Friday, April 20, 2007

The Oxford American Southern Movie Issue, take two

For the last week or so, I've been going to the mailbox every day expecting to get what the U.S. government apparently owes me in excess taxes. I still haven't gotten that, but yesterday's arrival almost as good as that fat check.

In 2002, the Oxford American magazine (no longer based in Oxford, Miss., mind you, but still going) published its first Southern movie (not film, of course) issue. It was a pretty good read, but left definite room for improvement. Now they've finally come up with the second (pictured at right), and having read more than a third of it just last night, I can certify it's a must-own for movie lovers.

I'd have trouble recommending a $9.95 magazine to anyone if the writing weren't so good. Here's a list of some of the highlights:

Roy Blount Jr. on the wit and wisdom of Madea
Bonne and Clyde - the movie vs. reality
John Ford's Vision of the South
Dancing in the Dark: Race, Sex the South and Exploitative cinema
An interview with Charles Burnett, director of "Killing of Sheep" (man, do I want to see that movie!)
A tribute to Paul Newman as the ultimate impostor

And that's just what I've been able to read thus far. There are two other pieces that alone would alone make it worth the ten bucks. The first is a very funny piece by actor/director and Adel, Ga., native Ray McKinnon titled "How to Act: It Ain't Brain Surgery But ..." In it, the director of the great short film "The Accountant" and the upcoming "Randy and the Mob" starring Burt Reynolds, answers such burning questions as "But if it's so complicated, why can kids do it?"

The second, even better reason to buy this issue is the Southern movie guide, which recommends 13 documentaries about the South, many of which I haven't seen. I highly urge you to buy the mag and read about them, but purely for rental purposes here are the 13 titles they chose: Born for Hard Luck; Crisis: Behind a Presidential Commitment; A Well Spent Life; The True Meaning of Pictures: Shelby Lee Adams' Appalachia; The Devil and Daniel Johnston (huzzah!); Country Boys; The Trials of Darryl Hunt; Deep Blues; Shakespeare Behind Bars; Harlan County, U.S.A.; When the Levee Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts (double huzzah!); Aileen: Life and Death of a Serial Killer, and Bright Leaves.

And finally, there's an accompanying DVD with scenes from movies featured in the issue, plus a few short films. But enough from me. Just buy it already, and have a great weekend.

P.S. I'll be going to Athens to see some buds and to see "Hot Fuzz" Saturday, and then will hopefully see "The Hoax" Sunday, so please feel free to check back for reviews of both. Peace out.

P.P.S.: A note to anyone in Macon. First Presbyterian Day student Tim Hall has accomplished more than I probably ever will on screen by making his first film, called "The Last Goodbye." He's showing it tonight at the school from 8 to 9, so check it out if you get a chance.


Marina said...

I actually heard someone else talk about this issue the other day and I'd never even heard of the magazine. May have to shell out the $10 after all.

Have a fun weekend! Sounds like it'll be a good one!

Reel Fanatic said...

Thanks Marina ... I know it sounds like a lot of money, but for this issue at least, it really is worth it

james higham said...

Have you considered making a film, Keith?

Reel Fanatic said...

I can't say I have, Mr. Higham. I like writing about them and obviously enjoy watching them, but haven't given much thought to taking it any further than that