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A Slipping-Down Life (1999)

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A young woman becomes obsessed with a small-time North Carolina rock singer.

Director:

Toni Kalem

Writers:

Anne Tyler (based on the novel by), Toni Kalem (written for the screen by)
2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Lili Taylor ... Evie Decker
Guy Pearce ... Drumstrings Casey
Irma P. Hall ... Clotelia
Tom Bower ... Mr. Decker
Bruno Kirby ... Kiddie Acres Manager
Veronica Cartwright ... Mrs. Casey
Shawnee Smith ... Faye-Jean Lindsay
Sara Rue ... Violet
John Hawkes ... David Elliot
Marshall Bell ... Mr. Casey
Jo Ann Farabee Jo Ann Farabee ... Woman at Salon
Harv Morgan Harv Morgan ... Dick St. Clair
Jason Russel Waller Jason Russel Waller ... Audience Member #1 (as Jason Russell Waller)
Lew Temple ... Audience Member #2
Jason Kavalewitz Jason Kavalewitz ... Young Sex Band
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Storyline

Evie Decker, a shy young woman, falls in love with pop star Drumstrings Casey after hearing his voice on the radio. Summoning the courage to pursue the singer, Evie starts to break out of her shell... Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

You think you're invisible. But I see you.

Genres:

Drama | Music | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language including sexual references | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

22 January 1999 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Жизнь по наклонной See more »

Filming Locations:

Austin, Texas, USA See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$9,066, 16 May 2004

Gross USA:

$107,099

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$107,099
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby | Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Austin mayor, Kirk Watson makes a cameo in the drugstore scene. See more »

Goofs

When Evie snaps the photo of Drumstrings, Faye Jean's arms are up. When Evie looks at the developed photo, both of Faye Jean's arms are down and she is turned to her right instead of facing the camera (as she was when the flash went off). See more »

Quotes

Violet: That's a diaper pin in her ear!
See more »

Soundtracks

You've Got a Sweet Mouth on you Baby
Written by Robyn Hitchcock
See more »

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User Reviews

Listening to the Radio Can Change Your Life
18 May 2004 | by noraleeSee all my reviews

"A Slipping Down Life" is better at showing the power of radio and music than explaining the characters inspired by it.

Lili Taylor's "Evie Decker" is living in a house filled with the sounds of radio and not much else in her life, as we see in somewhat mocking scenes that duplicate from many movies about small town Southern life from "Last Picture Show" to "Fried Green Tomatoes," etc. Her dad spends his time exploring short wave frequencies ("There's too much damn Spanish in the world!") and she's hooked on the romantic dedications and atmosphere created by WLUV.

So it's His Voice that gets to her first, as she hears an interview with a local singer/songwriter trying to establish himself as "Drumstrings Casey" and she's inspired to actually go out to see him at a local club.

Guy Pearce perfectly captures the type; while he's singing --quite well-- songs actually written by Canadian Ron Sexsmith, he floored me that his body language of being both sexy and laid-back virtually duplicated rootsy singer/songwriter Chris Whitley from the first time I saw him perform back in '91 for a similarly small audience. So I can certainly relate to "Evie"'s emotionally charged response to him -- but her actions are just plain odd, as she changes from passive guilelessness to exhibitionist stalker.

Debut writer/director Toni Kalem (a Jersey girl who is also "Angie Bonpensiero" on "The Sopranos" and can't resist sticking in Bruce Springsteen references here and there) confusingly shifts gears that I don't know if come from the original novel by Anne Tyler as I haven't read it yet. Both characters start getting more sympathetic and complex as they get more co-dependent and much more than just musician and fan, and more intriguing than Keith Carradine with his various groupies in "Nashville."

Though some pithy truths do come out, their artistic and emotional viewpoints are inconsistent as they try to find themselves, together and apart, with only hints of psychological explanations, such as "Casey"'s relationship with his mother, a former singer herself, and his hearing local bluesmen. But in maturing you do have to take a few steps back in order to go forward. The conclusion satisfyingly comes together around music and the radio, but is awkward plot-wise.

John Hawkes of "Deadwood" is also charming as the band drummer and promotion-seeking manager.

Nice range of singer/songwriter music on the soundtrack, but it doesn't reflect the Southern milieu that is so carefully visually established.


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