Small Town Saturday Night (DVD)

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Small Town Saturday Night (DVD)

Production Year: 2010 - Drama - Director: Ryan Craig - Original Language: English - Classification: 15 years and over - Starring: Bre Blair, Chris Pin...

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Review of "Small Town Saturday Night (DVD)"

published 20/04/2017 | CelticSoulSister
Member since : 25/10/2009
Reviews : 1413
Members who trust : 231
About me :
Pro Well-acted/directed, heartwarming in parts, amusing in parts, interesting
Cons Takes a little getting into, jumps about somewhat
Did you enjoy it?
Characters / Performances
Special Effects

"Interwoven lives"

RELEASED: 2010, Cert.15

RUNNING TIME: Approx. 1hr 34mins


PRODUCERS: Ryan Craig, Charlie Mason, Justin Moore-Lewy & Wonder Fortune Serra

MUSIC: Stephen Bertrand


Chris Pine as Rhett Ryan
Bre Blair as Samantha Carson
Shawn Christian as Det. Tommy Carson
John Hawkes as Donny Watson
Robert Pine as John Ryan
Adam Hendershott as Les Ryan
Lin Shaye as Phyllis Ryan
Octavia Spencer as Rhonda Dooley
Brent Briscoe as Travis
Scott Michael Campbell as Dwayne Murphy
Muse Watson as Charlie



The setting is a very small California town called Prospect.

Rhett Ryan is a promising country singer/songwriter. He and his partner Samantha Carson – who is still married to, but separated from the father (Det. Tommy Carson) of her little girl – are madly in love and are putting the final touches to their plan of moving to Nashville where Rhett believes he can make a successful living as a country singer.

Nasty guy Donny Watson has just been released from prison and makes his way home. As soon as he hits his home town of Prospect, he has a mild altercation with Det. Tommy Carson. Donny then tries to move back into his old trailer home but is told by the manager that he can’t until he settles several months’ worth of rent arrears. All Donny really wants is to re-connect with his little son, but he chooses a bad way of going about trying to make that connection. Donny’s father Charlie owns the local garage where Rhett and the lazy Travis work…..Charlie is just as much of a lout as is his son Donny.

Det. Tommy Carson is distraught that Samantha and their child are on the verge of moving to Nashville with Rhett, as he fears he may never see his little daughter again.

Rhett’s younger brother Les is overweight, a little on the inadequate side and is the constant butt of good-natured teasing from the townsfolk, but his main problem lies at home with his nonchalant father (John) and overbearing mother (Octavia).

The film follows through little slices of life of these characters, focusing on how they both connect and influence one another’s immediate futures.


Small Town Saturday Night is one of these films I went into blind, but the title fascinated me so I hoped it would be at least halfway good.

I settled in well at first, when we see the obnoxious Donny return home after a spell in prison, his behaviour obviously not tempered by his incarceration. Things then shift to Rhett and Samantha obviously very much in love plus initially looking forward to moving away to Nashville….but, due to feeling guilty about taking her little girl away from Det. Carson (her husband who she is separated from), Samantha starts to have second thoughts.

All is largely chaos inside of the Ryan household where Octavia rules the roost and things start to take a turn for the worst at the garage where Rhett and the lazy Travis both work.

The acting in Small Town Saturday Night is of a high standard, with my favourite being that of John Hawkes as the rather nasty ex-con Donny. Somewhere deep down inside of his very tough-guy stance, sparks a tiny flame of humanity, but it does take a while to locate and even when it is noticed, it is both minor and brief. Hawkes perfects the role, coming across as hostile, beautifully sneering, contemptuous, aggressive and thoroughly nasty. Although I think everybody acted their roles well, I feel that Hawkes could almost in this film be creeping towards Oscar standard, especially during his altercation with Det. Tommy Carson which is close to the beginning of what is a collection of connected situations and a ricocheting chain of events, rather than a conventional storyline.

As far as the music is concerned, it for the most part is perfectly acceptable, consisting of occasional quiet twiddles on a guitar. Now and again a bit of country/rock will rear its head, but I promise there is no C&W of the trucks, railroads, dead teddy bears, standing by one’s man and endless conversations on CB radio type.

I have no idea if Prospect is a real place, but there is no doubt it is absolutely beautiful. You can feel the summer heat shimmering as the sun beats down from a cloudless, bright blue sky and although the general living conditions of the residents are far from salubrious, there is an atmosphere of pleasantness emanating from this tiny community nestling in the mountains and pine forests.

