Blue River (TV Movie 1995) Poster

(1995 TV Movie)

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Great Story
whpratt119 August 2008
Enjoyed this film which takes place in a Wisconsin town concerning two brothers. The story begins when Lawrence Sellers, a homeless drifter, shows up at the home of his brother Edward, a successful doctor, and then the film has flash's backs to their youth and the problems which made them drift apart for fifteen years. The older brother Lawrence, (Jerry O'Connel) is mentally troubled over their father who abandoned the family and he is determined not to let his family be humiliated. There are many deep secrets which exist in the entire family and the ending will be a great surprised. There is arson being committed throughout the town and the wrong man is accused of this crime.
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Beneath the surface lies the truth...and entertainment!
Guy1439 June 1999
If you're a fan of films like "The War" and "Now and Then," you'll love this made for TV movie. It has a great cast and superb acting and direction.

In a small Wisconsin town of Blue River, secrets run deep. And for Henry Howland, (Sam Elliott), high school principal and repressive moral Beacon of his community, they are about to explode in a shocking series of events that will shatter the smooth surface of his life forever.

Nick Stahl plays the young brother of the family slowly learning the secrets that the family and community holds hostage. His wildly brilliant brother (Jerry O'Connell) isn't what you call a good son. But when Henry Howland finally gets to him you will start to see the soft side that will destroy him bit-by-bit. Nick's best friend (Patrick Renna - The Sandlot) is a wild child also. He also has a mysterious side too. He loves to set old shacks and buildings on fire, likes to look at woman undress, and loves to take his mother's car out on the town while drinking hard liquor. What's so wild about that!?!

You're probably thinking this is one big messed up film but it isn't. It's one of the best Hallmark Entertainment movies I have ever seen. You'll laugh, cry, and be swept away as the secrets unfold in this mysterious drama. I recommend it for anyone who likes the drama genre (like me) and whenever you see it in the video store, rent it!!!
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Stahl Beats O'Connell By a Hair
rava-12 February 2005
Blue River has many things going for it and a few that detract from its potency. On the plus side, it features a literate script, decent direction and some fine acting. On the down side, it has some horrible hair and prosthetic make up and Jerry O'Connell.

Let's start with the worst -- Jerry O'Connell's performance... or maybe his hair, the acting wins out by a ... oh, I'm not going to say it.. Having only seen O'Connell in Stand By Me, where his character is rather endearing, his hammy overacting here came as quite a jarring surprise. One can almost hear O'Connell thinking, "I am an Actor!" every time he is on screen. He telegraphs every thought, every move, of his character, Lawrence, turning each into a "special moment." It doesn't help that his character is supposed to be mercurial and edgy, giving him an excuse to over emote. Check him out as he swills a beer and dramatically dashes the plastic cup to the ground. It is difficult not to laugh.

On the up side here is Nick Stahl's performance. Seeing these actors as a foil for each other only serves to highlight Stahl's talent all the more. Where O'Connell's artificiality is irritating, Stahl's naturalness is inspiring. He manages to take a much less meaty character than O'Connell's and imbue him with a depth and emotional reality that leaves a lasting impression. In the intense confrontations between the two brothers, Stahl's acting is the emotional center. As his character begins to see the cracks in his brother's lies, he allows the anger and dismay to naturally shine through.

Overall, the supporting actors here do a fine job. The scenes between Stahl's character and that played by Patrick Renna are great. Renna builds a complex and compelling youth whose own destructive nature mirrors that of Lawrence. Susan Dey looks great here in her fragile kookiness, but one gets the feeling that some of her scenes may have been cut out, leaving her character a bit underdeveloped. This is even more true for Sam Elliott, playing the flawed Henry Howland well, yet ultimately remaining flat. As the younger sister, Jean Marie Barnwell was impressive in her few scenes and left me thinking I will keep my eyes open for her in the future.

