If you were to Google a list of southern films, you would find some of the best films ever made and others you didn’t know existed. The South is full of wonders and stories, making for truly unforgettable movies that hit close to home. I think it's fitting to continue my films of the South review, so here are four titles perfect for the hot Summer months:
Forrest Gump - It's hard to believe it's the 20th anniversary already, but director Robert Zemeckis's “Forrest Gump” has been in our hearts and home entertainment libraries ever since. While Forrest is a world traveler, his roots are as southern as southern gets. From his early days of running around his home town of Greenbow, Alabama, Forrest grew up in a time when America's minds and landscape were changing. Vietnam was beginning, the hippie revolution was the majority and the civil rights movement was marching through small towns everywhere. It was an exciting time, and Forrest managed to find himself in the middle of almost everything. The brilliance of writing a character that winds up participating in the biggest events spanning decades, falls on Alabama native Winston Groom. A swan song for the South, “Forrest Gump” is essential viewing for any and everyone. In celebration of its 20th Anniversary, Paramount Pictures will be re-releasing it in theaters this Fall.
Lightning Bug - Chances are you've never heard of this film, but I'm here to tell you how brilliant it is. A semi-autobiographical film of director Robert Green Hall's life growing up in rural Alabama, it's a story that speaks to everyone who has ever dreamed big. Much like the films "October Sky" or "Rudy," our underdog Green lives in a broken home with little opportunities in life. His love of horror movies and special effects make-up takes his mind off the real life horrors he has to live each day. With every coming-of-age story, there are times that test the person you are and the person you want to become. Proving his monster movie effects are a true passion that could one day lead to Hollywood won't be easy, but Green is determined to prove to his small town that it's more than just a hobby. Just because you or your passion is different doesn't mean you give up.
Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood - Maybe it's the ensemble cast of kooky characters, the toe-tapping soundtrack, the perfect blending of comedy and drama or maybe all of that combined, but the Ya-Ya Sisterhood is something of pure fun. Sandra Bullock plays Siddalee, a famous New York City playwright from Louisiana. After a published interview quotes her saying something negative about her mother and childhood, her mom, played by the amazing Ellen Burstyn, begins a feud that only her lifelong girlfriends can fix. The girlfriends, known as The Ya-Ya's, kidnap Siddalee and takes her back to Lousiana where we learn why her childhood wasn't so perfect. Truly one of the best films of the past decade that speaks about family and friends and the life-long bond that can never be taken away when you fight for who you love.
Deliverance - This is either the best southern film ever, or the worst in your opinion. I could imagine the rivers of the South were void of any wayward travelers for a while after it was released, much like beaches after "Jaws" hit theatres. Growing up in the South and having family from the North Georgia Mountains, I'm not sure if this offended anyone back in the early 70's, but it has now become a bonafide American classic. A horror film can have many faces; there could be a masked killer, a zombie from the grave, a creature from another world, or even deranged backwoods moon shiners. For four guys from the city, taking a canoe trip down a country river turns in to a nightmare survival of the fittest. While many have tried to recreate their own version of "Deliverance" since, nothing will ever compare.
Have a safe and fun summer! Oh, and happy viewing everyone.