It's a Small Town After All

I grew up in a town of approximately 2500 people. In fact, there are still about that many people there. Perhaps for that reason, I have an affinity for movies and TV series set in small towns. Occasionally the movies still pop up. But we have fewer and fewer TV shows set in locations outside major cities.

Now I could bounce all over the map and find movies and TV series to fit the criteria. But I’m going to stick close to home and talk about films and series where the action is set in Texas.

  • Tender Mercies (1983) – Robert Duvall gives an Oscar-winning performance as Mac Sledge, an alcoholic down-on-his-luck country singer who is redeemed by the love of a good woman, played by Tess Harper. A classic story that features honest, heartfelt characters -- and some great old-fashioned country music. Co-stars Wilford Brimly, Ellen Barkin, and Texas native Betty Buckley.
  • Hope Floats (1998) – After being humiliated by her husband on national television, a woman returns with her young daughter to her hometown. And eventually she learns that new beginnings are possible. Starring Sandra Bullock, Gena Rowlands, and Harry Connick, Jr.
  • The Rookie (2002) – Houston native Dennis Quaid plays Jimmy Morris, a high school baseball coach who became the oldest rookie in major league baseball. A movie that shows dreams sometimes can come true. Rachel Griffiths, Brian Cox, and Texas-born Angus T. Jones co-star.
  • Friday Night Lights (movie) (2004) – The high school football movie. Set in Odessa, Texas, this movie tells the story of one football season and what it means to the students, coach, and town. Billy Bob Thornton stars.
  • Friday Night Lights (TV series) (2006) – Inspired by the movie, this Emmy award winning series moves the setting to fictional Dillon, Texas, but continues the story of the football team and the community. Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton star.
  • King of the Hill (1997-2009) – Animated series about Hank Hill, his family, and his friends. Set in the fictional town of Arlen, Texas – which seems to be within minutes of every major city in the state – Hank is the calm center of the chaos created by all who surround him.

What small town settings are your favorites in movies and television?