IRONWEED is dim, grim, and relentlessly depressing. Set in Albany, New York, in 1938, it also flashes back to 1916 and 1901 as it seeks to establish Jack Nicholson's character, Francis Phelan, an ex-Washington Senator infielder. He deserted his family 22 years earlier when, slightly tipsy
on four beers, he dropped his infant son, cracking the child's head and killing him. Now Phelan and cohort Rudy (Tom Waits) work at odd jobs to earn some money for a jug of wine and a place to flop. Helen Archer (Meryl Streep), who has been his girl friend for the past nine years, gives sexual
favors to anyone who will give her a place to sleep or a drink. The picture is a Depress...