It did take me a little while to completely get into Small Town Saturday Night as I at first was having problems not just linking the characters and their stories up with one another, but trying to remember who was who and in addition, who was related to who. The film was over halfway through before I realised that Rhett and John are brothers! This initial lack of connection for me I feel to have been the result of the linked up storylines (linked up through the characters I mean) jumping about rather a lot. However, it does settle down later on in the film and I did eventually manage to work out who was who.

Despite various interlinked problems many of the townspeople of Prospect are experiencing, one thing that leapt out of the screen at me was this huge barrel-load of warmth from one character to another….across the board, and yes, even the nastier ones are capable of dredging up an occasional piece of niceness out of themselves. The community spirit is massively strong, possibly because most of the residents accept each other as they are, not expecting anything other than what you see is what you get, and nobody is attempting to outdo anybody else. I found all that quite heartwarming….a feeling which was accentuated by the beauty of the location.

Once my initial and slight sense of confusion was over, I was able to sit back and relax, very much enjoying this film where the main focus is on the characters and how their lives intertwine. The whole of the film takes place probably only over a period of a couple of days, but rather a lot happens in that time. However, despite much being crammed into just over an hour and a half running time, everything that happens is entirely feasible and I found myself linking in very well with the main characters, almost feeling as though I was getting to know them.

Usually I find that American films of this nature aren’t too well constructed, but this one is perfect, so maybe at long last they have got it right? My preference from this type of film has always by far been out of the British bag, but this one from across the pond really is good once you get into it.

Perhaps Small Town Saturday Night does take a while to really get going, but once it does, it is a fascinating journey into the interconnecting lives of a handful of ordinary people, plus the various outcomes of a chain of events. In that instance, I’d urge anybody planning to watch the film, to hang on in there, stay with it, and you won’t be disappointed.

Another thing I enjoyed about this film is a touch of humour here and there….one particular scene involving a hooker almost made me spit my Ribena all over my keyboard (with laughter I mean!!) It is gentle humour and sparse, but it does exist, lightening up what in parts is otherwise a very serious set of circumstances that are glued together to make a story. Another scene which made me laugh out loud was something Rhett’s brother John does and says. Both of those what in my opinion are the best humorous moments in this film are fairly close to the beginning, but there are little amusing snippets, perhaps on a more minor level, scattered throughout.

There is no sex in Small Town Saturday Night (or at least I don’t recall any) and only a tiny bit of low key violence, but the film does contain rather a lot of heavy-duty swearing, so that could upset one or two people who are offended by dialogues which are liberally seasoned with some pretty strong language.

I did find the ending a touch on the twee side, but am prepared to forgive that simply because taken as a whole and once used to the jumping about from character to character and situation to situation, this really is a neat little film which is very well-acted, very well-constructed, humorous in parts and has a strong human element…..I am tempted to say that I loved it, but I’ll settle for having liked it very much.

As for my star rating, well it gets four from me. The reason why I knock one off is due to the initial sense of confusion caused by the bitty-ness during the first twenty or so minutes of the film as that caused me to not be immediately pulled in; but, as said above, once I did manage to work out who was who and what was what, I thoroughly enjoyed the whole thing. A little patience is required though, because it does take a while before anything major happens.

Would I recommend Small Town Saturday Night? Yes, very much so, especially to people who go for the human element in their films above things like action, blood/guts/gore, fantasy or anything else which movie-makers use to try and draw an audience by creating something they hope will turn into a blockbuster. I would go as far as to say that this is one of the very best American films I’ve seen of this nature, although I still think ultimately the Brits are better at it. They are getting there though and this one sort of gradually creeps up on you.


At the time of writing, Small Town Saturday Night can be purchased from Amazon as follows:-

New: from £2.72 to £39.90
Used: only 2 copies currently available @ £1.92 & £15.06

Some DVDs on Amazon are available for free delivery within the UK, but where this doesn’t apply, a £1.26 charge should be added to the above figures.

Thanks for reading!

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Comments on this review

  • rolandrat123 published 07/05/2017
  • IzzyS published 01/05/2017
    Thoroughly reviewed.
  • Violet1278 published 24/04/2017
    A brilliant review. E from me.
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Product Information : Small Town Saturday Night (DVD)

Manufacturer's product description

Production Year: 2010 - Drama - Director: Ryan Craig - Original Language: English - Classification: 15 years and over - Starring: Bre Blair, Chris Pine - Studio: HIGH FLIERS, Technicolor Distribution Services


Listed on Ciao since: 10/11/2011