Thursday Movie Picks: Farms

Despite growing up in middle of nowhere Midwest, I can't relate to farm life. I know people with farms, I grew up driving past plenty of them. but they're not my thing. This week Wanderer wants us to talk about films where farms play a part. Because they do nothing for me, this ended up being a bit on the hard side, but I did manage to find three films I enjoyed. 

1) Nowhere in Africa

One of the products of Fisti's Four Ways A Best Picture blogathon, which I am now kicking myself over for not saving now that his blog is gone - I think I liked this film the most out of our panel. It's about German Jews who move to Kenya during WWII and adjust to life running their own farm. 

2) Shotgun Stories

Jeff Nichols' first picture isn't technically about a farm, but a good portion of the scenes do take place on one. It stars Michael Shannon and is about two families who feud after the father passes away. 

3) Casa de mi Padre

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to watch a Mexican telenova with Will Ferrell staring as a rancher? Well look no further, this film is for you. It's pretty funny, especially when accompanied by a beverage or two. 

17 comments:

  1. I’m 0 for 3 which is not abnormal:) I’d like to see the first one and the last looks like a dumb Will Ferrell movie but I always laugh my ass off with his movies

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    1. It is a very dumb Will Ferrell movie but it's so funny.

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  2. I haven't seen any of them, honestly, I haven't even heard of them.. yikes.

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    1. If you like Jeff Nichols' definitely check out Shotgun Stories!

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  3. I'm with Birgit in being out of the loop on your choices this week. They all sound interesting even the Will Ferrell one and I'm usually not a fan.


    My initial impulse was to do the three farm films (Country with Jessica Lange, The River with Sissy Spacek and Places in the Heart with Sally Field) that for some reason all came out within a couple of months of each other in the 80's but they were a pretty dour lot so I just kept the last and looked for sunnier fare. My first however happy the result was torture to make from all accounts.

    Summer Stock (1950)-Jane Falbury (Judy Garland) and her faithful housekeeper Esme (Marjorie Main) are struggling to keep the family farm afloat. One day Jane’s errant sister Abigail (Gloria De Haven) shows up with the news that she’s has been cast as the lead in a new musical. Oh and by the way she’s brought the entire troupe including her fiancĂ©e, the show’s director Joe Ross (Gene Kelly) with her to rehearse in the barn! After some persuasion Jane lets them proceed with the proviso that they trade chores for room and board. Everything goes bumpily along until Abigail departs in a snit and Jane is convinced to step into the lead. She’s reluctant but since she’s Judy Garland at the peak of her powers it goes well. Breezy if minor musical contains several iconic numbers, Judy & Gene’s challenge dance, Gene solo dance with a newspaper and most of all Judy’s infamous Get Happy number (filmed two months after the rest of the film with a 20 pounds lighter Garland). For something so light it was a nightmare to make taking six months to complete rather than the expected six weeks because Judy was coming apart at the seams (watch her weight fluctuate noticeably from scene to scene and entire backdrops change abruptly from scenes pieced together). For all the turmoil it’s a very pleasant film, Judy’s last at MGM.

    The Egg and I (1947)-City slickers Betty & Bob MacDonald (Claudette Colbert and Fred MacMurray) head to the country to fulfill Bob’s dream of being a chicken farmer. Comic complications ensure with many rude shocks when they discover the farm is more or less a shack and the chicks are far more demanding than expected. Bob catches the eye of the rich neighbor farmer lady and Betty seeks solace and consul from their other neighbors, Ma & Pa Kettle (Marjorie Main & Percy Kilbride-who spun off into a successful series of B movies). Based on a bestseller by the real Betty MacDonald.

    Places in the Heart (1984)-Suddenly widowed in Depression era Texas Edna Spalding (Sally Field) decides to make her small farm pay by bringing the first bale of cotton to market with the help of drifter Moze (Danny Glover), her blind boarder Mr. Will (John Malkovich) and her two young children. Facing many, many obstacles Edna perseveres against daunting odds. Sally won the Best Actress Oscar giving her famous “You like me! You really like me!!” acceptance speech.

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    1. I don't know what's more embarrassing, that I've never heard of any of these films or that I never realized what Sally Fields actually won that Oscar for. lol

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    2. This was where Sally won her second Oscar, the first was Norma Rae which is just an amazing performance.

      Even if you've never heard of Summer Stock I'd be shocked if you've never seen at least a clip of Judy's Get Happy number where she's dressed in a tuxedo jacket and fedora and surrounded by a group of male dancers. It's one of her most famous songs and is included in so many documentaries and shows about classic Hollywood. The movie itself isn't an essential but a very amiable way to pass a couple of hours. Judy for all her troubles behind the scenes is in great voice and remains a captivating performer on screen.

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  4. Yikes, I've never seen any of these! I've been meaning to watch Shotgun Stories for a while, though, and Nowhere in Africa since that blogathon (I'm SO SAD his blog is gone; what ever happened there?), but Casa de mi Padre just looked like too much not my thing.

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    1. I have no idea. I never delete old blogs off my blogroll and one day it was just gone. :(

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  5. With the exception of Shotgun Stories which I have seen as I'm a fan of Jeff Nichols. The rest I haven't seen as I still can't believe I haven't seen Casa de mi Padre as I think it looks hilarious.

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    1. It's so stupid, you'll probably get a good laugh out of it.

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  6. I have only seen Casa de me Padre and all I remember is how batshit weird it was that that film even exists in the first place, but I have always wanted to catch Shotgun Stories. If I remember correctly, the trailer was pretty badass.

    Solid picks...I would have definitely struggled with this one.

    (aww....Fisti...I miss that dude)

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    1. I do too! The fact that Casa de me Padre exists is pretty damn weird. I definitely commend Shotgun Stories, especially if you like Nichols' other films.

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  7. LOVE that you included Shotgun Stories stories here. That's still my favorite Nichols film, and any reason to talk about it is a good reason indeed. I wish more people talked about it!

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    1. I hope more people go back and watch it now that Nichols has a growing fanbase. It's not my favorite, but it's great.

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  8. I really need to rewatch Nowhere in Afrrica. The Four Ways roundtable wasn't that long ago, but honestly I don't remember that much about it. Sad.

    Come back, Fisti!

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    1. I've kept up the tradition of seeing all four of those Oscar winners every year lol

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