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January 11, 2006

{     Junebug     } Junebug in any other hands could have been a mess, but Winston-Salem, NC-born director Phil Morrison has done the seemingly impossible. In his first film he's managed to avoid two of Hollywood's greatest repeat offences; he's made a movie that's virtually stereotype-free about the south that's also a fish-out-of-water story that's not overly cliched. Morrison's most notable work was directing episodes of (one of my favorite shows of all time) The Adventures of Pete and Pete, Upright Citizens Brigade, and music videos for Sonic Youth, Yo La Tengo (who also scored the film), Superchunk, and The Feelies, but Junebug is by far his most auspicious work to date. The story follows Madeleine, an affluent Chicago "outsider art" gallery owner who has traveled back to her newlywed husband George's home town in North Carolina. This is a business trip for Madeleine, whose hope is to show the work of a local absurdist Civil War painter in her gallery. During their stay they live with George's family, who Madeleine's meeting for the first time. The next week is spent with Madeleine adjusting to the culture shock and getting to know George's overprotective mother Peg, his reticent dad Eugene, his jealous younger brother Johnny, and Ashley (Amy Davis in a movie-making performance) as Johnny's pregnant wife, who's infatuated by Madeleine's worldliness. It's so refreshing to see a smart, funny movie about the south light on slack-jawed hillbillies and goat fucking. Morrison has given the real people around those parts a movie in which their eccentricities have been done justice. Junebug avoids the pitfalls of the fish-out-of-water story by allowing the plot to develop in the same placid way that's typical of the south. If you know that way of life, Morrison helps you recall the things that make it unique. There are no gimmicks; it's just the human process of Madeleine adjusting to her new environment and learning about the stock of people that her new husband came from.

     » The Junebug Website.


I'm so glad to hear this film is as good as I'd hoped it would be. It never made it to H-town, and I'd been eagerly anticipating it ever since seeing the promo spots and reading a few articles about it.
I'm also really glad that my man LB can get a little taste of back home whilst chilling in the PNW. I can't stress how important it is to see an accurate portrayal of the good side of the South, the heart and unique spirit, minus all the stereotypes.

Fuck you "Deliverance". And fuck you "Wrong Turn".

Posted by: Adam at January 11, 2006 8:28 PM

hey, hey, take it easy on "Wrong Turn" my man!

Posted by: shane at January 11, 2006 9:12 PM

I'm from NC and I really enjoyed watching this film down here. I have friends who live outside of Winston-Salem near where they filmed Junebug and they got it just right in the film. I love the scenes at Replacements Ltd., especially the ones with Bobby Tisdale, a NC native who runs a comedy night at Cinema Classics in New York. I also loved the character of the Civil War painter. He reminded me of Unknown Hinson, who does the voice of Early on the Adult Swim cartoon Squidbillies. If you want to hear some good ol' fashioned rockabilly, check out Unknown Hinson, he is the best around. Even though they slowed down the pace somewhat, I really appreciated the landscape interludes that occur throughout the film. They give it the sense of slow-laziness that is abundant in the rural parts of NC. It's hard to make a movie about the South without it becoming cliche, but being from the South helps, and I agree that Phil Morrison did a wonderful job with Junebug.

Posted by: Alec at January 11, 2006 9:38 PM

i'm excited to see this movie, bein' from Huntington and having lived in southwestern Virginia, NC and now Birmingham. it's a very touchy subject, how the south is portrayed. and, hell, even what's actually 'the south.' i lived in Michigan for a couple years and they think southern Indiana is the south. here in B'ham, they don't think of anything north of the Carolinas as southern.

i love Squidbillies.

if you wanna hear some good southern rock these days, peep the Drrive-By Truckers. them boys kin write. Bear-clough's mentioned 'em on c12 and digs 'em... I think they're one of the best bands around these days.

to reiterate, can't wait to see Junebug.

Posted by: carter at January 24, 2006 8:43 PM

Yeah first Junebug and now Soderbergh's Bubble, which takes place in West Virginia and is allegedly pretty accurate too. It starts Friday, if anyone sees it let me know how it stacks up.

Posted by: Lindsey Baker at January 25, 2006 5:21 PM

just watced it. good stuff. and will oldham in a little role, too. bonus.

Posted by: carter at January 28, 2006 9:23 PM
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