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Hbo Original Programming Grand Avenue

Mollie (Sheila Tousey) and her three kids -- teenagers Alice (Diane Debassige), Justine (beautiful Deeny Dakota) and young son Sheldon (Cody Lightning) -- pull into town both broke and disheartened. Molly's cousin Anna (Jenny Gago), husband Albert (Eloy Cassados) and their daughter Jeanne (Simi Mehta), who live on Grand Avenue, find them a house down the same road.

With:
Cast: A Martinez, Irene Bedard, Tantoo Cardinal, Dianne Debassige, Sheila Tousey, Deeny Dakota, Alexis Cruz, Jenny Gago, Cody Lightning, Eloy Cassados, Simi Mehta, Vicellous Reon Shannon, August Schellenberg, Sam Vlahos, Carmen Ahern, Quala Anderson, Preston Arrow-Weed, Delmar Billy, Rita Carillo, Tavis Campbell, Peter Carlstrom, Liisa Cohen, Terra Diva, Patricia Garcia, Richard Gross, Susan Harloe, Shar Jackson, Laurel Keith, Ron Kenoly, Jack Kohler , Danny Kovacs, Zahn McClarnon, Maria-Elena Mestayer, Miguel Najera, Trina Oliver, Bruce Roberts, Luis Saguar, Anita Silva, Juanita Tennyson, Bernice E. Torres, Aisha Tyler, Da'mon Vann, Suzanne Voss, Thelma Wong, Norris Young, Daniel Zapata. Amoving -- slow moving -- and somber account of three interrelated Native Americans living, scraping and scrapping in Northern California's Santa Rosa explores the characters from Greg Sarris' book as they live with the other shoe ready to drop. As one woman says, "We're Indians, Molly. So much (stuff) happens to us in our lives we get used to it." For viewers, tale gets pretty glum, which would be all right; trouble is, it's also sudsy.

Mollie (Sheila Tousey) and her three kids — teenagers Alice (Diane Debassige), Justine (beautiful Deeny Dakota) and young son Sheldon (Cody Lightning) — pull into town both broke and disheartened. Molly’s cousin Anna (Jenny Gago), husband Albert (Eloy Cassados) and their daughter Jeanne (Simi Mehta), who live on Grand Avenue, find them a house down the same road.

On the same busy street lives Molly’s onetime b.f., now school teacher-activist Steven (A Martinez), his dependable wife Reyna (Irene Bedard) and their teenage son Raymond (Alexis Cruz). Justine’s a special case — wild, defiant and “free-spirited,” i.e. loose. But Raymond’s smitten by her.

TX: TX:Filmed in Santa Rosa by Wildwood Enterprises and Elsboy Entertainment. Exec producers, Robert Redford, Paul Aaron, Rachel Pfeffer; co-exec producer-writer, Greg Sarris; producer, Tony To; director, Dan Sackheim; based on book by Sarris; During the shifting dramatic winds, healer-mystic Nellie (Tantoo Cardinal) befriends shy, lonely Alice, who’s worried about Justine. Comes another shift, and devilish Justine’s learning tennis from high school athlete Raymond while sister Alice makes a stab at the game with Raymond’s friend Anthony (Vicellous Reon Shannon). Everything’s worrisomely cozy; it’s bound to change.

Writer Sarris has corralled sufficient domestic conflicts and emotional jags to satisfy the most soap-addicted. Steven was once Molly’s boyfriend, and the unknowing Justine’s the result. So there’s good reason why volatile Molly hits the roof and why Steven’s in a rage when they learn Justine and Raymond are an item.

Teenage Jeanne, afflicted with brain cancer and now on chemotherapy, bravely faces life. And then there’s the old Indian burial ground that’s in danger …

Director Dan Sackheim, handling various story aspects about as deftly as can be expected, elicits several sharp portrayals from his actors.

Tousey’s ample Mollie is fiery, rich and commanding, and the actress makes her an imposing, badly wounded creature. Dakota’s flirtatious Justine is not only strikingly beautiful but convincing, as is Debassige’s sincere, even doleful Alice.

Martinez, plagued by his character, makes the earnest Steven dull, and Cardinal’s sincere Nellie is too low-key. In a secondary role, Sam Vlahos supplies Henry, Jeanne’s gramps, with dignity and humanness. Mehta’s Jeanne, Cruz’s Raymond, Bedard’s Reyna, Shannon’s exuberant Anthony, August Schellenberg’s sympathetic recovering alcoholic Sherman are solid.

James L. Carter’s lensing is proper and logical. Laurie Grotstein’s editing is generally acceptable, though there’s a looping lapse along the way. Peter Rodgers Melnick, Richard Rodgers’ grandson, penned the in-sync score, and Rita Coolidge’s voice turns up evocatively during some of the haunting chants and melodies.

Hbo Original Programming Grand Avenue

Production: HBO Original Programming GRAND AVENUE (Sun. (30), 8-11 p.m., HBO)

Crew: Camera, James L. Carter; editor, Laurie Grotstein; sound, Ken Segal; music, Peter Rodgers Melnick; production designer, Kitty Doris-Bates; casting, April Webster.

With: Cast: A Martinez, Irene Bedard, Tantoo Cardinal, Dianne Debassige, Sheila Tousey, Deeny Dakota, Alexis Cruz, Jenny Gago, Cody Lightning, Eloy Cassados, Simi Mehta, Vicellous Reon Shannon, August Schellenberg, Sam Vlahos, Carmen Ahern, Quala Anderson, Preston Arrow-Weed, Delmar Billy, Rita Carillo, Tavis Campbell, Peter Carlstrom, Liisa Cohen, Terra Diva, Patricia Garcia, Richard Gross, Susan Harloe, Shar Jackson, Laurel Keith, Ron Kenoly, Jack Kohler , Danny Kovacs, Zahn McClarnon, Maria-Elena Mestayer, Miguel Najera, Trina Oliver, Bruce Roberts, Luis Saguar, Anita Silva, Juanita Tennyson, Bernice E. Torres, Aisha Tyler, Da'mon Vann, Suzanne Voss, Thelma Wong, Norris Young, Daniel Zapata. Amoving -- slow moving -- and somber account of three interrelated Native Americans living, scraping and scrapping in Northern California's Santa Rosa explores the characters from Greg Sarris' book as they live with the other shoe ready to drop. As one woman says, "We're Indians, Molly. So much (stuff) happens to us in our lives we get used to it." For viewers, tale gets pretty glum, which would be all right; trouble is, it's also sudsy.

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