The birth of Country music in the true birthplace before it went to Nashville. The "hillbilly" recordings that opened the doors to birth country and rock and roll with Southern Appalachian ... See full summary »
A man moves his two daughters to Italy after their mother dies in a car accident, in order to revitalize their lives. Genova changes all three of them as the youngest daughter starts to see the ghost of her mother, while the older one discovers her sexuality.
When her single mom runs off to California, Lauduree, a passionate environmentalist, clings to her rural home and a carbon sequestration experiment. But her grandmother Greta, a caustic ... See full summary »
I saw this film in the London Film Festival. I was really looking forward to an intelligent satire but unfortunately Anywhere, USA just did not deliver. The film is in three segments, the first a tale of rednecks and suspected terrorism, the second a faux-naive whimsical story about a hippy-burnout and a kid losing her faith in the tooth-fairy, and the third a tale of a WASPy old guy deciding he really must get out and meet some black folks. The middle segment is quite sweet and has some good ideas. The first and last parts are utterly charmless with barely a funny moment between them.
As you get to the end of the film, you begin to realise that the three segments are supposed to be parodies of common types of Hollywood films: the dumb action movie (e.g. Die Hard), the whimsical indie movie (e.g. Little Miss Sunshine) and the story of wealthy middle-aged guys going off the rails (e.g. American Beauty). The structure of the whole thing was also reminiscent of Magnolia type many-strands-coming-together films. To me, though, this aspect of the film was really unsatisfying - it is not enough to excuse something obvious and charmless by saying "We were actually parodying something obvious and charmless" (For the record, I don't think the films just mentioned are obvious and charmless, but I get the sense the makers of this film did.)
More than this, however, was the contempt that the film seemed to show for its audience. At one point, the film deliberately shows an implausible scene, allowing the audience to think "oh well that was implausible" and then comments on the deliberate implausibility of the film. It is a cheap trick, and it is neither big nor clever.
Effective satire relies on originality, sharp wit and being scrupulously fair (rather than trying to score cheap points). On this score, as on every other, this film fails to deliver. I can stand bad films, but not bad films that are so self-satisfied with so little justification. If this is what passes for a prizewinner at Sundance then that festival needs to take a long hard look at itself.
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