May 1, 1998 |
"Dancer, Texas Pop. 81" opens with four young men lounging in plastic beach chairs parked right across the middle of what has to be the least busy highway in America. It's an unnerving sight for those who have had enough of sullen slackers and disaffected youth, but worry isn't necessary. "Dancer, Texas" isn't that kind of film at all. Likable, affectionate and unashamedly warm-hearted, "Dancer, Texas" is a sentimental little picture that goes gently against the grain.
November 5, 2006 |
WITH "We Are Marshall," director McG makes a striking departure from music videos and the eye candy that filled his pair of "Charlie's Angels" action-comedies. "Marshall" is a heart-wrenching but ultimately uplifting drama that chronicles how the residents of small-town Huntington, W.Va.
December 23, 1998 |
Every year on Christmas Eve, my children sit down cross-legged in front of the Christmas tree and write their letters to Santa Claus. Traditionally, their messages have been brief and to the point--here's the cookies and milk, give the reindeer the carrots, and thanks so much for stopping by.
September 21, 1997 |
In this small town nestled among the white ash trees of the Catskill Mountains, Stanley Oliver handcrafts big-league dreams. Oliver makes baseball bats for a living. For years, he's spent up to 16 hours a day working in his small shed next to the slow-moving Calicoon Creek, trying to perfect his wooden wares. Oliver, or at least his bats, have finally made it to the majors. Want to see what one can do?
October 1, 1993 |
Real Food Daily reminds me of a cafe in a small town: Customers know the waitresses' names and vice versa. The man sitting next to us at the counter strikes up a conversation--it's his second meal of the day there. The main difference between a small-town cafe and Real Food Daily is that you can't get biscuits and gravy here. Or coffee. Or apple pie. Nobody will chicken-fry you a steak. And nobody would dream of smoking.
November 28, 1988 |
Anna L.M.N.O. by Sarah Glasscock (Random House: $17.95. 344 pages) Anna, a hairdresser pushing 30, who works in a West Texas town called Alpine, thinks at the beginning of this novel that last names don't really matter. Between fathers and stepfathers, husbands and ex-husbands, she's had more last names than she can keep track of. By the end of the novel, this problem is resolved, thus the unique if studied whimsicality of the title.
December 25, 1986 |
On TV's long-running "Cheers," John Ratzenberger plays the role of Cliff Clavin, the wiseacre mailman, who apparently has never traveled much beyond his daily route. In reality, Ratzenberger, who left home at 18 and wanted to "lead a romantic life and see all those things I read about in books," is an experienced traveler.
April 1, 1990 |
Where exactly is Ramona? The pamphlet from the Chamber of Commerce puts it this way: "Below the snow line, above the smog line, in the Valley of the Sun." To get to it, take California 67 North, away from the clutter and traffic jams of city life and into a community of feed stores and specialty shops for guns, knives and belt buckles. Ramona is a small town that is starting to become a big one.
July 16, 1989 |
Folks who can cluck like a chicken, America wants you. Men with spindly legs, you're in demand too. Ditto people with crayfish that can scoot like Secretariat. No, such talents don't mean a future of Broadway lights, but small-town America has learned how to make fun from the oddest festivals. And there's always time for a contest or exhibit at these Woodstocks of weirdness. Consider the Chicken Show this summer at Wayne, Neb.
September 29, 1994 |
When you get to the fork in the road, take it. --Yogi Berra * In the back-road towns that are now my home and in the little cafes where I linger too long over coffee and idle conversation, I have become an oddity, like some dispossessed traveler from another age. People gather around my bicycle, as they must have around the first Model T Fords that came to town 70 years ago, and want to know what peril I have encountered on the road and where I'm coming from and what's in my saddlebags.