Describing the story of SORDID LIVES is almost like running blindfolded through a labyrinth- the deeper you get into it, the more twisted it becomes. Here's the abridged version, and be sure to stop me if you've heard this before: Grandma Peggy has met an untimely end after having fallen over her lover's wooden legs. Her big-haired, foul-mouthed daughters descend upon their nicotine-deprived Aunt's sweltering trailer to plan the funeral and eat fried chicken, as the trailer park neighbor from hell (Delta Burke) makes a living out of disturbing the peace by brandishing her tongue and her 6-shooter. Throw in the arrival of a gay actor son from Los Angeles, a country singer wannabe, and "Brother Boy" who believes he is the saintly reincarnation of Tammy Wynette, and you have all the makings of a white trash car wreck that you can't help but watch in utter disbelief. This is the stuff that SORDID LIVES is made of.
What makes SORDID LIVES such a gem of a movie is the fact that these are real people in unreal situations. Each one of us knows at LEAST one of the characters in this film, and while the storyline is so over the top that you may need oxygen, the characterizations are beautifully written, skillfully directed, and ring true down to the most minute detail.
In the hands of lesser actors, this movie could easily have descended into sitcom hell, but this ensemble cast is, in a word, perfection. Delta Burke sheds her Designing Women persona for a much more multi-layered performace as the jilted wife, while Kirk Geiger's gay actor son portrayal is both understated and a perfect foil to his trailer park Aunts. Beau Bridges, Bonnie Bedelia, and Olivia Newton-John are all outrageously running amuk in their chacterizations, yet Beth Grant as the jumpy Aunt who just quit smoking, and Leslie Jordan as the Tammy Wynette Drag Queen, "Brother Boy" steal this movie. SORDID LIVES may be a black comedy about white trash....but this trash is DEFINITELY a treasure!