I live in a rural area, and as there happens to be more than one ‘small town’ film to choose from these days, I’m thinking about tiny communities in the middle of nowhere and the movies made about them. (Not that I can help thinking about where I live. You really, really cannot hide in a small town. No more walking the dog in my pajamas. No more hiding in the grocery store aisle – because they’ll damn well see you in the parking lot.) Two ‘small town, tragic life’ stories are gone in some areas, still around in others, but I got to see them both – WINTER’S BONE and GET LOW. Oh no.
Oh no. I thought I would love GET LOW. On paper, there’s a lot of good going on – an incredible cast, an indie period piece (rare), the promise of sentiment and wisdom but delivered slowly, cleverly, without the maudlin trappings of Hollywood. What happened? The premise is good enough – Tennessee hermit (Robert Duvall) attempts to stage his own funeral while still living. The performances indeed are very strong, particularly Duvall and Bill Murray as the opportunistic-but-still-lovable funeral director, who says “ass” every other line. But Sissy Spacek is totally underutilized – she simply has nothing to do but wipe away a tear or two. Oh, and she runs across a field at the end.