Today’s Prayer Focus

Favorite Son

Reviewed by: Ken James

Moral Rating: Better than Average
Moviemaking Quality:
Primary Audience: 15 to Adult
Genre: Drama
Length: 1 hr. 35 min.
Year of Release: 1996
USA Release:
Cover graphic from “Favorite Son”
Featuring Louis Herthum, Brad Hunt, Nancy Hochman, Gathering Marbet, Grand L. Bush, Harold G. Herthum, Tody Bernard, Mary Lilly, Ray Gaspard, B.J. Hopper
Director Steven D. Esteb

Lance Beauchamp grew up in the sleepy southern town of Cypress Springs, Louisiana. Because of the fame and fortune he earned in Hollywood, “Lance” is what (or who) puts Cypress Springs on the map. So when Lance (Brad Hunt) and his sultry girlfriend, Kansas (Gathering Marbet) show up back in town unexpectedly, he is hailed as a hero by his friends and the townsfolk as the local boy done good.

Scene from “Favorite Son”

Not all is as rosy as it appears to be, however. For starters, Lance’s older brother Lucas (Louis Herthum, “Murder She Wrote”) is bitter toward his brother for several reasons: he still holds him responsible for the death of his mother during childbirth, he never showed up for his own father’s funeral, and he is upset that his father would favor Lance over him by giving Lance the prized pistol Lucas wanted for himself. It makes for a tense atmosphere as Lance and Kansas stay with Lucas and his wife, Annie (Nancy Hochman).

Annie does whatever she can to help ease the relationship problems. She is warm and friendly and ever the agreeable southern matriarch. One night as her curiosity gets the best of her, Annie peers through a cracked door to see Lance and Kansas involved in drug-related sexual foreplay. She is not shocked by the sexual situation (Kansas takes every opportunity to flaunt her sexuality), but she is horrified to know her own brother-in-law is an addicted drug user. Lance’s past quickly catches up with him while he is in Cypress Springs, and soon the whole town knows the “real” reasons Lance has returned.

“Favorite Son” is a modern day retelling of the story of the prodigal son. While this indie film contains some profanity (about a dozen crude words, plus three uses of the Lord’s name in vain), a few scenes of sensuality, drug and alcohol use, and violence, the strong message of forgiveness and grace comes through loud and clear in the end.

At the onset of “Favorite Son”, Reverend Ross (Grand L. Bush) is seen preaching the story of Nicodemus to his congregation. While trying to explain that you must be born of water and of the spirit (John 3), Lance and Kansas interrupt the church service by driving up in their classic convertible, car horn a honkin’. They are the picture of worldliness—those who must be born again. Ironically, in a scene that is sure to bring tears to the eyes, Lance’s story ends in that same place as he comes to seek forgiveness. It is a fresh start he is after, and the place where he needs to be for healing to begin.

“Favorite Son” is not for everyone. Those offended by language and other content mentioned above may not appreciate this film. But for those looking for a strong biblical message wrapped up in quality technical know-how, this no-frills independent production may be worth a see. It’s too bad “Favorite Son” isn’t available in the rental stores. (See for more info).

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
“Favorite Son” is terrific. It is a beautifully told family drama with strong acting and characters you won’t soon forget. Lewis Herthum and Brad Hunt deliver memorable, searing performances as two brothers looking for a way back to one another. And Nancy Hochman and Gathering Marbet give very strong support as Herthum’s wife and Hunt’s sultry girlfriend. This is an old-fashioned family drama in the best sense: Something to entertain and give food for thought at the same time, a film you’ll continue discussing and thinking about long after you’ve seen it.
Michael P. Shoob, age 38, non-Christian
This is a good story based on events that can really happen in families. The film was well shot and easy to watch. They take the time to tell the story. While it may not be for young chilren, there is an excellent message for older teens and adults about decision making and problems placed in your path. The story is a version of the prodigal son and applies to todays world. My Ratings: [4/4]
Charles Montgomery, age 43
“Favorite Son” is a very good family story, with some hard, unpleasant edges to it. In other words, it has much of what goes on in modern family life… familys’ that don’t quite get along, drug problems and people that can’t seem to come to terms with who and why they are as they are. The conflicts do resolve themselves, and the movie ends with a confirmation of the importance of the family unit to our own individual well-being. My Ratings: [3½/4½]
Billy Collins, age 44
I was privileged to view this production with a fellow colleague of mine, Greg Braxton, a Los Angeles Times reporter who covers entertainment news for the Calendar section. He and I shared similar views. Both of us were awed that producer/actor Louis Herthum and director Steve Esteb were able to bring to the screen a quality production on such a limited budget. Neither he nor I had a problem with the disturbing subject matters of drug abuse, temptation and forgiveness. The storyline is modern-day and deals with issues that affect us all in one way or another. It causes the viewer to delve deeply into our own personal lives. It’s a reminder to cherish family values and remember that charity begins at home. I was particularly drawn to the outstanding talent of the ensemble cast which delivered a heart-warming and nail-biting message to the masses. This production tugged at my emotions and encouraged me to pick up the New Testament and reacqaint myself with Luke 15 and the many other stories contained within the Bible. “Favorite Son” is a movie that should be seen by the family unit and considered a topic of discussion afterwards. My Ratings: [4/5]
Sharon Dahlonega Raiford Bush
The acting and photography in this picture are so good, you forget you’re not watching a big budget studio picture. The extremely talented cast, led by Louis Herthum, makes this story of loss and redemption especially poignant. The colorful supporting cast adds the right amount of lightness, lending balance to the heartbreaking drama taking place between two brothers who need each other more than they know or can admit. The music is perfect—it beautifully compliments the emotion and is never intrusive. I can see this movie helping to heal old wounds in families that have been fractured by conflict. See it. My Ratings: [4/5]
Karen Ragan-George, age 45, non-Christian
I loved “Favorite Son” and was very moved by it. It is a compelling, important story with wonderful performances. All the characters are well drawn and multifaceted. It is a story about redemption that should be seen by everyone. Central to the story are the two brothers, Lance and Lucas, who are held apart by the demons that inhabit them. Eventually they are each redeemed and the bond between them strengthened. Anyone who has ever been part of a family and felt trouble in his heart will come away uplifted by this film. My Ratings: [4/5]
Larry Eisenberg, age 51
This is a great film. It has a good meaning and is very well written. Highly recommended.
Billy Carmen, age 41
Everything a small independent movie should be. Great story. Good moral. Teriffic acting. I think there is a tremendous audience out there waiting for movies like this. My Ratings: [4½/5]
T. Eldridge
I saw the premiere of “Favorite Son” in Baton Rouge and I was very impressed with the dialog and acting that this independent cast brought to life. I love Southern genre movies and “Favorite Son” rates up there with the better ones from the past. My Ratings: [3/4]
G Paddie, age 32