If you’ve ever driven down Highway 71 toward Houston, you may have seen a sign just past Bastrop.

“Smithville, Home of Hope Floats,” it reads.

A bill board welcoming visitor's to Smithville reminds everyone about the movie Hope Floats, which was filmed there. 4/8/13 Nell Caroll/American-Statesman

nell Carroll

Yeah, ?that “Hope Floats.” The 1998 movie starring Sandra Bullock and Harry Connick Jr. as reunited lovers in their hometown. It’s set in a town called Smithville (which, as “Southern Living” humorously pointed out and Central Texans already know, is a very real place), and was filmed across Smithville and Central Texas in the 1990s. 

“Hope Floats” isn’t exactly known for being a great movie (it has an average rating of 4.9 out of 10 on Rotten Tomatoes), but it holds a special place in many Central Texans’ hearts -- I grew up in Smithville, and some of my favorite childhood memories include watching scenes of the movie being filmed across my hometown. My dad loves to tell the story of shaking director Forest Whitaker’s hand, and I remember sitting on Main Street watching the two lead actors walk in front of the Dollar General and a now-extinct bookstore I frequented, chatting and filming a scene.

Promotional hand out photo of Mae Whitman, Sandra Bullock and Gena Rowlands in the movie ``Hope Floats.'' CREDIT: 20th Centry Fox Distribution. Received 02/16/10 for Glossy fashion downtown Smithville.

?FROM THE ARCHIVES: ‘Hope’ abounds in Smithville

And the stars weren’t immune to the town’s charms.

"People were just so nice in that town. The neighbors would sit out on their lawn with lawn chairs and make peach cobbler and bring it over. They'd just kinda hang with you, which is rare but we were in Smithville, who had never been tainted by a film crew before. And I think we left it in good condition,” Bullock said in a behind-the-scenes interview.

Connick later says, “I love this town. I love Smithville,” later in the same clip, while they filmed the parade scene. In an interview on Connick’s show in 2016, " target="_blank">the two reminisced about meeting each other, having a great time together and learning to dance in one of the movie’s most iconic scenes. 

The movie painted the small Central Texas town in such a charming light, it was cited as the reason other movies and music videos were later filmed there.

In honor of the 20th anniversary of the movie’s release date on May 29, here are five of the greatest scenes from the Texas romantic comedy.

1. “Dancing’s just a conversation between two people. Talk to me.” 

]]