THE SOUTH WILL BE MADE FUN OF AGAIN
Try to think of a smart Southerner in a film, who's not an evil tyrant, a pervert, or a blatant racist. It's hard to find them. Images of Southerners in film is still a touchy subject with me. Both black and white characters are treated with the respect of cartoon characters.
Most of the time, the setting is some backwards town where Something Is Wrong. Smart Boston Lawyer moves to town and is appalled at the way the town is run. Good White People are too dumb to help themselves. Smart Black Man knows everything 'bout everything, but is also somehow helpless. Evil White Man owns the county and rules it with a pork-eating fist. There is also Low IQ Rapist White Man and occasionally Unexplained Mystical Power Black Man. Wise Old Black Woman Who Can Cure Anything With Herbs And See The Future usually makes an appearance when exposition is needed.
You'll never see the characters from Deliverance in a film made about New York City. You'll never see the hoodoo of Skeleton Key, The Green Mile, or Jeepers Creepers fly anywhere but in the South. The South is the place of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, where Vacationing New York Writer gets underneath those weird Southern folk with their odd, repressed ways. Southerners who go to the city are stupid like The Beverly Hillbillies, but when New Yorkers go to the country, they are the smart ones like in My Cousin Vinny.
If there were Boston accents in a New York movie, everyone would cry foul. But when all the actors in a movie set in the South have different accents, usually from the Southeast regardless of the state portrayed in the movie, no one even mentions it. People in Arkansas do not talk like people from Virginia.
All that being said, I love the movie set in the South that I saw this week, God's Little Acre. It's Anthony Mann's film based on the book by Georgia writer Erskine Caldwell. I'm not sure why I found this one funny where others I find offensive; maybe it was the pre-knowledge of Caldwell's southern roots.
Buddy Hackett steals the show as Pluto Swint, a man who would be sheriff. The film has what feels like twelve plots, but revolves around one man's relentless search for lost gold on his property.
Pick of the Week:
It was a close call this week, between the hilarious hick flick God's Little Acre and Sleuth, starring Laurence Olivier and Michael Caine. I'm suggesting Sleuth, for the strength of its script, and no extraneous dialogue or scenes. Almost the entire film takes place in one house, and it's primarily two actors talking about the plot, but I was enraptured for the whole film, over two hours worth.
The Long Weekend & Self Throttling
When I tell people what I'm doing with this experiment, most of them marvel at the number of discs. If I had a stack of 500 DVDs, this wouldn't be so hard. People who routinely watch 3 or 4 hours of TV a night don't always realize this is the equivalent of 700 or so movies. The rest of the people I tell, know the hard part is getting the movies to Netflix and getting them back on time.
To get through 500 DVDs, I must average 9.6 movies per week for the whole year. According to my calculations, I should be at 77 movies to be on pace. I'm 10 under. I have to catch up. I have 44 weeks left to watch 433 films. Now I have to average 9.8 for the rest of the year. I'm on the 8-at-a-time subscription, so it stands to reason that I could get them back and forth in time. In theory, this is true.
But reality is a bit harsh when it comes to this service. The main problem lies in the weekend. Netflix does not process returns on Saturday or Sunday. This means that if I return a movie on Friday, they will receive it on Monday, and hopefully ship a DVD out that I will receive on Tuesday.
If I watch my eight DVDs per week, I will only get to 416. I will fall 84 short of my goal. So, to do this right, I must get a DVD, watch it, return it, and have it replaced within the week. The only way this will happen is if I watch as much as possible on Tuesday nights.
Say two movies come in on Tuesday. I watch them both, put them in the mail on Wednesday, Netflix receives them Thursday morning, and ships me another, hopefully the same day that I will receive on Friday. If I watch all the DVDs, I'll hit ten that week. Some weeks, the receiving or shipping process takes an extra day, or more, and I'm scuttled.
This week's scuttling came in the form of President's Day. As there was no mail on Monday, Netflix users across the country dropped DVDs in the mail that Netflix received on Wednesday. This overload can't be processed by the company so quickly, and by the terms of the user agreement, the 8-at-a-time subscriptions are processed last in the order. Even then, with the four-day weekend, there's no way that Netflix can get me discs by Wednesday; it's just not going to work out physically, even if I was first on the list. I got some on Thursday this week, some on Friday, one has yet to land, and another met a fate of my own fault, what I should call "self throttling."
The Harder They Come was here, and I didn't find it for awhile, nestled, as it was, in a stack of junk mail. I still haven't watched it, and it's 11:23pm on Sunday night. Looks like another late night for me.