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24 user 20 critic

A Slipping-Down Life (1999)

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2:03 | Trailer
A young woman becomes obsessed with a small-time North Carolina rock singer.

Director:

Toni Kalem

Writers:

Anne Tyler (based on the novel by), Toni Kalem (written for the screen by)
2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Lili Taylor ... Evie Decker
Guy Pearce ... Drumstrings Casey
Irma P. Hall ... Clotelia
Tom Bower ... Mr. Decker
Bruno Kirby ... Kiddie Acres Manager
Veronica Cartwright ... Mrs. Casey
Shawnee Smith ... Faye-Jean Lindsay
Sara Rue ... Violet
John Hawkes ... David Elliot
Marshall Bell ... Mr. Casey
Jo Ann Farabee Jo Ann Farabee ... Woman at Salon
Harv Morgan Harv Morgan ... Dick St. Clair
Jason Russel Waller Jason Russel Waller ... Audience Member #1 (as Jason Russell Waller)
Lew Temple ... Audience Member #2
Jason Kavalewitz Jason Kavalewitz ... Young Sex Band
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Storyline

Evie Decker, a shy young woman, falls in love with pop star Drumstrings Casey after hearing his voice on the radio. Summoning the courage to pursue the singer, Evie starts to break out of her shell... Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

You think you're invisible. But I see you.

Genres:

Drama | Music | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language including sexual references | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

22 January 1999 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Жизнь по наклонной See more »

Filming Locations:

Austin, Texas, USA See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$9,066, 16 May 2004

Gross USA:

$107,099

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$107,099
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby | Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Austin mayor, Kirk Watson makes a cameo in the drugstore scene. See more »

Goofs

The bus that Evie walks by after Drumstrings drops her off at work prominently says Elgin I.S.D. on it. Elgin I.S.D. is in Texas, where the movie was filmed, and not in North Carolina, where the film is based. See more »

Quotes

Drumstrings Casey: You don't live in Virinia, you die here. But I'm getting out.
See more »

Soundtracks

You Alone
Written by Ron Sexsmith
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User Reviews

The sheer truth of a young couple trying to escape their tyrannical roots to be reborn.
20 May 2004 | by jdesandoSee all my reviews

I am a fan of Flannery O'Connor's Southern gothic, the kind of short stories that define `grotesque,' where humor is slow, characters are off center, defects abound, and life is a series of stops along the born-again trail. First-time writer/director Toni Kalem (`Sopranos') channels O'Connor when a lady sitting in an early scene of `A Slipping Down Life' has a large wound on her knee, not featured but just there as the camera pans the group.

Besides minor grotesqueries, the major one consists of the name Evie Decker (Lili Taylor, `Casa De Los Babys') inversely carves on her forehead with broken glass: `Drumstrings. ' `Drum' Casey (Guy Pearce, `Memento') is a soulful country singer catching wallflower Evie's fancy, implausibly marrying her, and along with her going through a few hells on the road to rebirth. The thirteen original songs Pearce sings are melancholic country, all the more impressive because of his singing.

The road is littered with Southern stereotypes (O'Connor never allowed those types in her very original stories) like Clotelia (Irma P. Hall, `Lady Killers'), whose black housekeeper is a true throwback to unoriginal Hollywood typing of the early 20th century. Add Drum's rube family members and slutty Faye-Jean Lindsay (Shawnee Smith) as an oversexed, overacting girl friend and you have an inexperienced director ignoring the nuances of Anne Tyler's novel, from which Kalem adapted.

But `A Slipping Down Life' belongs to Lili Taylor, who gives us a sympathetic young virgin, lovingly attached to her introverted widower father and doggedly determined to make something of Drum's talent and her life. Her underplayed demeanor and plain looks offset the grotesque mark on her forehead; her strength of character ("I've never backed down on anything in my life") serves further to distance her from the usual Southern hicks so popular in immature cinema.

In his `Autobiography,' W.B. Yeats described the link between self and happiness and renewal so much a part of this film's power: `I think that all happiness depends on the energy to assume the mask of some other self; that all joyous or creative life is a rebirth as something not oneself, something which has no memory and is created in a moment and perpetually renewed.'

Although the story brings no surprises and repeats some Southern chestnuts, the film ultimately succeeds because of the principals' considerable acting talent and the sheer truth of a young couple trying to escape their tyrannical roots to be reborn.


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