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Running on Empty Academy Award Nomination! Academy Award Nomination! 

By Keith Simanton

It's difficult to watch this involving family drama and not end up mad at River Phoenix. He was such an incredibly talented, believable, available actor that it makes you mad at him for leaving us so soon. He's particularly good here as Danny, a talented musician and the eldest son of a couple of former war protestors (Christine Lahti and Judd Hirsch). Their bombing of a napalm plant during the Vietnam War makes their small, nuclear family act as fugitives, never letting themselves settle down, never leaving traces, one step ahead of the law. This works for the splinter group of rebels until Danny meets a teacher who believes in his talent, and meets the teacher's daughter, Lorna (played by Martha Plimpton). Danny's love for Lorna and his aspirations to attend Juilliard put the family in jeopardy of finally being tracked down. It's saying something that in this impressive ensemble cast, ably directed by Sidney Lumet, Phoenix sticks out. He was an actor whose tank never would have run out.

Academy Awards

Running on Empty received Academy Awards nominations for Actor (River Phoenix) and Screenplay (Written Directly For The Screen; Naomi Foner).

 

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FILM FACTS

Buy this VHS movie from Amazon.com! (Click here!)Buy this DVD from Amazon.com! (Click here!)Soundtrack unavailable at Amazon.com - try eBay (see links below)Rated PGNot on an American Film Institute 100 list

Director: Sidney Lumet

Stars: Christine Lahti, River Phoenix, Judd Hirsch, Jonas Arby, Martha Plimpton, Ed Crowley, Steven Hill,

Released: September 9, 1988

Availability: DVD VHS


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