The year is 1950; the location is Harmony, a small town in Alabama. Piano player Tyrone Purvis (Danny Glover) is the proprieter of the Honeydripper lounge, but he's on the brink of losing the joint, and everything that can go wrong for Purvis is going wrong for Purvis. He owes money to just about everybody, and the rival gathering place across the way is getting all the local business. His bluesy sound just isn't enough to bring in the bodies he needs to stay afloat; his wife is seeking spiritual satisfaction at a tent revival, where the pastor is encouraging her to cut her ungodly husband loose; his stepdaughter is too pretty for her own good; and the white sheriff won't leave him alone.
John Sayles's Honeydripper follows Purvis through a few days in his life, days where he gears up for his last-chance, make-or-break Saturday night. But life still goes on while Purvis plans and frets. Death, jail and the cotton harvest are inevitable constants in this rural area, and the threads of different stories taking place during Purvis's struggle weave themselves into the overall tapestry of the film. The blind guitar player Shack Thomas keeps watch on his corner of the world, dripping nonsense and wisdom like a soulful Shakespearean jester. Honeydripper is about music, blues and the birth of rock and roll, but it's also about treading water in an environment that's trying to drag you under.
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Honeydripper opens Friday, February 22, at Neighborhood Flix Cinema & Cafe, 2510 East Colfax Avenue. Call 303-777-FLIX or visit www.neighborhoodflix.com.