Manna From Heaven is the story of a Buffalo family who one day discover $20,000 "raining from heaven," wisely decide to split it up, and then go on their merry ways. A decade or so later, every last one of them has grown up to be a loser, having squandered his or her (mostly her) share of the loot. The lone exception is Theresa (Ursula Burton... well of course the good one is going to be played by a Burton sister!) who has become an ash-on-the-forehead nun. In fact, Theresa becomes convinced that the 20 grand of so long ago was not a gift but a loan, and that they must now "pay it back."
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So what is Spring Forward? Simply put, Spring Forward is unique. It is not unique in the sense of Being John Malkovich or Spectres of the Spectrum (a uniqueness tainted with the surreal), but instead unique in the point of fact that it a movie that has no plot, that has no centralized point or purpose... that has nothing but characters. The characters are Murph (Ned Beatty) and Paul (Schreiber), two city parks department workers in Connecticut who spend one year talking while on the job.
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After opening with a hysterical woman named Mamie (LisaKudrow) getting hit by a car, he introduces a humorously detached meta-filmnarration style when the screen splits in two, and words appear on a blackbackground to reassure us that "No one dies in this movie. It's acomedy. Sort of."
"What happens next," the lettering continues,"was 20 years ago" -- at which point we learn that Mamie gotknocked up at 16 and was supposed to have an abortion, but secretly gaveup the baby for adoption. The unknowing father was her stepbrother Charley(Steve Coogan), who is now gay ("Who isn't?" quips the text onthe screen) and has run the family restaurant business into the groundsince the death of their parents.
But Roos is just getting warmed up. Soon an aspiring documentaryfilmmaker (a scruffy Jesse Bradford) with zero scruples is offering angry,neurotic Mamie information about her son -- but only if he can make a movieabout their reunion. Connected more loosely to these characters are a lesbiancouple (Laura Dern and Sarah Clarke) who may have secretly conceived theirchild with Charley's boyfriend's sperm, and Jude (Maggie Gyllenhaal), ablunt and sultry free-spirited young gold-digger who seduces a sexuallyconflicted rich kid (Jason Ritter) on her way to landing a much biggerfish -- his lonely dad (Tom Arnold).
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A comedy-of-life roundelay about several sexually mixed-updenizens of L.A., "Happy Endings" returns writer-director DonRoos to...