Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Real Southern Movies

The other day I heard that the city of Oxford was trying to lure Hollywood back to the Square with tax breaks and other incentives. It's been some time since they shot Intruder In the Dust -- a real classic -- and with some of those good incentives, we might just see a return of shooting in and around the city.

My only hope is that we don't find filmmakers who want to make films like Time to Kill or Fried Green Tomatoes with that ole cornpone quaint South that only exists in the minds of outsiders. I'm no fan of it in fiction or film.

I long for the great Southern films of the 1970s. Can anyone forget The Bandit racing through Oxford and saying how the girls loved him at Ole Miss?

But Smokey and the Bandit only continued a great tradition of B-movies and television of that period that many have forgotten. Everyone remembers watching Dukes of Hazzard but how many recall Six Pack Annie?

It seems many of my favorites starred the great Burt Reynolds. If you haven't seen Gator or White Lightning you've really missed out.

The films of this period showed the grit and realism of the fading South I remember as a kid. This is a world of muscle cars, beautiful girls in hot pants, and dusty back roads.

Forget the sippin' sweet tea on the porch swing with your momma. I want to hear the sound of big engines rev up on the Square. Where's Burt when you need him?

Top 5 Burt Reynolds Southern Classics (Anyone up to organize a Burt Fest at the Lyric next year? It's about time.)

5. Longest Yard
4. Deliverance
3. Gator
2. White Lightning
1. Smokey and the Bandit


  1. Ooo...that sounds fun. A Burt Reynolds fest you say?

    And on a side note - or actually more specific to your post - I think some of the upcoming films (fingers crossed) will be a delightful treat to have filmed in Oxford!

  2. I hereby volunteer, in all seriousness, to help organized the Burt Fest if you decide to do it.

    As a statement of my commitment, I proffer this ode I wrote to his Burtness:


  3. Another incredible Southern film is "Payday" from 1974, starring Rip Torn as a depraved, pill-addled honky-tonk singer traveling the two-lane highways of Alabama. Every detail, other than one or two bad Southern accents of supporting characters, is pure Southern realism.

    On another note, I feel "White Lightning" is superior to "Gator," although Gator includes Jerry Reed's greatest acting effort ever, convincingly evil as Bama McCall.