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Roseanna Arquette and John Taylor in "Sugar Town".

photo from Mr. Showbiz

Sugar Town

News and Reviews
As Reported on the
Trust The Process Website

From E! Online:

Top 10 Flicks Picked to Click

Given the more than 100 flicks to choose from, less is definitely more. But what's
getting the biggest buzz at Sundance? If you could only land 10 tickets over the
10-day festival, these would be your best bets.

American Pimp
Cookie's Fortune
Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels
The Loss of Sexual Innocence
Mr. Death
S.L.C. Punk!
24-Hour Woman

SugarTown: The town is packed with Industry weasels. No, not Park City, we're
talking Hell-Ay. Allison Anders (Gas Food Lodging, Grace of My Heart) and
Kurt Voss spin a venomous soap opera of music-biz machinations in the fest's
centerpiece premiere. The cast includes queen of quirk Rosanna Arquette,
resurgent Ally Sheedy and rocker-turned-actor John Doe. Sweet.

- art slave -

Bad news from Mr. Showbiz ( this morning:

"You can never tell about prescreening buzz. We were hearing from reliable
sources that Sugar Town, directed by Allison Anders and Kurt Voss, would be
one of the festival's hottest, but that view has now evaporated into the cold
mountain air after last night's showing at the Eccles Theatre.

A quick post-screening poll revealed a near-unanimous disappointment. Hey,
nobody said this wasn't a tough racket."


- art slave -
"that's not to say it doesn't please me sometimes..."

More from Mr. Showbiz, who seems to be staying on top of the festival much
more thoroughly than any of the other sites:


We're told bids are being weighed over Allison Anders and Kurt Voss' Sugar
Town. The buzz has been decidedly mixed, but the ensemble drama about the
L.A. music business has its admirers.

We shared a taxi late Thursday night with cast member Lucinda Jenney, who told
us she understood that a distribution deal had been closed. But our usual sources
say Sugar Town is still in play. Stay tuned...


- art slave –


      simmy (
      Monday, February 01, 1999 11:25 AM

Sugar Town


A Film Four presentation of a Jack ’n Zack production. Produced by Dan Hassid.
Co-producers, Nancy Griffin, Nanda Rao. (International sales: Film Four,
London.) Directed, written by Allison Anders, Kurt Voss.

Gwen - Jade Gordon
Nick - Michael Des Barres
Clive - John Taylor
Jonesy - Martin Kemp
Burt - Larry Klein
Carl - John Doe
Kate - Lucinda Jenney
Liz - Ally Sheedy
Eva - Rosanna Arquette
Kevin - Jeff McDonald
Rick - Richmond Arquette
Rosio - Lumi Cavazos
Nerve - Vincent Berry
Maggie - Polly Platt
Aaron - Chris Mulkey
Jane - Beverly D’Angelo
Maya - Antonia Bogdanovich

A serio-comic mosaic about L.A.’s rock ’n’ roll subculture, “Sugar Town” is
Robert Altman lite, a jokey, insubstantial pudding with a sprinkling of tasty
ingredients scattered through it. Broad and obvious in its humor and intent, pic is
most amusing as a look at rock musicians suffering through midlife crises. Younger
viewers are unlikely to care about the romantic and family problems of the mostly
aging characters here, leaving a target audience of older music and film fans drawn
by the cast and co-director Allison Anders’ rep. A modest reception on the
specialized circuit seems in store.

Script feels like a collection of domestic and music scene anecdotes thrown
together very quickly, so that even the funny ones come off like isolated gags,
rather than as part of a well-developed whole. In contrast to Anders’ and Kurt
Voss’ first collaboration, the dark and evocative “Border Radio,” which they
made at UCLA a decade ago, “Sugar Town” is a confection as shticky and
unnutritious as its title, as well as one crucially lacking a distinct point of view on
the shenanigans of its uniformly neurotic, self-involved characters.

Youngest important character is also the most obnoxious and mean-spirited.
Gwen (Jade Gordon) is an aspiring rock star who will stop at nothing on what she
sees as her predestined rise to the top. For the moment, however, she has to
work as a personal assistant, doing so for the brittle, unfulfilled film production
designer Liz (Ally Sheedy). The brazen Gwen thinks nothing of interrupting Liz at
the end of a date with music producer Burt (Larry Klein) and accepting a ride
home with him so she can instantly service him in the car to further her career.

