I haven’t yet had a chance to watch the movie (other than a spellbinding black-and-white trailer). But — because I’m lucky enough to have friends who read — I have a copy of the novel from which the movie was drawn sitting by my bed. It’s next on my “to read” list.
The floor is still open for other nominations for great redneck noir movies. Here’s a few to get you started.
Slingblade. Good luck knocking this one out of my top spot. I’ve written plenty about it before, so suffice it to say that Billy Bob Thornton’s masterpiece of story telling reigns supreme. There’s none better for dialect and the unique culture of Thornton’s rural South. Plus, you have a hard time believing that really is Billy Bob as the movie unfolds. The late John Ritter (who was a close friend of Thornton’s) almost steals the movie with his finest performance.
Deliverance. Burt Reynolds is going to show up in this list a lot, especially when you look at the earlier parts of his career. Deliverance was pre-mustache Reynolds and full-on intensity. Once of the best novel-to-movie adaptations ever, James Dickey’s ultimate redneck noir story is one of the best. Of course, if you want to know the total story behind this ill-fated trip into the heart of rural Georgia, the book is where you’ll find it.
The Accountant. This short film (only about 40 minutes or so) won an Oscar, and you’ve probably never heard of it. The team of Ray McKinnon and Walton Goggins (Ginny Mule Productions) tell a powerful story about hard times, hard people and hard decisions. McKinnon and Goggins haven’t put together an awful lot of movies since this one, but when they do, I’m sure they’ll be impressive.
White Lightning. Of course it’s about moonshine. Way back in 1973, Burt Reynolds was giving rednecks a good name. And this movie has been copied many times in many version (with little success), most notoriously, The Dukes of Hazzard. This movie was also the first time I’d ever heard the term “shaky puddin.'” Apparently, it’s not a phrase you use in polite company.
Gator. In case you didn’t get enough of Gator McClusky in White Lightning, Burt Reynolds brought him back in 1976 with this sequel, with the tagline: “Come and get him.” Not quite as fun as the first — you can’t always catch white lightning in a bottle, after all — but still a solid redneck noir movie.
Got others? Put them in the Comments section below and I’ll add them to the list.
Meanwhile, work on “Deep Blood” continues (check out the Deep Blood link at the top of the page for more info). And still on sale for 99 cents — A Simple Murder and Enemy Within. Download them instantly here.