Country Justice

There are woefully few photos of this movie online for me to rip off,
so you will have to settle for this pic of George C. Scott slapping someone.

With a name like "Country Justice," I was hoping that the runner-up of Pick-a-Flick Friday wasn't going to contain many courtroom scenes--and that's even before I knew it was a movie about a custody case. As anyone who has gotten the flu or had a bad break-up can attest to, if you watch LMN for more than 10 hours, a child custody plotline is bound to crop up. And I've found that the fewer courtroom scenes in the movie, the better.

This isn't really surprising, considering that Lifetime movie writers aren't really known for their way with language and understanding of the law. But that doesn't seem to stop them from trying to explain complex social issues through trite courtroom scenes that fly in the face of everything you've ever learned--or seen on Law & Order--about law. In "What Color Is Love?",  the worst child custody movie I've ever seen, we learn the important lesson that when a black man impregnates a white woman, they have a biracial baby. The father, a famous basketball player, successfully gets custody when those crazy Canadian courts decide that mixed race kid would be better off with his black parent than his white one (a "beautiful young Caucasian sports groupie" as Lifetime calls her.). By the third appeal, I was all, "haven't you idiots heard of joint custody?!" and vowed to limit my exposure to bad TV movies that have a lot of courttime.

If you photoshopped out
her right arm....
I had high hopes, then, for "Country Justice." There was an old guy, and a rifle, and I was pretty sure he wasn't going to end up in court. The young lady who's getting her justice in the movie is none other than Rachael Leigh Cook, who was beloved as both a nerd and a popular kid in one of 15 most influential films of my senior year, "She's All That." And as if that wasn't enough star power, George C. Scott plays the angry grampa, and Ally Sheedy is a goth druggie!

It all starts on Rachael's 15th birthday, when she begins to wonder about her mother (Sheedy), who abandoned her when she was a baby and ran over the border...of Kentucky and Virgina. Her grandpa (Scott) tells Rachael "never you mind," but she runs away anyway and shows up at her mother's Virginia doorstep. Soon, she learns that her mother listens to music too loudly, lives with a hot guy who wanders around with his shirt off, and--surprise, surprise--doesn't give a shit about her. Even worse, the hot guy slips her some roofies and takes her virginity, impregnating her in the process.

This is where Grandpa first grabs his shotgun, but Rachael convinces him not to shoot nobody (double negatives mine, these country folk had far too perfect grammar), and that they shouldn't press charges. And when Rachael's pregnancy test comes back positive, Gramps tells his granddaughter that he'd be happy to help raise his great-grandchild too. (I have to at least give the old guy credit for also telling her that it's her choice to not have the baby.)

But who woulda thunk it? In the movie's first courtroom scene, the guy who raped the 15 year-old and has been stalking her ever since gets custody of the baby, because the case is tried in Virginia! Damn those Virignians, and those goddamn courtroom scenes!

The film's DVD cover,
with a more apt title
But luckily, this is all just a plot gimmick, because now Grandpa must go on the lam with the little bastard to keep him from the law. Luckily, the baby never makes a peep (or a poop) as he's passed off from trucker to trucker (because country folks always know some truckers). And as my new favorite twitter feed Lifetime Movie Club notes, he even happily hides out in a mine with his grandpa even though he's supposed to have severe asthma.

Meanwhile, there's another excruciatingly bad scene in court, this time in Kentucky, where they reverse the decision and give Rachael custody. The rapist is still never brought up on charges, the cops don't arrest the Grandpa for kidnapping, and everyone's happy--even Ally Sheedy, who has quit the smack and taken an interest in her new granddaughter. But when the hot crazy rapist shows up at the house again, Grandpa has no choice but to get out his shotgun...and that's when George C. Scott yells, "take that, you sick motherfucker!" and shoots the guy in the head.

Unfortunately, the movie didn't actually end that way--it ended with Grandpa dropping Rachel off at high school while she does a cheery voice-over. Some Country Justice! There wasn't even an axe in the movie. The courts just ruin everything.

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