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24 out of 24 people found the following review useful:

I still live in vernon

Author: shipes_j from vernon florida
3 October 2006

well near it.....I remember seeing errol morris one autumn afternoon as he stood in the street with tripod and camera back in 1981....I had just gotten off from work at the elementary school (where I still teach)....its hard to remember how different things were then...because the physical side of vernon is still the same....although this is going to change soon....the widening of the main street is going to literally wipe out the town as we know it.

the jury is still out on the purpose of morris' film....most of the town folk look at it today as a mockery....however some who were in it thought differently then (movie stars)....I watched it recently (again) and took it at face value...it was funny....however knowing vernon like I do...I must say that in my days at vernon high school...I remember variety in the culture....all were not rednecks or eccentrics...

morris just let the cameras roll....if there were any genius in the filmaking....it was in the editing...as these characters were patched together to create this look at a seedy, unique town.

to me the "condescending" (as some of the critics have declared) part is summed up in the music (if you can call it music) at the very beginning...this sets the tone for the entire picture....on the other hand...the genuine honesty and realism in the turkey hunter's interview is just that...the reason I know that.... he is my cousin...I have known him all of my life...that attention to details is the way he tells stories...I have heard countless ones through the years.

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18 out of 19 people found the following review useful:

A little too close to home...

9/10
Author: Angie Cook from Florida
26 August 2001

I'm from Marianna, Florida, which is about 20 minutes from Vernon. Take that for what it's worth, but this film reminds me of both why I left and why I sometimes long to return.

Errol Morris finds some of the most beautiful freaks ever committed to film. Any fan of the documentary film medium is doing themselves a disservice by not viewing this film a number of times.

I regard "Vernon, Florida" as up there with what is in my opinion Errol's best work -- "Gates of Heaven", "The Thin Blue Line," and "A Brief History of Time."

"'I like the idea of making films about ostensibly nothing,' Morris told The New Yorker's Mark Singer. 'That's what all my movies are about. That and the idea that we're in a position of certainty, truth, infallible knowledge, when actually we're just a bunch of apes running around.'"

That's what I enjoy about Errol's films -- grabbing hold of just about any bit of chaos in the universe, and being able to find and appreciating the beauty and wonder that it holds.

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14 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

One of the best documentaries I've ever seen

10/10
Author: John K. Sizemore from Baltimore, MD
3 November 1998

Vernon, Florida consists entirely of the stories and opinions of the residents of a sleepy little southern town, without narration or comments from the filmmakers. Many of the residents are eccentric, and some, perhaps, are a bit nervous to be in front of the camera. But the filmmakers wisely chose to allow the residents to say whatever they felt was important, so that the end result, though sometimes comical, is actually quite respectful and dignified. The editing is fabulous-- no abrupt starts or stops, nothing boring, and nothing that appears to be taken out of context.

Vernon, Florida is hard to find, so if you see a copy, by all means check it out.

This is the way documentaries should be made!

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13 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

My home town.

Author: hvolleynut33 from United States
25 July 2007

I think it is so funny that the small town from which I grew up has its very own DVD. The funny thing is the people are really like that in Vernon. I know Snake and Henry and they are some of the best people you will ever meet. The thing that was very amusing is they only showed talked with people who are kind of "out there" so to speak. But I think the movie is great. It reminds me of all the great times that I had in that town.You cherish times and places in life and Vernon is truly a place thats one of a kind. My parents still live there and own a Farm Supply Store in which they bring in a lot of customers from surrounding areas. Thanks to the producer and his team for making the movie.

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10 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Complex & Wonderful Documentary From Errol Morris

9/10
Author: David (davidals@msn.com) from Chapel Hill, NC, USA
15 September 2003

I first saw VERNON Florida about 10 years ago, while living in a small town in the mountains of Western North Carolina, and it hit really close to home. The film at first almost seems condescending - quirky small-town Southerners are an unfortunately easy target for artistes, and stereotypes are so, so tiresome. But Morris has real affection for his subjects - they never seem undignified, and basic human emotions (like the turkey hunter's rampaging enthusiasm, and his eloquent descriptions of his emotional reaction while on a hunt) do really shine through here. And in small towns, a certain home-grown individuality CAN fluorish, and this film underscores that in great fashion, and for all of the quirk seen here, Morris (or his subjects) really also get close to some sort of swamp-bred Zen, graceful and succinct. Morris' style and pacing reminds me a little of Herzog, or maybe Ozu, where a still and unmoving camera perfectly captures the dignity and charm of his subjects, while preserving all of their quirks. Overall, this very accomplished documentary is surprising and well worth a look.

