Director Smith visits five unusual homes and talks to the people who built or adapted them. His subjects include an alligator wrangler who lives on a houseboat in a Louisiana bayou; an American actress who made her fortune on Japanese TV and then built a treehouse getaway in Hawaii; an inventor who automated his entire home; a family who converted an abandoned missile silo into an underground abode; and a pair of cat-lovers who renovated their house with dozens of feline-friendly features. Written by
Home Movie is a very interesting movie. It visits the homes of five families and interviews the people about their homes. What I enjoyed the most about the movie was the passion of these folks for their homes and their lifestyle. Each person was full of energy, and it seemed like their homes had become such an important part of their lives that they were energized by their homelife. Even though these folks are eccentrics, they came across as very nice people. Some of them were simple folks, but most of them were significantly wealthy.
The only negative that I saw was that many times the camera-person would just take the lazy way out. The shot would be on the home-owner talking about his or her house, and the camera would rarely or never pan to show the house. One example was when the Cat man was showing the house, the garage, the various ramps, and this guy walked all over his house talking about it, and the camera was always just on the guy's face. It panned quickly a couple of times to the garage, but the point of the movie was the houses AND the people. So it would have been nice to see the houses in a lot more detail. Another negative was that the rooms were usually not identified at all. These folks would be walking around talking about their house and you had to guess if the room was a living room, a study, or what was it? How did the rooms flow together? Where was one room in relation to the others? I liked the movie, but having the camera in the face of the owners for 85% of the movie got a bit stale.
The elderly woman with the incredible tree-house is another example of a home that was never explored. She went into a couple of rooms that were never identified and then she talked about the view from her rooms, but the view was never shown from those rooms. Panoramic shots from a helicopter were shown, but that was not what the woman was referring to. She then walked out to the waterfalls and spent a couple of minutes talking about a sitting rock that her brother had installed, and the rock was never shown. The whole time as the woman is climbing on her sitting rock, the camera is on her face as she is talking about it. Then later, she is shown sitting on the rock, but there is no wide shot that shows the rock as it relates to what she was talking about.
The Alligator man never even showed his house at all. We saw him cooking crabs, and walking outside among the alligators and talking to his Dad, but what about the house? Did any gators ever crawl into his house? Maybe the Alligator guy did not have a very fancy house, but it should have gotten a bit more coverage.
Perhaps the best work was reserved for the guy who lived in the missile silo. At least those portions of the film showed the guy walking around to many of the rooms, and he clearly identified the rooms and talked about converting them into a home. This part of the movie had coverage of the interiors as the guy was talking. It was the most comprehensive look at any of the homes.
The other Electrical Inventor person and his girlfriend were also given good coverage. However the tour of the home just popped from room to room and it did not really put the house together. Here was the circulating room, here was the robot, there was the garage, over yonder was the iris door, but how about a walk-through so the viewer can put it all together in his or her mind? Overall the movie was good except for the choppy editing of the views of the various houses. More houses and less talking heads would have been a major improvement. Seeing the same guy talk about his cats for fifteen minutes with only brief shots of the cats was lame. Let's see more of the cats, not the Cat Man.
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