Tag: endearing

Vernon, Florida


Vernon, Florida (1981)
★★ / ★★★★

“Vernon, Florida” showcased a group of people with different eccentricities. Among them were a couple who claimed that their jar of sand was growing because of radiation, a man with a pet turtle (who didn’t think it was a turtle but a gopher), a cop with nothing much to do, a sermon involving the several meanings of the word “therefore,” and most interesting of them all, a man with a passion for hunting turkeys. Directed by Errol Morris, half the fun of the picture was in allowing the subjects to speak to us as if we were right there in front of them. Their accents were sometimes difficult to decipher but it didn’t matter because the nature of the one-way conversation was so fascinating. I knew I was interested in what they had to say when they mumbled or stumbled over their words and I leaned closer to the screen to grasp at the evanescent words. Unfortunately, more time were given to some people than others. I wanted to know more about the gentleman who grew worms. I don’t particularly like worms but I was interested in his occupation and his point of view about why raising worms was important. He was only given two or three scenes. However, I was happy that the picture always returned to the obsessive turkey hunter. The description he gave about where and how he would hunt was so vivid, it almost left like we were following him in the hunt. I was surprised that each pair of turkey feet he had on his walls, initially very creepy, had a special story. I didn’t know whether to laugh or worry when he began to have a fierce look in his eyes as he described every delicious detail about the joy of shooting a turkey. As the film went on, the more I realized its wicked sense of humor. Most of the people being interviewed were the elderly and it was difficult to tell whether they still knew what was going on. Did they really believe in what they said, especially the couple who thought that the sand they obtained from New Mexico was indeed growing? Nevertheless, Morris didn’t make fun of the individuals being interviewed. There was one scene I was particularly impressed with which involved a man mentioning another who didn’t believe in a higher power. Just when I thought he was about to make a remark against those who didn’t believe, he highlighted a commonality between a believer and a non-believer. Even though he was a devout Christian, he knew it wasn’t his place to judge. I wish we had a chance to spend more time with him. “Vernon, Florida” was a piece of evidence that there are interesting things embedded in the mundane. Its slice-of-life style was endearing, amusing, and it was loyal in celebrating of our differences.

Tokyo Godfathers


Tokyo Godfathers (2003)
★★★ / ★★★★

Like “Millennium Actress” that was also directed by Satoshi Kon, “Tokyo Godfathers” feels like ordinary story on the outside but has something extraordinary within. It’s about three homeless people–Gin (Toru Emori), a father who lost his family, Hana (Yoshiaki Umegaki), a maternally-obsessed transvestite, and Miyuki (Aya Okamoto), a young runaway too ashamed to return home–who find a baby in a dumpster during Christmas Eve. After deciding that they’ll return the baby to its parents, they learn so much about themselves and each other. I liked the fact that this film does not shy away from using coincidences to get an emotional reaction from the audiences. To me, it didn’t feel distracting because that’s how life is sometimes: a series of coincidences that reminds and defines who we are and how much we’ve changed from the past. I also liked the common theme of funny things coming out of a sad situation and sad things coming out of funny situation. Again, that realism so endearing to me because most animated films I see are labyrinths of fantasy. It’s refreshing to see a potential real life story being told in a different medium. For a nintey-minute movie, the picture was efficient enough to feature each character’s backstory so we truly get to understand their motivations and how they’ve become homeless; it’s nice to see that, to some of them, homelessness is merely a byproduct of escaping some sort of shameful things they’ve done in the past. And like real people, these characters sometimes lie to each other and then later on we get to discover the truth from their actions. This is a very strong film because it straddles many different genres yet feel complete and very human. As for those who are knowledgeable to some sort of a Christian background, there’s something extra special for them because the three homeless individuals could mean something more.