Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Originally staged on Broadway in 1953 and filmed two years later, William Inge's Pulitzer Prize-winning romantic drama Picnic went before the cameras a second time in 2000 as a made-for-TV movie. Josh Brolin stars as Hal Carter, a handsome and impecunious drifter who shows up in a tranquil Kansas town to pay a visit to his wealthy pal Alan Benson. Hal's arrival coincides with the town's upcoming Labor Day festivities, so naturally he is invited to stay a while. Alan soon regrets welcoming Hal into his community when the charismatic drifter falls in love with Alan's fiancée, Madge Owens (Gretchen Mol) -- and the feeling is definitely mutual. Meanwhile, Hal's presence awakens the dormant passion between two of the town's middle-agers -- spinsterish schoolteacher Rosemary Sydney (Mary Steenburgen) and her erstwhile beau Howard Bevans (Jay O. Sanders) -- and also has a disturbing effect upon Madge's mom, Flo (Bonnie Bedelia), and kid sister, Millie (Chad Morgan). Though lacking the star power embodied by William Holden and Kim Novak in the 1955 movie version of Picnic (and also bereft of that film's Oscar-winning musical score), the TV remake nonetheless possesses its own special charm, thanks to the deft directorial hand of Czech filmmaker Ivan Passer. The "new" Picnic aired over the CBS network on April 16, 2000.