Miss Firecracker

Holly Hunter reprises her stage role [in Beth Henley's play The Miss Firecracker Contest] as Carnelle, a former goodtime girl whose dream is to win the local Miss Firecracker contest in her hometown of Yazoo City, Miss. Her cousin (Mary Steenburgen) won the crown over a decade earlier, and against all odds Carnelle makes it to the finals as an alternate.

With:
Holly Hunter Mary Steenburgen Tim Robbins Alfre Woodard Scott Glenn Trey Wilson

Holly Hunter reprises her stage role [in Beth Henley’s play The Miss Firecracker Contest] as Carnelle, a former goodtime girl whose dream is to win the local Miss Firecracker contest in her hometown of Yazoo City, Miss. Her cousin (Mary Steenburgen) won the crown over a decade earlier, and against all odds Carnelle makes it to the finals as an alternate.

Miss Firecracker is peopled with oddball characters, notably Tim Robbins as Steenburgen’s free spirit brother and Alfre Woodard as the black seamstress assigned to fabricate Carnelle’s contest costume.

Putting the show over with a bang is Hunter, the epitome of energy in a tailormade feisty role. She very accurately judges the line between high and low camp in her climactic tapdance for the talent contest, entertaining but just klutzy enough to be authentic.

Steenburgen and Woodard are consistent scene-stealers here, former dead-on as a Southern belle putting on airs and latter revivifying ethnic stereotypes such as bugged-out eyes into a hilarious, original character.

Miss Firecracker

Production: Corsair. Director Thomas Schlamme; Producer Fred Berner; Screenplay Beth Henley; Camera Arthur Albert; Editor Peter C. Frank; Music David Mansfield; Art Director Kristi Zea

Crew: (Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1989. Running time: 102 MIN.

With: Holly Hunter Mary Steenburgen Tim Robbins Alfre Woodard Scott Glenn Trey Wilson

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