. Rose McGowan's all grown up since Jawbreaker, which was so awful. This movie proves that even she can be emmotional, away from "Charmed" which she totally blowed. GREAT job to all the cast, exellent done guys!!
  • bazeemuth27 December 2009
    Breathtakingly ridiculous dialog, wholly unlikely plot features, and characters who seem crafted specifically to mock any attempt to take them seriously didn't stop this amazing mess from being made (of what, though? One imagines there had to be some promising kernel that ended up flowering into this egregious waste of time.) and never cleaned up. Hence, it's clear that *anything* can find the financing to see celluloid (or HD), although the process by which this one got finished would have to be more interesting than the film itself. It's entirely possible that the film's off-kilter pacing and made-for-70s-TV sensibilities could eventually land it a cult gig, but of course there's always a lot of competition for those; perhaps a film-school tale-of-caution will be this three-titled train-wreck's legacy.