Come Back to the 5 & Dime Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean
Director: Robert Altman
Year Released: 1982
In the fictitious town of McCarthy, Texas (it's near Marfa!), several ladies who were associated with a variety store (including Sandy Dennis, Cher, Marta Heflin, Kathy Bates, etc.) show up to celebrate the 20th anniversary of their James Dean fan club (he shot Giant near there), go over old times, continue to tell lies (Dennis' character claims she mothered Dean's son) and encounter a stranger named Joanne (Karen Black), who knows a lot about all of them. If the material feels intolerably thin and underdeveloped it's because it was based on a one-act play by Ed Graczyk and really stretched out as far as it could - the transitions between 1975 and 1955 would have been kind of interesting if they didn't happen quite so often. But the real reason to watch is just to see the mostly female cast act like they're in a sorority, get catty with each other and desperately try to convince you there's something deeper going on: Dennis is a walking bag of acting tics, and Cher's self-confidence is staggering. I'm not sure how today's audience would handle how they treat an individual who is transgender, but for the early eighties I'd say that's as tolerant as anyone was going to be.