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Sordid Lives

Sordid Lives

4.7 13
Director: Del Shores,

Cast: Del Shores, Newell Alexander, Rosemary Alexander, Bonnie Bedelia


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Writer-director Del Shores serves up a heaping helping of Southern-fried comic melodrama in this adaptation of his own play about infidelity, country & western music, and Airstream trailers. When their sister dies, Latrelle (Bonnie Bedelia), LaVonda (Ann Walker), and Sissy (Beth Grant) plan her funeral -- an unenviable task, considering that they must carefully hide


Writer-director Del Shores serves up a heaping helping of Southern-fried comic melodrama in this adaptation of his own play about infidelity, country & western music, and Airstream trailers. When their sister dies, Latrelle (Bonnie Bedelia), LaVonda (Ann Walker), and Sissy (Beth Grant) plan her funeral -- an unenviable task, considering that they must carefully hide the deceased's affair with amputee G.W. (Beau Bridges) from his wife, the vindictive Noleta (Delta Burke). Meanwhile, the trio has to come to terms with two cases of sexual orientation: Latrelle's openly gay soap-opera star son Ty (Kirk Geiger), whose sexuality she continues to deny; and their only brother, Boy (Leslie Jordan), who's serving a sentence in a mental ward for his adamant belief that he is actually country & western legend Tammy Wynette. Playing an aspiring singer-songwriter, Olivia Newton-John turns up to provide the film with the occasional musical interlude.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Gregory Baird
Sordid Lives, an over-the-top comedy written and directed by playwright Del Shores, serves up white trash with all the fixin's in home-fried style. The ensemble piece focuses on a dysfunctional southern family stirred into a frenzy by the death of their matriarch. That the old woman died in a motel room after tripping over her lover's prosthetic legs says more than enough about the family's pedigree. Flamboyant performances abound, including Beau Bridges as the amorous amputee and Delta Burke as his fried-chicken-chomping wife. But overlying this Deep South free-for-all is a more serious exploration of homosexuality, revealed in the therapy sessions of the dead woman's gay grandson (Kirk Geiger), who has tried, unsuccessfully, to keep his sexuality secret. Less inhibited about his proclivities is Brother Boy (Leslie Jordan), a flaming drag queen who's been institutionalized for 20 years, lip-syncing Tammy Wynette while an exasperated psychiatrist tries to "dehomosexualize" him. Jordan gives the most colorful performance in a film with a decidedly Day-Glo sensibility. The wild card in this mix is Olivia Newton-John, who plays a local honky-tonk singer with a surprisingly believable southern drawl and a flair for country crooning. Sordid Lives moves from satire to full-blown farce before taking a shot at emotional catharsis, and with such a wide tonal range, it almost bites off more than it can chew. But extremes redeem here, and Sordid Lives works as an unpredictably outrageous mouthful of gay-friendly fun.
All Movie Guide
The laughs are cheap and few in this satire based on director Del Shores' theatrical play. The gay themes, which resonate most honestly, are overwhelmed by crude and predictable characterizations that don't just capitalize on the eccentricities of Texas stereotypes but go so far as to make them sympathetic to the viewer. The result is a sagging sensation of discomfort. Before long you just want Shores to get to the point and get these people out of your face, which he is painfully slow to do. The staging is uncertain, as if they didn't know where to put the camera in some of the scenes, and the sets are flat and uninventive, with most of the dialogue recited with nothing but walls -- tavern walls, living room walls -- in the near background. It's saying a lot, but the most entertaining moments are when Olivia Newton-John, looking fabulous as a cowgirl singer, takes the microphone. Unfortunately, she's compelled to sing the same song not once but twice in its entirety. Gay audiences -- it won several gay film fest awards -- seem the most likely to appreciate the black comedy, but widespread appeal is unlikely.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Wolfe Video
[Wide Screen]
[DTS 5.1-Channel Surround Sound, Dolby AC-3 Surround Sound]
Sales rank:

Special Features

Closed Caption; All new interviews with the director and the cast; Original commentary; New trailer

