YEAR: 1995

ROLE:  Snort Yarnell

DIRECTOR:  Tommy Lee Jones

US  TV PREMIERE:  March 5, 1995 on TNT

 
 Plot Summary

Based on Elmer Keltonís 1978 novel, "The Good Old Boys" follows the ambling exploits of Jonesí character Hewey Calloway, an aimless, dimly good-natured neíer do well cowboy continually at odds with an evolving world. Hewey finds himself always saying the wrong thing or screwing up in ways that seem only to hurt the ones he loves despite harboring only good intentions. His zest for living purely in the moment and eschewing any kind of plan or strategy for navigating the remainder of his life puts him in the crosshairs of land barons, a Sheriff, a rich, vengeful dandy, and his rigidly resentful sister-in-law.

 
Film Details

Tommy Lee JONES....... Hewey Calloway
Terry KINNEY...............Walter Calloway
Frances MCDORMAND....Eve Calloway
Sissy SPACEK...................Spring Renfro
Joaquin JACKSON........Sheriff  Wheeler
Wilford BRIMLEY..............C.C. Tarpley
Matt DAMON................Cotton Calloway
Walter OLKEWICZ................Fat Gervin
Bruce MCGILL...................City Marshall

 

 

 
Production Notes

Filmed in Texas: Alamo Village, Highway 674, Brackettville, Alpine, Del Rio and Fort Davis.

 
Images
 
 
Reviews

Steve Johnson, Chicago Tribune:
"Tommy Lee Jones more than redeems his shrill effort in last year's Natural Born Killers with his shimmering starring role in The Good Old Boys, a charming cowboy yarn that Jones also directed, artfully blending romance and adventure, the call of the hearth and that of the open sky. He plays Hewey Calloway, a true Texas cowboy trying to keep the modern era from tossing his era out of the saddle. He woos schoolmarm Sissy Spacek, aggravates his homesteading brother and sister-in-law, and spouts simple wisdom like a frontier Forrest Gump... Given the quality of the cast (Terry Kinney, Sam Shepard), it is perhaps silly to give Jones the director credit for the performances. But the gentle glow of this movie, based on Elmer Kelton's 1978 novel, should make viewers eager for more of Jones' work from the camera's narrow end."

Ken Tucker, Entertainment Weekly:
"Jones plays Hewey Calloway, a 20th-century cowboy who fought alongside Teddy Roosevelt in Cuba, talks to his horse, and prides himself on his steer-roping skill. After an absence of two years, he shows up at the farm of his brother, Walter (Terry Kinney), and Walter's grumpy wife, Eve (Frances McDormand). Actor-playwright Sam Shepard ambles in as Hewey's old buddy Snort Yarnell and does an excellent, snaggle-toothed Walter Brennan impersonation during much of his brief screen time."

Jonathan Taylor, Variety:
"A character like Jonesí Hewey Calloway is refreshing; heís the sort of man audiences donít see much anymore. Like his Western film ancestors stretching back to Gary Cooper and beyond, heís wild yet essentially decent, troubled yet an undeniably good soul, rough on the outside yet ultimately tender. In short, heís a classic movie cowboy, and Jones brings him to life vividly, with great skill and affection... Complications in his life arise when old cowboy buddy Snort Yarnell (Sam Shepard at his most gregarious) shows up and persuades Hewey to revert to some old, bad habits. Jones does a fine job of capturing the complexities of this bad old, good old boy, and in particular creates a character clearly distinct from his most famous Western character, Lonesome Doveís Woodrow Call."

David Hiltbrand, People Magazine:
"Jones not only stars in this film, he also directs. His performance is wonderful. Behind the camera, he tends to flatter the landscape more than the actors, who include Sam Shepard, Larry Mahan and Terry Kinney. All the characters are colorful, even if a good deal of their dialogue gets buried under their barbed-wire West Texas twangs."

Martie Zad, The Washington Post:
"For his directorial debut, Jones is surrounded by a cast considerably more renowned than those in the usual made-for-television movie. Terry Kinney plays his brother and Frances McDormand does a superb job as his practical and tough sisterin-law. Sam Shepard plays his cowboy crony, while Matt Damon and Blayne Weaver are very good as his nephews. Wilford Brimley and Walter Olkewicz also co-star.

Ray Loynd, LA Times:
"The Western is so ingrained with outlaws, gunslingers and saloons that it's hard to imagine any other approach. But Tommy Lee Jones draws on a radically different picture of the West in TNT's The Good Old Boys, which he co-wrote, stars in and directs... This is a Western without gunfire or even the threat of serious violence. The characters and builders we see, to quote novelist Kelton, are the West's 'main event,' not the storied gunslingers whom Kelton brushes off as 'the sideshow.' Jones' direction has an easy, indirect, sidesaddle brand of warmth, and his turn as the middle-aged cowboy protagonist Hewey Calloway is as distinct as a clod of dirt."

Critic John Voorhees:
"Set in Texas of the early 1900s (and filmed in Texas), The Good Old Boys is the story of two brothers, Hewey and Walter Calloway, played by Jones and Terry Kinney. While Walter has settled down to ranching, Hewey clings to the old cowboy ways, drifting from cattle drive to cattle drive. He knows that the world is changing, but in his heart he knows he'll never be part of this new century. With this as the background, The Good Old Boys is more like a collection of entertaining, sometimes sentimental snapshots of another era, another way of life. It's filled with oddball characters you either love or want to hiss, all brought to life by a talented cast that seems to be relishing their roles, as nostalgic for times gone by as Jones and Kelton clearly are...  Author/actor Sam Shepard has an affinity for good ol' boys and he appears to relish playing one of Hewey's trail-riding cowboy buddies."

Tom Jicha, Sun-Sentinel:
"TNT gambled on a first-time director and came up aces with The Good Old Boys. The only way the cable network could lure Oscar winner Tommy Lee Jones to the small screen was to provide him with the director he demanded - Tommy Lee Jones... It helped that the star and the director had strong feelings for their material. Jones also co-wrote the script, which is adapted from a novel by Elmer Kelton.
'It's not a western,' Jones said. 'It's a turn-of-the-century period piece. There's horses in it. But I wouldn't call it a western.' By any categorization, it's a worthwhile, if slow-paced, couple of hours of entertainment."