For his part, Burt is trying to engineer a comeback for over-the-hill British glam
rockers Nick (Michael Des Barres of Detective and Power Station), Clive (John
Taylor of Duran Duran) and Jonesy (Martin Kemp of Spandau Ballet). Clive is
married to former movie scream queen Eva (Rosanna Arquette), who is fretting
over just having been offered a role as Christina Ricci’s mother in a picture, and
the pair’s lives are complicated when a weird woman dumps at their door a freaky
kid named Nerve (Vincent Berry), whom she claims is her love child with Clive.

Burt is having trouble finding backing for the band’s comeback until he meets a
glamorous, hard-as-nails wealthy widow, Jane (Beverly D’Angelo), who agrees to
put up the money only if she can have a roll in the hay with the sharp-looking
Nick. This is a major problem, however, since Nick sleeps only with

On the other side of the morality divide is studio musician Carl (John Doe), who
scrapes by on a farm with his ever-growing brood. Offered a job touring with
Latina singer Rosio (Lumi Cavazos), the down-home Carl resists because of
Rosio’s relentless sexual aggression with him, but his pregnant wife Kate (played
by a heavily pregnant Lucinda Jenney) urges him to do it for the money, which
puts Carl right in Rosio’s grasp.

Other mini-plots deal with Liz’s myriad dating problems, a couple of characters’
struggles with drugs and everyone’s uphill attempts to come up with good
material. Everything that happens is plausible and staged with dispatch, but it’s all
surfacy and familiar, at that.

One striking characteristic of the picture is the predatory nature of many of the
women, who dispense with any preliminaries whatsoever in going for what they
want; this is especially true of Gwen, Rosio and Jane, and applies by implications
to some of the hangers-on and groupies glimpsed around the fringes.

Sheedy’s Liz is a walking cliche of the tightly wound career woman, too maladroit
to manage a personal life. In contrast, the most appealing woman around is the
earth mother Kate, an emotionally honest and direct lady who has evolved past
self-absorption, but unfortunately has to deal with the pathetic advances of her
rehabbing brother-in-law while her husband is away.

Compared with the women, most of the guys are more world-weary and
laid-back, even if they’re desperate to continue or revive their careers. Again, the
insights into the music biz, and into L.A. life, are glib and glancing at best, even
though they are all no doubt drawn from reality.

Pic is largely cast to type, with Jenney, Des Barres, D’Angelo and Berry as the
impudent little bastard, standing out in the crowd. Lenser Kristien Bernier and
production designer Alyssa Coppleman work from a very bright palette, and
score is loaded with a variety of back-ground tunes.

Camera (FotoKem color), Kristien Bernier; editor, Chris Figler; music, Larry
Klein; production designer, Alyssa Coppleman; costume designer, Anita Cabada;
sound (Dolby), Aletha Rodgers, Paul Marshall; assistant director, Marshall
Crosby. Reviewed at Sundance Film Festival (Premieres), Jan. 26, 1999. Running
time: 92 MIN.


      simmy (
      Monday, February 01, 1999 11:27 AM

October sweet on 'Sugar'
Distrib shells out $1.25 mil for pic


PARK CITY, Utah — October Films has acquired North American rights to
Allison Anders and Kurt Voss’ rock ’n’ roll drama "Sugar Town," the centerpiece
premiere at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.

The film, which features an ensemble cast including Ally Sheedy, Rosanna
Arquette and Beverly D’Angelo, is a wryly humorous look at the L.A. music biz.

"Allison is one of the most outstanding talents in the film community," October
co-president Bingham Ray said. "We’ve respected her work for many years, and
are delighted to be finally working with her as well as with Kurt."

"Sugar," which Anders and Voss wrote and directed, was produced by Dan
Hassid and financed by the U.K.’s Film Four. Film Four Intl. retains foreign rights.

Sources indicated that October paid $1.25 million for rights to the pic. The
company admitted that it was a "seven-figure deal" but would not confirm the
exact sum.