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Newell Alexander Wardell Owens
Rosemary Alexander Dr. Eve Bollinger
Bonnie Bedelia Latrelle Williamson
Beau Bridges G. W. Nethercott
Earl Bullock Ty Williamson
Delta Burke Noleta Nethercott
Kirk Geiger Ty Williamson
Beth Grant Sissy Hickey
Sarah Hunley Juanita Bartlett
Leslie Jordan Brother Boy "Earl" Ingram
Olivia Newton-John Bitsy Mae Harling
Ann Walker LaVonda Dupree
Terry Brannon Actor
Mitch Carter Actor
Mary Margaret Lewis Actor
Lorna Scott Actor

Technical Credits
Del Shores Director,Screenwriter
Victoria Alonso Producer
Paula Avazian Costumes/Costume Designer
Gail Carroll-Coe Sound/Sound Designer
Ferne Cassel Casting
Max CiVon Cinematographer,Producer
George S. Clinton Score Composer
George Conda Co-producer
Steve Cubine Art Director,Associate Producer,Production Designer
Monica Deeter Associate Producer
James Echerd Associate Producer,Costumes/Costume Designer
Matt Gohd Co-producer
Robert Gravenor Sound/Sound Designer
J. Todd Harris Producer
Reuben Jacobs Co-producer
Scott J. Jones Co-producer
Jourdan E. Krauss Associate Producer
Sharyn Lane Producer
Ed Marx Editor
William Edward Phipps Co-producer
Linda Katzen Swartz Co-producer
Brian Terwilliger Asst. Director
Annette Venson Casting

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Sordid Lives
1. Chapter 1
2. Chapter 2
3. Chapter 3
4. Chapter 4
5. Chapter 5
6. Chapter 6
7. Chapter 7
8. Chapter 8
9. Chapter 9
10. Chapter 10


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Sordid Lives 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Simply put, a great movie! Outstanding. I need not say anymore.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Hilarious. The characters are the epitome of their stereotypes. This movie is a must. Certainly, in my top 5 list for funniest movies of all time.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I saw this in Palm Springs it is said to be the only place it is playing but we cannot figure out why. It is a greaT ADULT COMEDY AND I SAW IT TWICE IN ONE WEEK.Others in theatre had seen it 5 to 7 times.The nudity scene is done tastefully.It relates to a lot of families who are not always proud of their relatives.I would see it again.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I saw this movie about 2 years ago in a film festival and I had tried for 2 years to get it back to my area. It finally came back and again the theater was laughing so hard that you couldn't hear the entire thing. Fantastic funny moveie.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is one of the most hysterical films ever made. The more you watch it, the funnier it gets. You'll be quoting lines from this one forever. Worth it to have in your DVD library. It's a must see.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I saw this film a year ago in Palm Springs - where it is still playing at least twice a day - and it is the funniest film I've seen in ages. You can't help but laugh out loud. Well written, well acted, and well directed. It's too bad it is overlooked. The local video rental and purchase places have never heard of it. Everyone needs to see this film!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
This movie is the most enjoyable film I've seen in a long time, and gets funnier and funnier each time seen.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A great film which for some reason has been pretty much ignored by the rest of the country while achieving full cult status in Palm Springs. It has been elevated to the level of Rocky Horror Picture Show and Beach Blanket Babylon here in the desert; it's the one thing you have to take each of your out-of-town visitors to see. It's poignantly acted and riotously funny. I'm waiting for Del Shores to do another film...and when he does, I'll be first in line. Don't miss Sordid Lives or you'll hate yourself in the morning.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The best comedy I have ever seen. There's no lull in the humor, you can hardley catch your breath between bursts of laughter!
Guest More than 1 year ago
''Sordid Lives'' made me laugh so hard I had tears on my face. Hours after seeing it, I was still laughing about lines from this movie. Today I went online and purchased it since no video stores in my area had it. I plan to watch it MANY times and invite people to watch it with me. Being a southern woman, I have relatives exactly like every character in this movie -- which made me howl with laughter!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago