Sugar Town (film)

Last updated
Sugar Town
SugarTown Film Poster.jpg
Film poster for Sugar Town
Directed by Allison Anders
Kurt Voss
Produced by Daniel Hassid
Written by Allison Anders
Kurt Voss
Distributed by October Films
USA Films
Release date
  • September 17, 1999 (1999-09-17)(U.S.)
Running time
92 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$178,095

Sugar Town is a 1999 independent film co-written and co-directed by Allison Anders and Kurt Voss, concerning a tangled web of characters coping with ambition, fame, and the aftermath of fame. The film was named after the 1966 hit single Sugar Town by Nancy Sinatra.


Anders was eager to make another film about the music industry after her earlier films Border Radio and Grace of My Heart . After her friend John Taylor had left Duran Duran and was beginning to launch an acting career, she and Voss wrote the film fairly quickly, and cast several musical friends of hers in the convoluted plot.

The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival on January 26, 1999, where it received a distribution deal with October Films and USA Films. Sugar Town was then shown in limited release in the United States in September of that year, before appearing at several overseas film festivals.

Plot summary

Real rock stars play the roles of Clive (Duran Duran bassist John Taylor), Jonesey (former Spandau Ballet bassist Martin Kemp), and Nick (singer/actor Michael Des Barres), who form an aging supergroup built of refugees from other bands. They and their producer Burt seek backing from Jane (Beverly D'Angelo), a rich investor who will only help if the singer will sleep with her.

Liz (Ally Sheedy) is a neurotic film production designer who has just hired a conniving young housekeeper and would-be singer named Gwen (Jade Gordon). Liz searches hopelessly for a decent man while Gwen commits acts of shameless cruelty in the service of her ambition.

Best friend to Liz is Clive's wife Eva (Rosanna Arquette), an older actress who is struggling to get good roles. Clive and Eva's life is thrown into upheaval when a cult member shows up on their doorstep to drop off a surly 12-year-old "love child" that she claims Clive fathered.

A subplot involves guitarist Carl (singer John Doe of X), who is hired to travel away from his pregnant wife (Lucinda Jenney) by a singer with ulterior motives (Lumi Cavazos), just as his junkie brother emerges from rehab and comes to stay with the family.


Main cast

Supporting cast


Sugar Town received generally mixed reviews from critics. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes gives the film an approval rating of 67%, based on 24 reviews, with an average rating of 6.18/10. [1] In Roger Ebert's review, he states, "The movie is not profound or tightly plotted or a 'statement,' nor should it be. It captures day-to-day drifting in a city without seasons, where most business meetings are so circular and unfocused it's hard to notice when they stop resulting in deals and simply exist for their own sake." [2]

Related Research Articles

Rosanna Arquette American actress

Rosanna Lisa Arquette is an American actress, film director, and film producer. She was nominated for an Emmy Award for her performance in the TV film The Executioner's Song (1982), and won the BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for the film Desperately Seeking Susan (1985). Her other film roles include After Hours, The Big Blue (1988), Pulp Fiction (1994), and Crash (1996). She also directed the documentary Searching for Debra Winger (2002), and starred from 2006 to 2007 in the ABC sitcom What About Brian?

Patricia Arquette American actress

Patricia Arquette is an American actress. She made her feature film debut as Kristen Parker in A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987). Her other notable films include True Romance (1993), Ed Wood (1994), Flirting with Disaster (1996), Lost Highway (1997), The Hi-Lo Country (1998), Bringing Out the Dead (1999), Stigmata (1999), Holes (2003), Fast Food Nation (2006), The Wannabe (2015), and Toy Story 4 (2019). For playing a divorced mother in the coming-of-age drama film Boyhood (2014), which was filmed from 2002 until 2014, Arquette received widespread critical praise and won several awards, including the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.

<i>Bottle Rocket</i> 1996 film by Wes Anderson

Bottle Rocket is a 1996 American crime-comedy film directed by Wes Anderson with a screenplay by Anderson and Owen Wilson based on Anderson's 1994 short film of the same name. In addition to being Wes Anderson's feature-length directorial debut, Bottle Rocket was the debut feature for brothers Owen and Luke Wilson, who co-starred with James Caan and Robert Musgrave.

<i>Desperately Seeking Susan</i> 1985 film by Susan Seidelman

Desperately Seeking Susan is a 1985 American comedy-drama film directed by Susan Seidelman and starring Rosanna Arquette and Madonna. Set in New York, the plot involves the interaction between two women – a bored housewife and a bohemian drifter – linked by various messages in the personal column of a newspaper.

<i>Desert Blue</i> 1998 film by Morgan J. Freeman

Desert Blue is a 1998 American comedy-drama film written and directed by Morgan J. Freeman, starring Brendan Sexton III, Kate Hudson, Christina Ricci, Casey Affleck, Sara Gilbert and John Heard.

<i>Things Behind the Sun</i> 2001 film by Allison Anders

Things Behind the Sun is a 2001 film directed by Allison Anders and starring Kim Dickens and Gabriel Mann. Its title is taken from a song by Nick Drake. It was released to television by Showtime and given a limited theatrical release.

Allison Anders American independent film director

Allison Anders is an American independent film director whose films include Gas Food Lodging, Mi Vida Loca and Grace of My Heart. Anders has collaborated with fellow UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television graduate Kurt Voss and has also worked as a television director. Anders' films have been shown at the Cannes International Film Festival and at the Sundance Film Festival. She has been awarded a MacArthur Genius Grant as well as a Peabody Award.

<i>Baby Its You</i> (film) 1983 film by John Sayles

Baby It's You is a 1983 American comedy/drama film written and directed by John Sayles. It stars Rosanna Arquette and Vincent Spano.

<i>Gypsy 83</i> 2001 film by Todd Stephens

Gypsy 83 is a 2001 drama film, written and directed by Todd Stephens. The film is about two young goths, Gypsy and Clive, who travel to New York for an annual festival celebrating their idol, Stevie Nicks.

<i>The Whole Nine Yards</i> (film) 2000 film by Jonathan Lynn

The Whole Nine Yards is a 2000 American crime black comedy film directed by Jonathan Lynn and distributed by Warner Bros. It was written by Mitchell Kapner and stars Bruce Willis, Matthew Perry, Amanda Peet, Michael Clarke Duncan, and Natasha Henstridge. Its story follows dentist "Oz" Oseransky as he travels to Chicago to inform a mob boss about the whereabouts of his new neighbor, who is a former mob contract killer now police informant with a price on his head.

Hell's Kitchen is a 1998 film starring Rosanna Arquette, William Forsythe, Angelina Jolie, Mekhi Phifer, and Johnny Whitworth. The film was written and directed by Tony Cinciripini. The film had a budget of $6,000,000 but grossed only $4,322 on its opening weekend.

<i>Nobodys Fool</i> (1986 film) 1986 film by Evelyn Purcell

Nobody's Fool is a 1986 comedy film written by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Beth Henley. It stars Rosanna Arquette, Eric Roberts and Mare Winningham.

Kurt Voss is an American film director, screenwriter and musician-songwriter. Voss's credits include Will Smith's debut Where The Day Takes You; the Justin Theroux, Alyssa Milano and Ice T action film Below Utopia; actress Jaime Pressly's debut feature Poison Ivy: The New Seduction, and rock and roll related films including Down and Out with the Dolls and Ghost on The Highway: A Portrait of Jeffrey Lee Pierce and The Gun Club.

<i>The Divide</i> (2011 film) 2011 post-apocalyptic horror film directed by Xavier Gens

The Divide is a post-apocalyptic horror film directed by Xavier Gens and written by Karl Mueller and Eron Sheean. It stars Michael Biehn, Lauren German, Milo Ventimiglia and Rosanna Arquette. The Divide was first screened at the SXSW festival in March 2011, then released in theaters in the United States on January 13, 2012, to negative reviews. It was released on DVD in the United States on April 17, 2012.

<i>Peace, Love & Misunderstanding</i> 2011 film by Bruce Beresford

Peace, Love & Misunderstanding is a 2011 American comedy-drama film directed by Bruce Beresford and starring Jane Fonda, Catherine Keener, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Elizabeth Olsen, Nat Wolff, Chace Crawford, Kyle MacLachlan, and Rosanna Arquette. It was filmed in the town of Woodstock, New York, the same town in which the film is set. The film had a gala premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 13, 2011. It was released to theaters on June 8, 2012, starting in limited release. It was released on DVD and Blu-ray Disc on October 2, 2012.

<i>The Pact</i> (2012 film) 2012 television film directed by Nicholas McCarthy

The Pact is a 2012 American supernatural horror film written and directed by Nicholas McCarthy and starring Caity Lotz and Casper Van Dien. The film was made following the success of McCarthy's short film of the same name which premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. The film follows Annie, whose mother has recently died, as she tries to discover what caused her sister Nicole and her cousin Liz to disappear. The film premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival on January 20, opening to generally favorable reviews. The film was released in the United States on June 6, 2012 in select cinemas and May 8, 2012 in the UK and Ireland.

<i>Hello I Must Be Going</i> (2012 film) 2012 film by Todd Louiso

Hello I Must Be Going is a 2012 American comedy-drama film written by Sarah Koskoff and directed by Todd Louiso. It stars Melanie Lynskey, Christopher Abbott and Blythe Danner. The film had its world premiere at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, and was released theatrically in the United States on September 7, 2012. The title is a reference to a song from the Marx Brothers' film Animal Crackers.

<i>The Haunting of Seacliff Inn</i> 1994 film by Walter Klenhard

The Haunting of Seacliff Inn is a 1994 American made-for-television mystery film starring Ally Sheedy and William R. Moses. It was written by Walter Klenhard and Tom Walla and directed by Klenhard. The film originally aired on USA Network on September 22, 1994.

<i>SPF-18</i> 2017 film directed by Alex Israel

SPF-18 is a 2017 American coming-of-age romantic comedy film directed by Alex Israel in his directorial debut. Israel co-wrote the screenplay with Michael Berk. The film stars Carson Meyer, Noah Centineo, Bianca A. Santos, Jackson White, Molly Ringwald and Rosanna Arquette, and is narrated by Goldie Hawn.

<i>This Is Not Berlin</i> 2019 Mexican film

This Is Not Berlin, is a 2019 Mexican drama film directed by Hari Sama. The film was presented on 25 January 2019 at the Sundance Festival, and it premiered on 21 June 2019 in Spain. Sama portrays the film as autobiographical, as it is inspired by his life in the 80s in Mexico.


  1. "Sugar Town (1999)". Rotten Tomatoes . Fandango. Retrieved October 19, 2019.
  2. Ebert, Roger (October 4, 1999). "Sugar Town". Retrieved August 11, 2015.