The Sissy Spacek Movie Marathon

07/10/2018 by Katherine Luck

Sunday, June 16
10:30 a.m.
Badlands (1973)
A teenager from Texas (Sissy Spacek) is corrupted by an older man with a penchant for criminal acts and cross-country driving.

Every summer, the local TV station out of Big City, Texas, aired the Sissy Spacek Movie Marathon for the entertainment and edification of rural children like myself. Three months of Coal Miner’s Daughter, Badlands, Crimes of the Heart, and JFK made for an instructive and relevant alternative to summer school. Instead of being overtaken with idleness, we learned how to accept the oppression of poverty, how to run away from home with a hooligan boyfriend, how to shoot a cheating husband, and how to assassinate a standing president. All useful skills for a girl of my social standing.


I arranged myself on the couch bright and early on the first day of the marathon, just like every summer. I positioned a box of Lucky Charms on the coffee table, placed a carton of milk beside it, and clicked on the TV. Badlands was the first film of the summer, which was not a movie to be tardy for.

“My mother died of pneumonia when I was just a kid,” Sissy Spacek began. “My father had—”

At this precise moment, a scruffy, unwashed man wandered into the living room.

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