Jane Anderson's The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio is a suitably schizophrenic dramatic comedy based on Terry Ryan's autobiographical book set in suburban Ohio during the '50s and '60s, the end of America's "contest era". With its sunny face hiding its sad, struggling soul, it stars the lovely and ever-sharp (and gloriously freckled) Julianne Moore as Evelyn Ryan, a suburban mother who keeps her ten kids fed and clothed by entering every jingle and slogan contest she possibly can, winning cash and fabulous prizes. Woody Harrelson as her often-drunk but still-loving husband skillfully shifts from pathetic maniac to hurt pup, and the occasional fourth wall breaks work more often than not. Prize Winner is a sweet little movie, the kind that will make you want to call your mother and just say "thank you", and it is in theaters now.
Anderson has written big budget Hollywood fare, like It Could Happen To You and How To Make An American Quilt, and won an Emmy for writing Michael Ritchie's 1993 HBO movie, The Positively True Adventures of the Alleged Texas Cheerleader-Murdering Mom starring Holly Hunter. Anderson took the time to talk with Cinematical during her recent promotional tour.