This is my entry for “V” in the Blogging A to Z Challenge. Throughout April I will be watching and reviewing a documentary movie from A to Z. This is the first V documentary I’ve reviewed.
Title: Vernon, Florida
Release Date: October 8, 1981
Director: Errol Morris
Production Company: Errol Morris Films
This documentary focuses on several residents of a Western Florida town that was had a population of 885 in 1980 when it was filmed and is considerably smaller now. There’s no narration, interview questions, or anything else to link the movie together. It’s simply a series of intercut monologues of people talking about what interests them. And in most cases these seem to be the type who love to spin a yarn and are happy to have a new audience, even if it’s a silent cameraman.
A turkey hunter shares tales of his greatest hunts and admiration for the “gobblers.” An old man shows off the unusual wild animals he keeps at his home. A pastor preaches on the word “therefore.” Andthe town’s only cop goes into detail of the daily drudgery of stopping speeding cars, before finally relating about the time someone shot at him through the window of his cruiser. Reviews of this film invariably refer to these people as eccentric, but I find them rather ordinary. The strength of this film is that it shows the human spirit in their unique but ordinary enthusiasms.
What I do find unsettling about this movie is that of the dozen or so people who speak, they’re almost entirely white men. One woman speaks in tandem with her husband. Children are absent. People of color are not seen at all. I don’t know what to make of this film, but if you’re going to call it Vernon, Florida, I’d expect a more representative cross-section of that town
What Can One Learn From Watching This Documentary:
You’ll know a thing or two about turkey hunting, I’m sure.
If You Like This You Might Also Want To …:
If you really want to watch a documentary with a cast of eccentrics, see Cane Toads: An Unnatural History.
Source: I watched this movie on Netflix streaming.
5 thoughts on “Movie Review: Vernon, Florida (1981) #atozchallenge”
Here’s a couple docs about small town oddness you might find interesting:
Plagues and Pleasures On the Salton Sea
Thanks for the recommendations. I’m already fascinated by the Salton Sea.
I feel like that would be a good representation of the area where I grew up. It was rural and farmland, while there were other kinds of people around, if you went to the local store all you would see where the white older farmers. Women were busy and wouldn’t have been sitting around talking. It sounds bad and it’s come along way but if some from that wasn’t from around there wouldn’t have gotten the whole story..lol
I haven’t checked out many documentaries on netflix but maybe I should. Thanks for the posts!
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Good point. Thanks for commenting.
Not sure what to make of this one. I’m sure as a snapshot of a place and the people who live there it has some moments. Weekends In Maine
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