I currently write a column Monthly for the DeKalb Daily
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and be added to the archives.
The Articles started December 2007.
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At Any Price movie: The good,
bad and ugly
By Barry Schrader Senior Columnist...................June 4, 2013
Note to readers: Barry Schraders DeKalb
County Life column will appear on the first Tuesday of
Out of 103,000 residents of DeKalb County there must have
been 7,000, give or take a few thousand, who saw the locally-filmed
movie At Any Price starring Dennis Quaid (as Henry
Whipple) and Zac Efron (as his race car-driving son Dean) at
the DeKalb theater. Probably another 3,000 will rent it on DVD
when it becomes available.
But the movie was R rated so that leaves out a lot
of the younger set who would probably like it better than their
parents and grandparents.
I saw it two times. The first was the Friday night it debuted
in DeKalb County with friends from Oak Crest DeKalb Area Retirement
Center where one couple shown in the movie (Jane and the late
Wilbur Bastian) resided. The second time was the next day with
Attending the opening night showing were Jane Bastian
(standing) with Betty Fowler and Mary Hull, all from Oak Crest.
The first night had a theater full of people either included
in the film as extras, or friends and families of those in the
film. There was a lot of applause and cheering when they saw
familiar faces in one particular scene or another. That was good
because theater patrons normally dont cheer and applaud
a movie like spectators at a sporting event.
Kudos are due Dennis Quaid who did an excellent job of acting
and playing the role of the bad guy. I remember him
most recently as the star of the TV series Vegas
which unfortunately was canceled before its first season ended.
The third thing to like about the movie was the thousands of
dollars it brought to DeKalb County businesses, a church and
And I shouldnt forget to mention that DeKalb resident Marilyn
Thompson got paid for the use of her empty house for one brief
bedroom scene where Henry and his wife, Irene Whipple, were shown
talking. If you live around here and ever went to the Sycamore
Speedway, the First Lutheran Church on North Third Street or
the Junction eatery on West Lincoln Highway in DeKalb you would
have found those scenes familiar as well.
I had a talk with church member Sadie Lunn who was shown sitting
directly in front of Quaid during the second funeral of the movie
and she said the director specifically placed her there for some
reason. I think it is because she looks so grandmotherly and
offset the nastiness of Whipple, who by that time was clearly
the villain of the film.
Now for the bad stuff: Farmers told me after the movie they were
incensed that Quaid depicted the farmer as conniving, unethical,
unfaithful and downright crooked in his dealings with the Liberty
Seed Company (which could have been Monsanto).
And how about the safety violations? Going inside a giant corn
bin to have sex no farmer would go there in real life
because of the dangerous conditions inside a filled bin. In my
day (and Don Moshers, too) they used to make out
with their first love in the haymow (we called it having
a romp in the hay), but now there just arent any
full haymows left in the county I guess.
Now the ugly: The accidental killing of another farm
kid by young Dean and his fathers complicity in the cover-up
was not a pretty thing to witness. But I dare not reveal more
or it will spoil the ending for those awaiting the release of
All in all, I would recommend it for the beautiful rural
scenes, the local places and people you can identify with, and
the fact it brought in lots of revenue for local businesses.
By the way, did you recall the names Mr. and Mrs. Pritchard
in the opening cemetery scene? I doubt if Rep. Bob Pritchard
and his wife Mary were consulted about the script. Must have
just been just a coincidence.
Heres a suggestion to local chambers of commerce: Why not
organize a bus tour on TransVac of the local places shown in
the movie? I would pay $20 to see those locations; except for
Marilyn Thompsons bedroom of course.
The columnist can be reached via email at :
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PO Box 851
DeKalb, Ill 60115