Clint Eastwood's HONKYTONK MAN is certainly one of the actor-director's gentler works.
The low-key period film takes place during the depression, with Eastwood starring as Red Stovall, a struggling country singer on the verge of his big break.
Red's been invited to audition for the Grand Ole Opry, but as the film opens, he's a long way from success.
He shows up at his sister's Oklahoma home drunk, in a stolen car, and suffering from tuberculosis. His sister ends up sending her son, Whit (Kyle Eastwood), along with Red to Nashville to make sure he gets to his audition in one piece.
The interaction between Red and his 14-year-old nephew is the focus of the film. Eastwood again plays a rather unreliable type. Red is a bit of a scoundrel, and he and Whit get into quite a bit of trouble on their way to Tennessee, as Red's health deteriorates.
At one point, they pick up a teenage prostitute (Alexa Kenin) who begs them to take her along to Nashville so she can pursue a singing career.
Eastwood's film captures the period and the desperate straits of his characters perfectly while maintaining a light and humorous tone.