Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Book #6:

Hick Flicks by a certain Mr. Scott Von Doviak.

First of all, I could not possibly give this book a bad review. Mr. Von D (as he's affectionately known in the Obscurity Household) would sic his monkey butler and vicious sidekick Maury Walnuts on us.

However, Mr. Von D is clever. Knowing that we live in fear of his power over animals and the weather, he's decided, as is his wont, to do the unexpected: he's written a good, no, great book. Yes, that's right, I'll say it loud and drunkenly: Hick Flicks is a brilliant analysis, defining the genre and subgenres of movies by and about Redneck-Americans, or, as we prefer, "Sons of the Soil."

Von Doviak starts us with an Alamo Drafthouse Rolling Roadshow, as Scott canoes downriver, encountering hillbillies both planted and au natural, to a riverside viewing of Deliverance. This experience sets Mr. Von D to wondering: "Is that banjo kid available for weddings? Failing that, should I write an in-depth analysis of redneck movies?" The answer, as Scott reveals in a surprising twist, is (brace yourselves, font color modified for maximum shock value) yes.

Somewhat in the tradition of Jackass, Von D subjected himself to more movies about and by rednecks than is legal in 27 states. Von Doviak divides these into subgenres: trucker movies, stunt driver movies, chicks seeking revenge for what was done to them movies, hillbilly horror movies, documentaries about rural folk, and the like. In fact, in one of the more astounding segments of masochistic horror ever to emerge from scholarly film criticism, Von Doviak undertakes 24 hours of hillbilly horror flicks, starting with the Texas Chain Saw Massacre, which shortly emerges as one of the more intelligent and sensitive movies on the line-up. The guy deserves a Purple Heart.

Anyway, it's fun to laugh at rednecks, especially if, like me, redneck blood courses through your veins (and only occasionally coats your rage-filled hands of justice these days), but thinking about rednecks and the mysterious ways of redneck culture is hard work and usually limited to slightly contemptuous, brilliantly smart-assed novelists like Harry Crews. Von Doviak leads the way in thinking about an underappreciated segment of film history, one that mostly exists only in documentaries and on the USA Network now. This book's a hoot and a holler and has been scientifically proven to be more fun than a semi full of monkey sidekicks. Use the link at the right and go buy it.


Scott 3:19 PM, February 08, 2005  

Your payola is forthcoming. Does PayPal accept beer?

Hayden Childs 4:02 PM, February 08, 2005  

Do you gotta pour it in your monitor to make that work?

Alyssa 12:53 PM, February 09, 2005  

You know - I must echo your sentiments about the last chapter (the Texas Chainsaw massacre marathon). The telling created a lot of drama: why did he decide to do this? Was someone making him? He just dreamed this up for himself and is just doing it? And sticking with it?

You have to admire a man who just dreams up his own stunts for no reason except the right to claim he's done it.

Wow - he did take one for the team. Now I'm wondering what the sequel will cover.

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