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8 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

another Morris treat

9/10
Author: willsapp24 from Canada
3 October 2006

I am grateful to Werner Herzog for convincing Errol Morris to become a filmmaker. "Vernon, Florida" is an intriguing look at the inhabitants of a small town with a beautiful setting in the southern United States. Like most of his films, if not all, Morris remains completely aloof, and instead allows his subjects to speak for themselves. One can easily mock the old, toothless men and the man who just loves "gobblers" (turkeys) but that would be too easy. There is something poignant about the way the people of this small town attempt to express their feelings, as if in many cases, they do not have the vocabulary to articulate their ideas. However, underlying their simple way of life is something that touches humanity. They love their lives and live them day to day without a care in the world. A friend of mine said that these guys are actually a lot smarter than we think because they know something better than probably anyone else around, even if it is cultivating worms. I think perhaps they know a lot more than we think about what it is to be human; they are earnest and humble. I watched this film three times and after each viewing I came to have a deeper appreciation for every one of them. Errol Morris is perhaps the best documentary filmmaker around today and this film was a little treat. A must see for all.

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10 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Truth IS Stranger Than Fiction

8/10
Author: cheri smith (csmith179) from New Orleans, Louisiana
16 June 2003

This documentary of a Smalltown, USA in rural Florida is a one-of-a-kind true comedy. Morris' choosing of the particular characters recorded and the events chronicled are genius. A quirky preacher who shares with us and his congregation his logic on semantics; a hunter who "specializes" in turkey gobblers; and an elderly man who likes to catch and keep wild critters all add to the deliciously funny charm of this documentary of rural life. His style of letting the characters speak for themselves is truly a work of art in this film. Watching "Vernon, Florida" is the equivalent of reading the "Foxfire" journals with a similar dose of the arcane knowledge that only rural, American, small-town residents possess. Definitely worth watching more than once.

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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

The best documentary ever.

Author: craig august (craiggae@excite.com) from olympia, washinghton, usa
29 August 1999

Vernon, Florida is far and away the most creative documentary i have ever seen. Errol Morris manages to let the people do the talking and doesn't get involved at all, so what you see is what you get, no silly people asking questions or prying for details. where else can you see a preacher do a 10 minute sermon on the word "therefore"? only one place, Vernon,FL. This film is getting more and more difficult to find, if anyone out there knows how I can obtain a copy of this classic, please write me at craiggae@excite.com

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9 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

Morris captures the absurd, and shows that it exists in all of us

9/10
Author: cdrake (dd10946@goodnet.com) from Scotsdale, AZ
22 January 2000

You may get the feeling that you are watching some sort of bizarre freak show while you are watching Vernon, Fla. Morris uses his unique style of interviewing to get his subjects to wax philosophic on a wide variety of subjects, exposing both their strange senses of reality and their humanity at once. All of the people examined in the film have somehow created rich, meaningful worlds from their otherwise depressing existences in this tiny Florida town. The film is hilarious most of the time, with one bizarre story after another, but somehow the viewer emerges from it feeling "there but for the grace of God go I".

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6 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Funniest documentary of all time!!!!

10/10
Author: Meryle Swartz from LA CA
9 December 2002

Geez, this movie is GREAT. i laughed so hard i turned red and then purple and very nearly blue. The people Mr. Morris documents are fabulously fascinating and overwhelmingly odd. There IS nothing that compares. I can barely even write about it, because it not only has to be watched, it has to be recounted to your friends in funny voices and fake accents, and then watched again and again. Vernon FL is apparently filled with eccentric scientific principles reminiscent of the 15th century, and impressive grammar that the best stand-up comedian in the world couldn't compete with, because it is all genuine, all of it. I just cannot stress enough how much you need to see this film. Even if you have no sense of humor, you will at least appreciate the character studies and the overwhelming irony of The Human Condition (and so forth, and so on, etc etc).

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