Mineshaft Gap

It's a screening log, no more no less. Maybe I'll have something interesting to say one of these days...

Southerners are funny.

Phil Morrison's Junebug nearly derails itself in its first half hour. As the prodigal son with strong wife Madeleine returns to his quirky family in North Carolina, the southern stereotypes fly fast and low. Every simple laugh is trotted out, from the uneducated little brother to the disapproving-of-modern-women mother and put upon father. Brother Johnny's wife Ashley fawns over Madeline, and their religion is also seen as oddball.

After that first half hour, however, the film rights itself into an acutely observed set of moments from what quickly begin to feel like real people. Its as if Morrison want to get the perfunctory jokes out of the way before he can fill in those sketches as humans. Madeleine's trip reveals more to her about her husband in unguarded moments with his family than in all the passionate episodes that seem to make up the whole of their relationship.

Working as a wonderfully minor film, Junebug is as solid as an indie film seems to get these days. Even if film attendance is in steady decline this year, I hope good performances, strong writing and confident direction can get people in the theaters. At least, I pray they can.

Post-Junebug Top 10:
1. Broken Flowers
2. Last Days
3. Hustle & Flow
4. Kung Fu Hustle
5. Batman Begins
The 40 Year Old Virgin
7. Grizzly Man
8. Junebug
9. Happy Endings
10. March of the Penguins

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