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"ULEE'S GOLD"
(1997) (Peter Fonda, Patricia Richardson) (R)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Mild Mild Moderate Mild Mild
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Mild None None *Minor Extreme
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Minor None Heavy Minor Moderate


QUICK TAKE:
Drama: A solitary beekeeper must deal with his estranged daughter-in-law and two thugs who want money his convict son has hidden.
PLOT:
Ulee Jackson (PETER FONDA) is a solitary Florida beekeeper who, when not tending to his hives, is raising his grandchildren, Casey (JESSICA BIEL), a teenage rebel, and her younger sister Penny (VANESSA ZIMA). Their father, Jimmy (TOM WOOD) is in prison, and their mother, Helen (CHRISTINE DUNFORD) is a drug addict. Ulee is a loner who refuses anyone's help or companionship, and wants nothing to do with his granddaughters' parents. When Jimmy calls, however, saying that Helen's in trouble with his former thug partners, Eddie Flowers (STEVEN FLYNN) and Ferris Dooley (DEWEY WEBER), Ulee feels committed to help. He finds Helen strung out on drugs, but worse yet discovers that Jimmy hid some money from a robbery that Eddie and Ferris now want. As he takes Helen back home and gets help tending to her from Connie Hope (PATRICIA RICHARDSON), a neighboring nurse, he must deal with the two thugs who come looking for their money.
WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Unless your children are fans of a cast member, it's highly unlikely.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
For language.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • PETER FONDA plays a solitary man who refuses others' help and is distant to those around at him, but he warms up just a bit by the story's end.
  • JESSICA BIEL plays a rebellious teenager who is disrespectful to her grandfather at first, but changes her ways as the story progresses.
  • CHRISTINE DUNFORD plays a woman who abandoned her kids for a life as a drug addict. She's forced to go straight and starts to develop a relationship with her girls.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    OUR TAKE: 7.5 out of 10
    Here's a recipe for an interesting character. Combine the looks and grandfather-like ways of Henry Fonda in his later roles with liberal amounts of the more stoic and stiff-jawed characters that Clint Eastwood has played. The yield: One Ulee Jackson, the patriarch of the Jackson clan in "Ulee's Gold." While it's hard to think of Peter Fonda (of "Easy Rider" fame) in this sort of role, he convincingly pulls it off and this may be the performance that returns him to the Hollywood spotlight. At first, his slow, almost forced delivery is unsettling and almost makes one think that the wrong actor was cast in the part. As the story progresses, however, you quickly start to like this guy, want to know more about him, and realize that Fonda is playing him perfectly. Having lost his trademark long locks and donning a pair of grandfather-like wire rim spectacles, Fonda at times uncannily looks like his dad, and that amazing resemblance works in his favor. While the story is a bit slow, and was intentionally paced that way, it's more than suitable to showcase Fonda and the other cast members' fine performances. Like those stoic characters that Eastwood so popularized, one imagines that Ulee will explode as the pressure cooker of his life puts the squeeze on him. Some early foreshadowing leads us to that expectation, but it's great to see that director Victor Nunez ("Ruby in Paradise") took the high ground and avoided the anticipated "butt-kicking" conclusion. That obviously won't sit well with those looking for the stereotypical Dirty Harry like retribution, but then again those audience members probably won't be seeing this film. Accordingly, those looking for an antidote to this summer's high testosterone level, slam bam event films need look no further than this little, but surprisingly effective film. We give it a 7.5 out of 10.
    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    The two biggest issues of concern in this movie are the profanity and the behavior and attitude of the two thugs. Nearly ten "f" words are uttered (and easily could have been left out) and a few milder words are heard as well. A woman is a drug addict and goes through withdrawal, but no drug use is seen. She and her convict husband have abandoned their children, thus causing Ulee to raise his grandkids. Two thugs terrorize and threaten Ulee and his family and in one scene one of them stabs Ulee in the back. Beyond that, there's very little to object to in this film that very few kids will want to see.

    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • People drink beer in a pool hall.
  • Helen is on some sort of drug and goes through withdrawal once Ulee has taken her back home.
  • A bottle of booze is sitting next to Eddie with some in a glass, but no consumption is seen.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • Ulee's shirt gets rather bloody after he's been stabbed in the back.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Ulee is a loner and refuses the help that anyone offers him.
  • Casey, being in that teenage rebellious age, is disrespectful to her grandfather, such as when he tells her to be home by a certain time, she tells him to make her.
  • Jimmy, Eddie and Dooley had/have both as they're small-time thieves, and both Eddie and Dooley continue to be "bad guys."
  • Ferris sits next to Casey on the couch and has his hands all over her until Eddie tells him to stop.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Some audience members may find a few scenes listed under "Violence" as being tense, but they are not specifically designed to be that way.
  • Ulee comes home to find Eddie and Ferris there holding a gun on the women. Later, the women are tied with duct tape to their chairs as the men take Ulee to retrieve their money.
  • Ulee briefly contemplates picking up Eddie's gun after he and Ferris celebrate over their money. Ulee kicks the gun into the swamp, however, and there's a brief confrontation that quickly ends.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Handgun: Used by Eddie to threaten people in several scenes.
  • Knives: Used by Ferris to threaten Ulee and by Eddie to stab Ulee in the back.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "Jack ass," "Bastards," "Scum," "Creep," "Shut up," and "Idiot."
  • Casey is somewhat of a rebel. In one scene she has multicolored hair and a pierced nose.
  • Eddie and Ferris tape the women to their chairs with duct tape, including strips of tape around their heads to cover their mouths.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • None.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • A song playing on the radio in Eddie's car MAY repeatedly use the "f" word, but it's hard to tell for sure.
  • PROFANITY
  • 9 "f" words (1 used sexually), 5 "s" words, 6 hells, 6 damns, 5 craps, 2 "ass" words (1 used with "hole"), and 2 uses each of "God" and "G-damn" (1 is incomplete), and 1 use of "For God's sake" as exclamations.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • Ulee briefly mentions having to keep Casey's hormones in check so that she doesn't become a parent sooner than her father did.
  • SMOKING
  • None.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • This is a big dysfunctional family. Ulee keeps his granddaughters because their father is in prison and their mother is a junkie. In addition, Ulee's wife died six years ago and he hasn't been the same since. Penny is an unhappy young girl while Casey is a rebel who doesn't like living with Ulee.
  • Casey is mad at her dad since he hasn't responded to any of her letters.
  • Connie briefly mentions that she's twice divorced.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Beekeeping and the production of honey.
  • Dysfunctional families.
  • Drug use and going through withdrawal.
  • VIOLENCE
  • Ferris comes after Ulee who slams him behind a door that he then uses to pin the thug against the wall. Eddie pulls a gun, though, and holds it to Ulee's chin to make him let Ferris go.
  • Ulee and Connie have to restrain Helen physically as she thrashes about in the house and later in bed. In doing so, she knocks things over and tries to hit Ulee with a lamp.
  • Upon hearing that his two former partners may be coming after his daughters, Jimmy tells Ulee to kill both of them.
  • Ferris threatens Ulee with a knife, and in the next scene Eddie stabs Ulee in the back, wounding him.



  • Reviewed May 29, 1997

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