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River Phoenix stars in this period drama about a young man, naive in some ways and worldly in others, who learns an important lesson about the nature of beauty. In the fall of 1963, Eddie Birdlace (River Phoenix) is an 18-year-old Marine Corps volunteer who is about to ship out with three of his buddies for a tour of duty in Viet Nam. Planning a massive blowout for their last night in San Francisco, Eddie, his buddies, and a number of other Marines set up a contest they call a "dog fight." Each man contributes 50 to the pot, and whoever can bring the ugliest date for their meeting that night at the bar wins the prize. Not having much luck finding a suitable contestant, Eddie finds a plain and slightly zaftig woman named Rose Feeney (Lili Taylor), who works in a coffeeshop and dreams of a career as a folk singer. Rose agrees to go out with Eddie, partly because she feels sorry for him, but as the evening wears on, Eddie finds himself growing fond of Rose and tries to worm his way out of taking her to the "party" he's told her so much about. When Rose learns the true nature of the contest, she is furious, not just for herself but for the other women who were cruelly and pointlessly humiliated; Eddie, severely chagrined, asks her out to dinner, hoping to somehow earn her forgiveness. Noted folk singer Holly Near appears as Rose's mother. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

Chapter List

Side #1 --
1. Elite Group
2. Four Bs Go Hunting
3. Music Notes With Rose
4. Making a Date
5. Preparations
6. Art of Lipstick
7. The Nitelite
8. Judges' Decision
9. The Truth
10. Fun Land
11. Backyard Assault
12. A Regular Date
13. Man With a Mission
14. Accursed Dinner
15. On the Town
16. Buzzing Bs
17. Changing the World
18. Still Life Café
19. Slow Dancing
20. Skin Flick Squad
21. Rose's House
22. Lovers
23. Buddies and Americans
24. November 22, 1963
25. Vietnam 1966
26. Things Have Changed
27. Held Tight
28. End Credits

See Also