Sunshine State

Synopsis: Real estate developers descend upon a sleepy coastal Florida community with the promise of big money and bigger changes. Torn between honoring family obligations and the lure of quick cash, the locals greet the outsiders with a wildly mixed reception. Marly Temple is eager to give in and sell the family business to start over her life. As caretaker of her father's motel and cafe, she has grown resentful of missed opportunities. However, she finds a glimmer of hope in a tentative romance with a visiting landscape architect. Desiree Perry left town many years ago to escape a scandal and make a name for herself as an actress. Reluctantly returning home, she finds her strong willed mother unwilling to let go of the past.
Genre: Drama, Romance
Director(s): John Sayles
Production: Sony Pictures Classics
  7 wins & 3 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
141 min

In the beginning, there was nothing.


-Worse than wilderness.

Endless raw acreage,

the land infested with crocodiles.


-Alligators, crocodiles....

For retirement bungalows,

that's not a selling point.

Mosquitoes that would strip you

to the bones.


-That was 10c an acre. This was worse.

The name means in Seminole:

"Don't go there."

But we bought it.

Because we knew.

You weren't selling land.

I mean, what's land?

A patch of dirt, a tree. Who cares?

Farmers care.


Farmers are for TV ads. People

with tractors, amber waves of grain.

They shoot it all in Canada.

I'm talking about certified accountants

with a fixed pension and a nest egg...

...who don't wanna spend

their golden years in slush.

Dreams are what you sell.

A concept.

You sell sunshine,

you sell orange groves... sell gentle breezes

wafting through the palms.

-There were palm trees?

-In the brochures.

-Stately ones.

-When they came down and saw it?

As long as the dredge stayed ahead

of the buyers, we were in like Flynn.

This was the end of the earth.

This was the land populated

by white people who ate catfish.

Almost overnight,

out of the muck and the mangroves...

...we created this.

Golf courses.

Nature on a leash.

Ahoy. It's that time of year again.

The Delrona Chamber of Commerce

invites you...

... to the Buccaneer Days festivities

at the Plantation Island Marina.

Live music,

and plenty of booty for kids.

Plans for the treasure hunt can be

attained at the Delrona Beach Mall....

-Sure this place is okay?

-What do you mean?

-Black people go in here?

-If they're desperate to pee, they do.

-But your mother's is--

-I need to go before then.


Take the register,

I gotta get back to the motel.

-Your husband called.


He needs to see you.

Next time, tell him to take

a long walk off a short pier.

-Smoking or non?

-Could I use your bathroom?

-It's straight back to the right.

-Thank you.


Excuse me.

Hi, there. You been helped yet?

No, my wife's just using

the facilities.

-You need a room?


You've been gawking at the motel.

We have a few vacancies,

but it'll fill up soon.

-I was looking the property over.

-The property?

The whole strip, actually.

If you're from the County,

we had our sign moved back.

I was just trying to imagine what it

would look like without buildings.

-Kind of mentally undressing it?

-You could say that.

-You work for that Plantation outfit?

-Yes. I'm supervising the expansion--

They don't have enough

of the coast already?

It's just a study,

a what-if kind of thing.

What if I told you my daddy would

never sell to Plantation Estates?

I'll be happy to pass it on.

I'm Jack Meadows.

-You're a developer.

-A landscape architect.

I help them decide what they want,

push some dirt around....

They wanted my opinion

on the whole shoreline here, actually.

-So how's it look?


Without anything on it?

It looks terrific.

HQ says that'll be our beachhead.

Then we'll take the rest of it.

The other side has this end locked up

and they're infiltrating Lincoln Beach.

-We're not opposing?

-Zoned residential, hostile population.

It's a minefield. Whereas right here

is the soft underbelly of the island.

You make the frontal assault,

I go behind the lines.

-Is somebody on the inside?

-Working on it.


Shock and outrage as Delrona Beach

awoke to a senseless act of vandalism.

The Freebooter, the centrepiece

of the Buccaneer Days parade...

...was burnt beyond repair....

This is a disaster. It's always

the lead float in the parade.

Same kid set a fire some years back

in a crab shack on Lincoln Beach.

This is so not in the spirit

of the celebration.

Where do you want me to haul it?



-Dr. Lloyd.

-Sorry to bother you, Mrs. Pierce.

You're always welcome.

I'm rounding up folks for this

County Commission meeting tonight.

-I know it's very short notice, but--

-I'd like to help, but I feel poorly.

Oh, my! Would you look at this.

It's that boy

poor Mrs. Stokes took in.

-He's in trouble again?

-First her girl went wild...

...and run off to God knows where.

And now this.

Some people.

I'm worried about them sneaking

through this public-domain business...

...without us making a showing.

If we can field just

even a dozen residents--

Wasn't it settled

when they took the cemetery?

-I'm afraid it won't stop there.

-Now, who's this coming to call?

It seems kind of deserted.

Yeah, well, you know,

most people come on the weekends.

-Do I look okay?

-Relax. This is gonna be fine.

You don't know her.


Is Mrs. Stokes here?

I have no idea.

Well, well. Desiree.

Never thought I'd live

to see you back here.

Hello, Mama.

My Lord.

You did get a handsome one,

didn't you?

Good luck moving this. It's three

inches of soil, then solid limestone.

More work, more pay.

Hey! What do you think you're doing?

-They wanted this one saved.

-Is that right?

What do you think, chief?

That thing gonna make it?

It's part of Mr. Meadows' concept.

The chief's concept is everything

that's not flat gets that way, fast.

Plantation sold this lot

with the tree.

When you crackers head back to Georgia,

there better goddamn still be one.

Used to be this was all Exley family.

Hasn't nothing been planted here

in 100 years.

We wanna satisfy the homeowner's

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John Sayles

John Thomas Sayles (born September 28, 1950) is an American independent film director, screenwriter, editor, actor and novelist. He has twice been nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for Passion Fish (1992) and Lone Star (1996). His film Men with Guns (1997) has been nominated for the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film. His directorial debut, Return of the Secaucus 7 (1980), has been added to the National Film Registry. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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