Sissy and Mel face off against a raging river -- and plenty more -- in this chest-thumping melodrama from On Golden Pond director Mark Rydell. Of course, it's not just the river that's about to flood the family farm that they have to contend with. They also have a bank that wants its loan payments, an evil dam developer who'll even hire thugs to rip down their makeshift levee, and just about every other obstacle under the sun. (Even the umpire at the local baseball game is against them!) The film is ironically at its best and most eye-rolling when Spacek gets her arm caught in a piece of farm equipment, threatening her with bleeding to death. It's high-water, hair-tearing hysteria that works remarkably well.
This awkward biopic traces the troubled life of notorious comic Lenny Bruce, as embodied by Dustin Hoffman in a good but still Hoffmanesque performance. Bruce's material is still offensive, out-there, and difficult, but its timeliness (heavy on the evils of racial stereotyping and epithets) is starting to fade. Segregation? The Kennedy assassination? We're talking old school.