Cookie’s Fortune (1999)

“Welcome to Holly Springs… home of murder, mayhem and catfish enchiladas.”

A friend and I decided to watch a movie late last night on Netflix and I grudgingly settled on Cookie’s Fortune. I didn’t expect to have loved it as much as I do now. I laughed so hard, I cried.

Details, Please

We first notice Willis (Charles S. Dutton) stealing some alcohol from a bar and sneaking past some cops more interested in talking about fishing than patrolling, passing a church sign whose ‘Thought of the Day’ reads: “Pride and Pretense are the Jookeys of Misfortune.” That should be a hint about what this film is about. Not only is the sign misspelled, but the idea of The First Presbyterian Church putting on a play about Salome for Easter Sunday is a bit off.

Cast of characters included the director, Camille Dixon (Glenn Close) who is a pushy mean lady always putting down her younger sister Cora (Julianne Moore) who seems to be a bit slow. Then there’s Emma (Liv Tyler) Cora’s daughter who just came back to town who’s in a yo-yo relationship with Jason (Chris O’Donnell) the jailor.

"Is this story hour at the Rec center, or is this supposed to be the Sheriff's station?"

When Jewel Mae, a.k.a “Cookie” (Patricia Neal) ends up dead the whole community of Holly Springs is thrown into a whirl trying to figure out who would kill her. Of course all evidence points to Willis, but the community knows better then to suspect him, (he was her best friend after all..) but when an investigator from a nearby town comes, they have to detain Willis on suspicion of murder.


It’s definitely a Southern Gothic dark comedy. The ending was unexpected and pure irony, eerie really (“I did good, didn’t I?”) but I loved that it’s a movie that focused on the town as a whole and not really a certain individual. Not only that, I felt like I knew all these characters, and there were some characters I wanted to know more about. For example, Jack Palmer (Donald Mofatt) the one lawyer in Holly Springs, who rides around town on a bicycle with a bow-tie or Mr. Johnson (Rufus Thomas) the local bar owner (“Took it. Took it. That’s what I said. Took it.”) who is hilarious without trying to be. Even when they are unlovable they are comedic. It’s a story about strong friendships and community, and most importantly dysfunctional family. I highly recommend it.


  1. I am thinking I will have to watch this. I haven’t even heard of it before and probably wouldn’t have rushed out and watched it if I had, but the humour appeals!

    1. I saw another Robert Altman film yesterday called, ‘ A wedding’ and I did not like it at all. I liked that it was similar to ‘Cookie’s Fortune’ in that the movie didn’t really focus on one person but a whole group, and it was a dark comedy. However, the characters in ‘A Wedding’ were not likable at all. They were all really messed up. Lol.

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