The very awkwardly named Come Back to the 5 & Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean is Robert Altman’s first feature film after the huge misfire that was Popeye, a film that caused him to depart from Hollywood. The movie seemingly follows the play it was based on very closely, taking place in one single set: A worn down Five and Dime store in a small town located somewhere in Texas. A similar setup was seen in the following year in Altman’s Streamers, where the concept worked tremendeously well and remains to be one of my favorite movies of the era.
The movie tells a story of a James Dean fanclub having a reunion after years of inactivity. Some of the members have moved on to another places while the other are stuck in the same little town and store. It’s an uncomplicated story told in a somewhat complicated way in a context that will not necessarily open up to your average viewer these days.
Come Back to the 5 & Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean is a plain interpersonal drama that stays much too subtle until the end. There are many individual good moments here but overall the movie seems to either stand still or slow down to near halt, without never quite being able to really hold up my interest.