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The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio
DVD disk
Mar 28, 2006 By: Quigles
The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio order
Director:
Jane Anderson

Actors:
Julianne Moore
Woody Harrelson
Laura Dern

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Based on a true story, a mother of ten enters jingle-writing contests to help her family stay afloat.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
This is a well made and strongly acted movie that never once feels like it really needs to be seen (or even made for that matter). Maybe if the ideals explored in the film weren't so terribly dated, it might have made a bigger impact, but that's not the case.

PRIZE WINNER isn't so much a movie about a woman who wins a bunch of jingle contests, but more about a loser husband (played by Harrelson) who gets jealous because his wife proves to be the true breadwinner for the family. His ego and jealousy get the better of him, and as such he seems to constantly find ways to screw up the family member's lives. It's not that he doesn't mean well - he's just a moron who doesn't know how not to be a complete tool. Contrasting him is Moore, the always-content wife who would appear to be taking her daily doses of happy pills. She always smiles and keeps her cool, even when her alcoholic husband starts screaming because his favorite sports team is losing the game... If you've already gotten bored by reading this, then this film probably isn't for you. (That's right, this entire paragraph was a test! Mwahahaha... OK, sorry about that.)

The only overtly positive thing I can stress about this film is that Julianne Moore does an excellent job with her portrayal of the leading mother. Other than that, the movie feels slightly bland overall (both in its messages and its story). Sure, the filmmakers try to spice things up every now and then with the clever use of CGI and such, but it isn't enough (at least not for me). I'm sure there are people out there who love these types of films, and for them, this movie will assuredly be a gem. Regardless, I'm not one of those people, and it's for that reason that I'm merely recommending this movie as a possible rental, and nothing more.
THE EXTRAS
There are only a few extras to check out, and two of them are commentaries.

Commentary #1 (with director Jane Anderson): An interesting track that should certainly please fans of the film. Anderson discusses everything from the technical aspects of making the film to influences she got from old TV commercials.

Commentary #1 (with actress Julianne Moore): Moore doesn't have quite as much to say in her track, and the result is an only mildly interesting commentary that only devoted fans should listen to. She discusses some fairly basic things, such as the technical involvements of her work on the film and her experience as a mother relating her to the character/person of Evelyn Ryan.

There's also a Photo Gallery featuring real pictures of the Ryan family, as well as a number of Previews.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
This isn't a bad movie just as much as it isn't a great one. It's merely decent, and people who like the 50's style of living will probably get a kick out of it. Fans of Julianne Moore will also probably enjoy it, but it's not like they haven't seen her play this type of role before.
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