Our Rating: ★★★★½
L Factor: Minor lesbian content
Short Take: The truth comes out about the real lives of a big-haired Texas family as they prepare for a funeral.
Alternate Titles:
Year: 2000
Duration: 111 min
Language: USA/English
Director: Del Shores
Writer: Del Shores
Starring: Olivia Newton-John, Kirk Geiger, Sarah Hunley, Newell Alexander, Beau Bridges, Earl Houston Bullock, Beth Grant, Delta Burke, Leslie Jordan, Mitch Carter, Bonnie Bedelia, Sharron Alexis, Ann Walker, Mary Margaret Lewis, Rosemary Alexander

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Sordid LivesYou have to like a movie that opens with Olivia Newton-John singing a country tune with the lines, ‘Who’s to judge who’s a saint and who’s a sinner? … Who’s to say who you can love and who you cain’t?’

A film festival favorite, Sordid Lives centers around the funeral preparations for Peggy (Gloria LeRoy), a woman who died by tripping over her lover’s (Beau Bridges) wooden legs and hitting her head on the sink in a seedy motel. The truth comes out about the real lives of a big-haired Texas family, including Peggy’s straightlaced daughter Latrelle (Bonnie Bedelia, ‘The Division’), who desperately wants to keep all of the skeletons in the closet.

Unfortunately for her, her son Ty (Kirk Geiger) is gay, as is Brother Boy (Leslie Jordan), her brother who is a Tammy Wynette impersonator and has been institutionalized for 20 years in a ‘de-homosexualization’ program. Both will be out at the funeral.

It’s a white trash comedy that is just hilarious. Beth Grant, playing Peggy’s sister Sissy, in particular is laugh out loud funny, as is Delta Burke as her neighbor Noleta. The film’s message comes down to accepting who you are, allowing your family members to do their own thing, and reserving judgment on others. As she sings a song at the funeral, Peggy’s best friend Bitsy Mae (Newton-John), a tattooed, ex-con country singer, reveals that she was also Peggy’s lover! (AB)