Vernon, Florida Screen 7 articles

Vernon, Florida

1981

Vernon, Florida Poster
  • Not as interesting as Morris's other films, although it has its moments.

  • The twin hobbies of Vernon residents seem to be hunting and Christianity - not surprisingly for a small town in the South - but one senses that Morris appreciates them at a remove... Still, Morris’ appreciation of small-town eccentricity paved the way for narrative films like Blue Velvetand Raising Arizona.

  • This is Morris’ only documentary shot mostly outdoors, capturing subjects in various environments, and it’s frequently gorgeous, right from the opening sequence of an exterminator driving down residential streets spewing a giant cloud of pesticide.

  • Anyone who saw Gates of Heaven will need no inducement to try Errol Morris' second idiosyncratic foray into documentary. While less sharply focused than the pet cemetery film, this is equally delightful in its loving - but detached - portrait of the more eccentric inhabitants of small-town America, in this case the backwater community of the title.

  • Here Morris approaches documentary ground zero: A turkey-hunting hipster, a worm farmer, a couple who once took a vacation in White Sands, New Mexico, the crocks who hang out in front of Brock's Service Station, all become as entrancing as the kinkiest Warhol superstar—and far more mysterious.

  • A polyphonic southern yarn, Vernon, Florida is nevertheless subtly well structured. What may seem like a random rollout of fringe characters is actually a series of virtual, impeccably timed pas de deux, with Henry Shipes, a frank-talking turkey hunter, serving as the infinitely returning backbeat. The film veers even closer than Gates of Heaven to mocking its subjects, yet along with invitations to laughter are intimations of adoration, warmth, and even self-recognition.

  • Vernon, Florida is an utterly captivating musing on the work of filmmaking, and the wandering that goes into choosing subject matter. Among the handful of residents that Morris gets on film, the central idea that all of them express is a sense of patience, and the importance of getting lost.

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