Anders and Voss have already set up their next pic, the musically themed
"Groupies," at New Line Cinema. Kiss band member Gene Simmons is

Anders and Voss first collaborated on 1989’s "Border Radio." Voss’ other
directing credits include "Genuine Risk," "Baja," "Amnesia" and "The Pass."

Anders has also helmed "Gas Food Lodging," "Mi Vida Loca," a segment of
"Four Rooms" and "Grace of My Heart."

Headed by co-prexies Ray, Scott Greenstein and John Schmidt, October
previously acquired the comedy "Kill the Man" at Sundance for genre division
Rogue Pictures.

Ray, October VP Susan Glatzer and October senior VP of business affairs Avy
Eschanasy negotiated for the distrib. UTA and attorney Robert Ofer repped the

A Review from Utah.Citysearch.Com


The day filmmakers run out of things in Los Angeles to parody is the day the guy
down on the corner dancing around like a chimp and screaming about the
impending Apocalypse suddenly starts making sense. In the latest tongue-in-cheek
indictment of the Silicon Coast (a phrase which I am just now coining), the
writer/director tag-team of Allison Anders and Kurt Voss take aim at L.A.'s
oft-overlooked music industry.

See if you can keep up: Gwen (Jade Gordon), a conniving twentysomething with
the looks of Liz Phair and the songwriting skills of Liz Phair's dog, will do
whatever it takes to succeed. Her temporary stint as a housekeeper leads her to
Liz (Ally Sheedy), a health-conscious production designer desperate to date
again. Her best friend, Eva (Rosanna Arquette), sets her up with Burt, a producer
whose less-than-stellar efforts most recently included a pathetic hip-hop demo by
a group of 1980s rockers led by Eva's husband, Cliff (John Taylor of Durban
Durban fame). Meanwhile, Eva has been told, following her latest audition, that
she is wanted for the role of Christina Ricci's mother. The humanity!

Confused yet? Don't be. Anders and Voss weave the intertwined stories together
effortlessly, and their focus isn't so much on plot development as it is making fun of
just about every music-related stereotype they can think of. The wrinkled musician
who peaked in 1983 but still believes 18-year-old girls will revere him (a
caricature that accounts for nearly half the cast). The producer always on the brink
of The Next Big Thing. The aspiring singer who believes a little time on the casting
couch is all she needs to become The Next Big Thing.

Sugar Town's humor is certainly in its characters -- note to future directors: when
making fun of 1980s has-beens, it's funnier when you recruit actual has-beens to
help you do it -- but it's also in the 1990s pop-culture references peppered
throughout. The recent cinematic omnipresence of Christina Ricci, the illogical rise
of the Marilyn Manson makeover, our seemingly never-ending obsession with
health food -- it's all here, and for the most part the jabs offered up by Anders and
Voss are right on. With a script apparently crafted in a mere four days (we're
talking about parody, not brain surgery), Anders and Voss have created what
feels like an extended sit-com. Nothing very deep, but all of it very entertaining.

Clint Smith

CitySearch Nashville

- art slave –


      Tuesday, February 02, 1999 02:30 PM

In the Toledo Blade:


Once-sleepy Sundance has become a swirl of . . .

January 31, 1999



It’s 9 and snowing. It’s always snowing, either in bitter sideways blasts or, seemingly, one lazy flake at a
time. The night before the festival began on Jan. 21, 20 inches fell, and it hasn’t stopped. The filmgoers in
line wipe at their noses and hop in place and wonder aloud why they’re here. After all, the movie they
stand in line for, Sugartown, a funny ensemble piece about Los Angeles by Allison Anders, will open
nationally in a few weeks.

Actress Ally Sheedy, who, with two films in the festival, seems to be everywhere, walks by barking loudly
into a cell phone. She’s followed by Rosanna Arquette and former Duran Duran member John Taylor.
They linger outside the theater for a moment, then pop inside.


- art slave -

"that's not to say it doesn't please me sometimes..."

      PATTY: Please tell us this is true....! (2 of 2), Read 12 times
      The Podium
      Guru (
      Wednesday, February 03, 1999 12:00 AM

Hmmm..... a few weeks is a bit off! BUT the film did get picked up by October Films which means it will
be in theaters - just don't know when yet.