Wednesday, June 07, 2006

"Junebug" and "Daniel Johnston"

Middle Georgians have two great movie-viewing opportunities in the coming weeks, thanks to the the Macon Film Guild and the Capitol Theatre.

This Sunday, June 11, the Macon Film Guild presents "Junebug," hailed in the latest issue of the Oxford American as the best Southern movie of 2005. I'd have to agree with that assessment.

It's that sense of place in the Piedmont area of N.C. that makes "Junebug" work so well. It tells a very familiar story about the prodigal son, in this case Alessandro Nivola, who has moved to Chicago and married an art dealer, played by Embeth Davidtz. None of his family members were invited to the wedding, so his is not the most comfortable of homecomings.

If I had to pick a movie to compare it to, I'd say it's most like "You Can Count on Me" in its realistic yet charming portrayal of small-town family life. First-time director Phil Morrison and screenwriter Angus McLachlan inject color and charm into these characters without ever resorting to cliche.

Though there aren't any easy answers to be found, that let's you bring your own experience to the movie, and we all will find someone we can identify with here. Holding it all together is Oscar-nominated Amy Adams as the very pregnant sister-in-law of Nivola's character. Although I love winner Rachel Weisz, Adams deserves all the hype she received for her portrayal of this determinedly upbeat woman in decidely downbeat times.

Don't miss your chance to see this one on the big screen Sunday at 2, 4:30 and 7:30 p.m. at the Douglass Theatre in Macon.

"The Devil and Daniel Johnston"

I haven't seen this one, but it sounds absolutely fascinating.

The Capitol Theatre has done a great job of bringing us movies about music. Following on the heels of the Neil Young concert flick "Heart of Gold" comes this documentary about Texas musician Daniel Johnston, who suffers from Schitzophrenia.

Though hailed by many musicians as a genius, he's also a very troubled soul, prone to violent outbursts. My only exposure to Johnston is the blissully silly pop gem "Speeding Motorcycle," sung best by Mary Lou Lord on her subway set "Live City Sounds."

You can decide for yourself what to make of this odd but very talented artist when this doco makes it Middle Georgia premiere for several nights at the Capitol in downtown Macon. It's showing Wednesday, June 14, at 7:30 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, June 16 and 17, at 9 p.m.; and Sunday, June 18, at 7:30 p.m.

Although the Capitol still has some issues with sound, it is a beautiful venue for music and movies, especially when the two converge so well.


Todd Jones said...

I can't wait to see "The Devil and Daniel Johnston" myself. My only exposure to his music is also Mary Lou Lord's cover of "Speeding Motorcycle" (which could also be heard on Target commercials a few years ago), but I'm a firm believer that any time a story is being told about a musician it's going to be good, whether you like their music or not.

Unknown said...

Amy Adams is indeed brilliant in "Junebug" and I was pleasantly surprised by how well done this movie was. It's too bad it didn't get the exposure it deserves (but so many good films do).

As for "the Devila nd Daniel Johnston", I saw this a little while back during a 2 week engagement in Vancouver and was thoroughly impressed. I'd never hear od Daniel but I remember the T-Shirt that Kurt wore for months in nearly every shot taken of him. When I saw the preview, I knew I had to see it. It was pretty good too.

Reel Fanatic said...

I agree wholeheartedly, Todd .. almost anytime music plays a major role in movies, the results are great .. Dave Chappelle's Block Party is one of my favorite movies from this year, and I think you can enjoy it whether you like rap music or not ...

Thanks for the link, Marina .. I enjoyed reading your impressions of the movie .. if I weren't going to be in Germany when it plays here, I'd definitely be there!