Who'd of thought that a battle over water rights would make for such an interesting tale? This small movie, Robert Redford's second directorial endeavor after Ordinary People, is surprisingly watchable and gripping, despite a terrible title and a setup that would have mainstream audiences running for the exits. In a tiny New Mexico town, a huge resort development is getting underway, and the locals are getting trampled underfoot. But not Joe Mondragon (Chick Vennera, the spitting image of Bruno Kirby), who diverts water from the resort project onto his small bean field. Naturally, the titular war develops: Corporate America vs. the little guy -- with the media thrown in for a kick. Surprisingly lively stuff, full of local character, fun performances, and a plot that builds up steam faster than you'd think. It's Jean de Florette, Western style, and the kind of movie John Sayles wishes he could make.
Hey, next Friday night, why not try a 2-hour tragicomedy about the wild and wacky world of ticket scalping? With Andy Garcia and Andie MacDowell!? Yow. "Ill-advised" is certainly a term that comes to mind. But Just the Ticket is basically humorless and so overly contrived (electronics saleswoman really wants to have her own restaurant) that it's overall just a waste of time for everyone involved. Even cameos from the likes of Joe Frazier can't elevate this film above a one-note joke.