Always Outnumbered (1998) from Tuna

Always Outnumbered (1998) is an HBO drama about an ex-con and felon, Socrates Fortlow (Laurence Fishburne), trying to handle his rage and get by in an LA suburb. As the film opens, he is collecting cans and bottles, and sweeping sidewalks in order to earn barely enough to survive, but at least he feels like his own man. His goal is to get a job as a checker in a market.
His circle of friends includes Natalie Cole as the owner of a bus converted into a diner. She is sweet on him. His best friend Bill Cobbs, who is dying of cancer, and lives in a boarding house run by Cicely Tyson. Rounding out the ensemble is a young boy, Daniel Williams,  whom he befriends after catching him killing and trying to steal a chicken.

The story is narrated by Cobbs, and shows how Socrates copes with his own demons, and ends up helping those around him that he cares about. He developed a heart and a soul in prison, and a sense of survival, but is nothing but rough edges.


The exposure comes from :

Crystal LaPrie, who is doing it in the bushes while young Williams is watching, and 

an unknown who is topless in the home of a murderer/drug dealer that Socrates and his friends tell to leave town.

The cast did a superb job, and Fishburne won me over early as a character to root for. I enjoyed the film very much.  

The Critics Vote

  • no major reviews online. 

    The only on-line review by James Kendrick was rather negative, although he admitted to having watched it to the end, and enjoying it. 

The People Vote ...

  • With their votes ... IMDB summary: IMDb voters score it 7.2 
IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, it had a lot of action and humor for a character driven drama. I give a high C+.

Return to the Movie House home page