Raising 10 kids on 25 words or less
The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio
Review by Ross Anthony

Based on the memoir, " How My Mother Raised 10 Kids on 25 Words or Less." (written by the main character's daughter), "Prize Winner" captures the period (1950's-60's) with a clever TV-twist. Julianna Moore, plays the saintly Evelyn Ryan written to near martyrdom in her unrelenting efforts to keep a roof over head, and milk on the table.

An ornery, bottle-sucking, husband suffices as the bad guy. While his small income often finds its way to liqueur before eggs and toast, Evelyn's gift of literary charm wins the family everything from pogo sticks to new cars. Here, a ten-minute shopping spree is the "action" highlight of the film. The build up to that event and then the execution are just as exciting as a car chase scene from any cop movie.

Sweet, endearing, but somewhat distant in that we seldom see deeper into Evelyn than her impersonal smile in the face of adversity. Don't get me wrong, this is an absolutely admirable trait. But, feels somewhat impersonal nonetheless. The story is compelling and hopefully will clue in slack partners on just how awful their destructive behaviors can be.

The film ends with strength spiced nicely with the sweet touch of appearances from the actual children of Evelyn Ryan.

Terry "Tuff" Ryan says that after going through all her mother's papers she had to rent a van to move them all from Defiance, Ohio.

"We used to say, 'Mom, you could have...been a writer on Madison Avenue,...had your own column in the Chicago Tribune,'" recalls Terry Ryan. "And she would say, 'And which one of you kids would I give up for that?'"


  • The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio. Copyright © 2005.
  • Starring Julianne Moore, Woody Harrelson, Laura Dern, Trevor Morgan, ellary Porterfield, Simon reynolds, MonteGagne, Robert Clark, Michael Seater, Erik Knudsen, Jake Scott, JordanTodosey.
  • Written for screen and Directed by Jane Anderson.
  • Based upon the memoir, "The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio: How My Mother Raised 10 Kids on 25 Words or Less" By Terry Ryan.
  • Produced by JackRapke, Steve Starey, RobertZemeckis at Dreamworks/Revolution/Imagemovers.

Grade..........................B+ (2.5/4)

Copyright © 1998-2016 Ross Anthony, Author - Speaker - Solo World Circumnavigator In addition to reviewing films and interviewing celebs at HollywoodReportCard.com, traveling the world, composing great music, motivational speaking, Mr. Anthony also runs his own publishing company in the Los Angeles area. While traversing the circumference of the planet writing books and shooting documentaries, Mr. Anthony has taught, presented for, worked &/or played with locals in over 30 countries & 100 cities (Nairobi to Nagasaki). He's bungee-jumped from a bridge near Victoria Falls, wrestled with lions in Zimbabwe, crashed a Vespa off a high mountain road in Taiwan, and ridden a dirt bike across the States (Washington State to Washington DC). To get signed books ("Rodney Appleseed" to "Jinshirou") or schedule Ross to speak check out: www.RossAnthony.com or call 1-800-767-7186. Check out his other sites too: Author*Illustrator*Speaker, Motobookothon 2009, M9, Write Triangle, TwT. Go into the world and inspire the people you meet with your love, kindness, and whatever it is you're really good at. Check out books by Ross Anthony. Rand() functions, Pho chicken soup, rollerblading, and frozen yogurt (w/ blueberries) also rock! (Btw, rand is short for random. It can also stand for "Really Awkward Nutty Dinosaurs" -- which is quite rand, isn't it?) Being alive is the miracle. Special thanks to Ken Kocanda, HAL, Jodie Keszek, Don Haderlein, Mom and Pops, my family, R. Foss, and many others by Ross Anthony. Galati-FE also deserves a shout out. And thanks to all of you for your interest and optimism. Enjoy great films, read stirring novels, grow.

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Last Modified: Monday, 13-Sep-2010 16:17:12 PDT