Miss Firecracker (1989)

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Released 24-Apr-2002

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Menu Audio
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1989
Running Time 98:28
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Thomas Schlamme
Corsair Pictures
Beyond Home Entertainment
Starring Scott Glenn
Holly Hunter
Tim Robbins
Mary Steenburgen
Alfre Woodard
Case Amaray-Opaque
RPI $19.95 Music David Mansfield

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
Not 16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

    Miss Firecracker came out back in 1989 - I remember watching the movie roughly about the year it was released. Almost 13 years later, here I am revisiting the movie for this review. I can honestly say that sitting through the movie today it was as if I had never seen it before. This suggests one of two things; either my memory is deteriorating or the more likely scenario is that I didn't enjoy the picture 13 years ago, just as I didn't enjoy it this time around.

    Miss Firecracker tells the story of Carnelle Scott (Holly Hunter) who works a dead end job in the local factory gutting fish. She always arrives late for work. One day, her foreman finally has enough of her tardiness and sacks Carnelle. This is actually a blessing in disguise for Carnelle as it gives her time to concentrate on the one dream in her life - to win the Miss Firecracker contest. Carnelle's cousin, played by Mary Steenburgen, won the prize ten years ago and now Carnelle is convinced that her time has arrived to also take out the prize. Carnelle was orphaned as a young child, so the only close family she has are her two cousins. Her other cousin is played by Tim Robbins (The Shawshank Redemption) who, after a recent spell in prison, is also working a dead-end job picking up dog carcasses from the side of the road. The local townsfolk try to convince Carnelle that she does not need a crown on her head to earn the respect of a queen.

    Miss Firecracker is a quirky comedy also starring Scott Glenn (Vertical Limit) and Alfre Woodard.

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Transfer Quality


    The video transfer of this movie is average and certainly lacks the finer detail that the best transfers provide. It is almost as if you are looking through a dirty window when watching this film.

    The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and is not 16x9 enhanced.

    The sharpness of this transfer is mediocre. It exhibits a very soft image and lacks fine detail - the extra resolution provided by 16x9 enhancement would have helped a little. Shadow detail was acceptable. A few instances of low level noise were seen, but nothing to be overly worried about.

    The colours on this disc looked flat and a little washed out.

    There were a few MPEG artefacts seen - pixelization was noticed on a couple of occasions. Aliasing was also a problem on this disc with many instances noticed throughout the movie. Film artefacts were quite rare and not too distracting at all.

    This disc was single layered and therefore there was no layer change.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    This is a extremely poor audio transfer that is flat and annoying to listen to. There is just the one audio track on this DVD being an English Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack.

    The dialogue quality was mediocre. It almost sounded as if the actors were speaking with pegs on their noses because everyone sounded very nasal. Audio sync was a problem on this disc with the dialogue being noticeably out of sync at times.

    The musical score was virtually non-existent.

    The surround channels were not used at all by this soundtrack. In fact, the whole movie is basically mono with sound only coming from the centre channel for about ninety percent of the movie.

    The subwoofer was not used at all.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


Theatrical Trailer (2.10)

    The theatrical trailer is of extremely poor quality and is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    This title currently is not available anywhere else in the world so no comparison can be made at this time.


    For me, Miss Firecracker was not an enjoyable movie. It has some great stars, but I felt that their talent has been wasted on a fairly lacklustre story.

    The video quality is average.

    The audio quality is very poor.

    The extras consist of only a singular theatrical trailer.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Stephen Wilson (read my bio)
Monday, June 03, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-S733A, using Component output
DisplayBarco 708mm CRT front projector (line doubled) onto a 2.5m wide 16x9 aspect screen. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderMeridian 568.
AmplificationAdcom 555 mk2 x3
Speakers3 Klipsch La-Scala speakers (left, centre and right); 2 Infinity sm122 speakers (rear); 2 Mirage bps 400 subwoofers with 400w built in amps

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