Beasts Of The Southern Wild
Good morning, y’all. I’m happy to report that the rumors of my early demise were somewhat exaggerated. It’s true, the pine beetles had almost as big of an impact on me as they did on the big tree that fell, but I have persevered. I do share the feeling with the downed tree, that, like the big tree, some of my limbs will fall off. Of course that would be anthropomorphism, and trees only have feeling in books and movies and such.
Speaking of movies, it turns out that Mulva has had enough of my ’80’s revival for our date nights. While she appreciates my classic Betamax collection, she apparently felt the need to watch something a little more modern this week. So, while she was over to the Walmart restocking my Icy Hot, she dipped down into the $2.99 movie bin and pulled out a corker, “The Beasts Of The Southern Wild”.
I won’t overstate the obvious, “The Beasts Of The Southern Wild” did not play at the Bijou in Blairsville, or anywhere closer than Atlanta when it was released a few years ago. I’d say it’s rarer than hen’s teeth when we’d drive to Atlanta to see a movie, or anything else for that matter. We decided we’d give it a miss until it hit the TV, or the $2.99 movie bin at Walmart. Patience has paid off. It’s like my Daddy Bocephus used to say, “Be patient, you get the chicken by waiting for the egg to hatch, not cracking it open”. True dat.
I invoke the memory of Bocephus because “The Beasts Of The Southern Wild” reminded me very much of growing up with a mostly dysfunctional father. The movie’s storyline is about the cutest, most precocious little girl ever, “Hushpuppie”, and her ne’er do well father, “Wink”. The fact that Hushpuppie is named after one of my favorite food groups, just adds “flavor” to the story.
I don’t know how universal the story was to a lot of folks, but it plucked a lot of chords with me. I even related to the setting, down in the Terrebonne Parish of Louisiana. As previously related, I used to travel the area, and we have kin down there. I am familiar with the area called “The Bathtub”. It is an area that requires a special mentality to survive in, but the folks that live there are as happy a lot as you’d run into. The movie places all of the characters under stress, by the introduction of a hurricane, and the subsequent flood. We can presume the the event was detailing Katrina, but in truth, the area is below sea level and any high water event would cause flooding. The retention of the water for a long time is “The Bathtub”.
The movie is beautifully photographed and makes the area even more attractive than I remember. I won’t give away the plot, but I will say that there is a wonderful blend of fact and fantasy that a precocious child of an alcoholic would be prone to. There would be real monsters, and imagined monsters, imagined heroes and real heroes. Intertwined in the fantasy is the reality of keeping alive when your whole world is several feet under water, and your protector is dysfunctional. Powerful, powerful stuff.
The film was nominated for four Oscars, in the categories of Best Picture, Best Director (Benh Zeitlin), Best Actress (Quvenzhané Wallis), and Adapted Screenplay (Lucy Alibar & Benh Zeitlin). In what I now feel was the biggest robbery of all time, Jennifer Lawrence won the Academy Award for Best Actress for “Silver Linings Playbook” over Quvenzhané Wallis. You must be kidding! Quvenzhané was five when the movie started filming. It was her first film. I had heard the rumblings at the time of The Oscars, but now I have the proof of my own eyes. Proof once again that the Oscar is more about the personalities involved than the work. I guess Quvenzhané can be proud that she was the youngest nominee ever.
Anyway, Mulva hit this one out of the park with this selection. I guess we’ll give the’80’s a rest for a while and go back to potluck at Walmart.