My Five Favorite Movies About the South (in no particular order)
1. Gone With the Wind- Scarlett O'Hara is a mythical figure of the Southern Woman-beautiful, tough, resourceful, capricious, vain, man-crazy, fiercely independent. Vivian Leigh brought the character to the screen so masterfully, and women of the South have been emulating her ever since. What's not to love about a woman who can make a stunning gown with accessories out of green velvet drapes?
2. O Brother, Where Art Thou- Yes, it is broad slapstick comedy with characters that arguably make Southerns look like dumb yokels. But it's damn funny, highly quotable, with a killer soundtrack. Plus, it's great to see George Clooney break out of his leading man beautifulness by playing a lovable goof with a pencil mustache and an fastidiousness about hair products.
3. To Kill A Mockingbird- One of the greatest translations from novel to the screen. A beautiful book became a beautiful movie. As told from a child's memories, it's a powerful, tender examination of a South mired in the Depression and Jim Crow injustice. I really wanted to name Little A Atticus but somebody wouldn't have it.
4. The Apostle- Not only a wonderful movie about the South, but one of the few films to feature a complex Christian character. Robert Duvall plays a charismatic minister who, while deeply flawed, is still full of passion for Christ. Refreshing to finally see Christians portrayed not as one-dimensional idiots/sheep/crazed zealots/saints but as human beings, warts and all.
5. Sling Blade- One of my all-time favorite movies. Also extremely quotable (Seriously, I could go all day on Sling Blade quotes.) Billy Bob Thornton does a great service to the people of the South by creating truly Southern characters:warm, quirky, kindhearted, and soulful. This film is the pinnacle of Thornton's writing/directing/acting career; not long after his success, his ego took over, and he lost his mind.