The Pork & Beans Society is in many ways a sequel to the Oscar-winning movie, Splendor in the Grass, starring Natalie Wood and Warren Beatty. Set sixty years later (in the 1980s) in the same school, in the same small Kansas town (a town where both Splendor’s writer William Inge and Pork & Beans’ writer Charles Miller attended high school), our story follows an ensemble of Midwestern kids through the issues surrounding coming of age in a small rural community.
This drama/comedy revolves around seven high school friends who don't really fit the stereotypes of a small Kansas town. They have mixed feelings about their hometown, but all of them recognize that their graduation means an end to a chapter in their lives and the separation of their clique. What starts as a battle against the school board in one last hurrah, turns into a conflict that unravels the fabric of their friendships. David, president of the student body, is part of an election commission with his girlfriend Suzanne and her best friend, Trisha. They administer a simple student election to find David's successor, but the election numbers don't add up, and the commission determines there was election fraud. They decide to set-right the injustice, but their battle for truth is met with resistance. The rest of the group gets involved, but they discover their status of good-kid-immunity runs out quickly when those controlling a small town are ruffled. The conflict separates some of them and forces confrontations between the others. And like the Inge film from the 1960s, the small-town frustrations become merely the backdrop for the real source of conflict in the film: the intensity and pain that can come from young love.
All this happens while they navigate the decisions everyone faces at the completion of high school. The group's activity is anchored in their secret getaway: a crumbling, deserted cement plant that overlooks the town—a recurrent metaphor for their situation. The Pork & Beans Society: a story about a bunch of kids who sit around with their sack lunches and discuss changing the world, only to find that it's a lot more complicated than they think—than any of us think.
GENRE: High School Drama / Coming of Age
LOCATION: Southeast Kansas, USA; set in 1986
PRODUCERS: Charles Miller and Elise Rothberg
WRITER/DIRECTOR: Charles Miller
ASSOCIATE PRODUCER: Kimiah Wyer