Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Take 30: The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio

Tuesday: My "take" on a film.

"The true story of how a mother raised
ten kids on twenty-five words or less."

Meet Evelyn Ryan (Julianne Moore), a witty, loving mother of ten children, and prize-winner.

Her husband, however, is no prize. Kelly Ryan (Woody Harrelson) lost his singing voice and his dreams in an auto accident. Bitter and insecure, he habitually squanders their meager income on alcohol. The family lives at poverty level, often with little to eat. In one scene, Evelyn tries to convince the children that the bugs in their soup are actually spices. 

Don't be silly. Spices don't have legs.
There are no bugs in the soup.

And oh my goodness, what a reminder of the narrow-mindedness of that time period (1950s and 60s). It was maddening when, after one of Kelly's drunken fits, a priest counsels Evelyn to be a better wife.  Aaaaaarrgh!!!!!

Through it all, Evelyn remains optimistic, and supplements their income by entering--and winning--numerous jingle and advertising slogan contests. A favorite: ♪ "My frisk the Frigidaire, clean the cupboards bare sandwich." ♪

I admire her writing skills! It would take talent to win one contest, let alone win time and again, some of which were big contests with over 250,000 entries! Her slogans pack a punch.

Evelyn's upbeat outlook astounds me. Even her daughter, Terry (Tuff), points out...

If I were you, I'd be angry all the time.

Well, that wouldn't do me any good now, would it?

And later, after Kelly pulls a doozy of a selfish act, and Evelyn pulls another miraculous win, Tuff has a hard time letting go of the anger she feels towards her dad.  

He's never gonna change.

You're absolutely right. He's not.

And wisely counsels...

Forgive him. Forgive him so you can embrace this...
...truly remarkable day.

Her optimism is prize-winning.

Notes on content:
  • One f-bomb thrown by Kelly in a fit of drunken rage.
  • No nudity, but there is one scene with Evelyn in a slip.
  • An injury caused by broken glass reveals a lot of blood.


  1. I enjoyed that movie. I had no idea that housewives did contests like this. Pretty cool. I do remember that bake-offs were big money opportunities for housewives of the 50s and 60s. Nowadays we just watch the Food Network.

    1. I recall entering a mail-in contest when I was in the 6th or 7th grade. Won a Pfaff sewing machine for my mother. She had the machine for years!