Ken Tucker
February 22, 1991 AT 05:00 AM EST

Long Road Home

type
TV Show
Current Status
In Season
performer
Mark Harmon, Lee Purcell
director
John Korty
broadcaster
NBC

We gave it a D

In Long Road Home, Mark Harmon (Dillinger) stars as a poor Depression-era dad who hauls his homeless family around the country while searching for work. In California’s San Joaquin Valley, he and his wife (To Heal a Nation‘s Lee Purcell) and their five children harvest broccoli and avocados for a nickel a box. Director John Korty (The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman) has made a limp, self-pitying little TV movie here, and the script by Jane-Howard Hammerstein (Summer of My German Soldier) is so full of vague grandiloquence that even some of the characters don’t understand what’s being said. ”Ain’t nothin’ good on this road,” mutters Harmon as he changes a flat tire. ”At least it’s paved,” says Purcell. “I’m talkin’ about this road of life!” snaps Harmon. Gee, sorry, Mark — we didn’t realize you were speaking metaphorically. Harmon’s attempts at conveying stoic despair and working-class nobility result in him seeming merely cranky. As Depression sagas go, this isn’t The Grapes of Wrath — it’s The Avocados of Petulance.

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