Blue River is well worth seeing despite its flaws. One can't help wishing that this project had been financed as a film rather than a TV movie, since it has such a fine script and might have done well. See it for the decent performances and story .... or to giggle at O'Connell's very bad hair day.
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Brothers in Harm
wes-connors6 March 2010
The story opens in the present… After fifteen years of non-communication, homeless and disheveled Jerry O'Connell (as Lawrence Sellers) arrives to visit his younger brother, handsome and successful Neal McDonough (as Edward "Ed" Sellers). Mr. McDonough gives his wayward sibling food, money, clothing, and a cleansing shower - but balks when Mr. O'Connell sheepishly asks if he can stay for a few days. All things considered, O'Connell says he would have reacted similarly. So, McDonough puts O'Connell on a bus headed out of town. Then, he recalls their youth…

In the past… Single mom Susan Dey is raising O'Connell with his brother (now played by Nick Stahl), and sister (Jean Marie Barnwell), in a small Wisconsin town. Young Stahl idolizes brother O'Connell, despite his juvenile delinquent tendencies. They live in a lovely home, but dysfunction reigns. Influenced by O'Connell, Stahl befriends Patrick Renna (as Zoltan Morris), a kid with one testicle and a taste for arson. Meanwhile, Ms. Dey takes comfort in Christianity, and dates religious principal Sam Elliott (as Henry Howland). Mr. Elliott is raising a disabled daughter…

Based on a novel by Ethan Canin and neatly directed by Larry Elikann, "Blue River" (their town) is a strange but satisfying TV drama. Things get off to a rocky start with O'Connell's freakish "Planet of the Apes" make-up job - but, this is more the result of uneven production values than skill; other aspects of the film look very good. The performances are excellent, right down to smallish roles like the one played by Merritt Wever; her "Lottie" is an outstanding debut. Although not finally nominated, it's likely that a few of the participants were considered for "Emmy" awards.

******* Blue River (11/21/95) Larry Elikann ~ Jerry O'Connell, Nick Stahl, Susan Dey, Sam Elliott
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Well acted, picturesque, but the pieces do not all fit
robbotnik200014 September 2007
This is a highly watchable film, with enough adult content that if you see the movie with young alert children, you will be answering some questions, but unfortunately the questions relating to plot will be unanswerable. We are presented with some mature troubles that do not have happy resolutions, unfortunately these ultimately are left floating.

The film has more of an appearance of bringing up such mature issues as sexual politics, vengeance, obsessive behavior, but due to the plot weakness, it can't face them squarely.

It compares to a certain extent with such brother on brother movies as "A River Runs Through It" but lacks the thoroughness that makes greatness, as with such a movie as "To Kill A Mockingbird"
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First Class Film Making
CaliOtelo16 September 2007
For the longest time I wanted to see this film but I never had the chance until this week: September 14th, 2007. I was kind of worried that too much time passed by since this film was done in 1995, and that maybe it wouldn't meet my expectations... And, oh, wow... What a surprise! What an awesome surprised! I am so very glad I had this chance showing me time doesn't matter when we talk about an entire team making true-pure-talented-gold. I was delighted. I felt good from head to toes... Yes, a great but total experience. So much I loved the film that I ordered a few copies for my families, friends and of course, for me. Never, but never I've seen and experienced such superb acting by Jerry O'Connell. I've seen him many times before but, if the audience wants to really know if this is a great actor or if this is just another one of them, here is your chance. I assure you this will be your chance but more than that, a total experience. Not just my admiration but also my hat off -way off- to a great, talented actor: Jerry O'Connell that took very seriously upon his shoulders his task as main protagonist. His supporters couldn't be better because this "team of actors" really showed their outstanding talents, such as Nick Stahl and our great Sam Elliott. The plot keeps you guessing and there's always a surprise and totally changes all of your assumptions. From beginning to end this is an amazing and so well executed film. And, when we talk about a good execution we must credit it to Director Larry Elikann; to its writers; sets are so very perfect!; the lighting that gives you that extra kick into your senses; the editing; and everyone else involved in this great cinema making. Fron its producers to all of his incredible and talented actors... I mean to the very last punctuation mark on the very last credit on your screen... Really. That is how good this film makes you feel.
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