Red, White & Wasted
89 minutes, 2020
Sam Jones, Andrei Schwartz
Of men, mud and family
Essentially a portrait of Matthew Burns, this documentary has much to say about unapologetic rednecks, monster trucks, mud racing/partying and the proud (mostly, but not exclusively) white South.
Burns, living in Orlando—epicentre of the country’s theme parks—is a professional scavenger (mostly copper wire and precious metals harvested by dumpster diving; there’s a decent living to be made from corporations and people who would rather chuck than recycle).
Divorced after 19 years of marriage, the honest-to-a-fault dad gamely raises his two daughters, even as they fight their own demons ranging from seizures to addictions and an unwanted but lovingly accepted baby (Matt Jr., of course).
The ultimate fix for “mudders” is the Redneck Yacht Club (Punta Gorda, Florida) where devotees of dirt and mayhem drive/capsize their trucks, happily splash smaller “fish”, reveal copious titties and bums, drink/drug to excess and fight. US and Confederate flags wave everywhere (not so much in increasingly diverse Orlando) even as posters of Trump and “Make America Great Again” leave little doubt how any of those who do, will vote.
The production is informative (especially for those who couldn’t imagine revelling in wave after wave of mud rather than abhorring it), enraging (why present-day Blacks are still making a fuss over things that they never lived through…oh, really—lots of “White Lives Matter” slogans are in evidence) and entertaining (Burns’ tribute to Hank Willams Jr.—sporting a Confederate shirt—is as funny as it is artistically weak).
But it’s Burns’ fervent hope that his one-year-old grandson, after having his teeny feet put through a ritual mud baptism at Boggy Creek, will live on to follow in his “dirty” footsteps and live to “mud” another day.
Those nervous about the outcome of the next presidential election are advised to take a peek at how some Americans see themselves and their country. JWR
My Prince Edward
92 minutes, 2020
“There’s no freedom in a marriage”
Even as the planet struggles with the ravages of COVID-19, this tale of to marry or not to marry has as much to say about female-male relationships as it does mainland China’s “relationship” with Hong Kong. Neither will end well.
Prince Edward relates to professional wedding planner Edward (Pak Hon Chu) along with long-time girlfriend, Fong (Stephy Tang ably carries the production), a British monarch who left the throne to marry his love and, ironically, hilariously, the street where I live: Prince Edward Drive. Who could resist?
The important third wheel stems from a marriage of convenience (never consummated; it was all about residency points and cash). The handsome mainlander, Feng Shui (deftly portrayed by Jin-Kaijie) tries to use the system to escape his homeland and eventually end up on the freedom-loving streets of Los Angeles.
Anyone who has second thoughts about tying the knot or chopping one will enjoy this inventive tale that also features an overturned turtle and the fine art of crouching on flat feet. Eman Lam’s guitar-rich, pizzicato supported original score is the musical icing on this fascinating “wedding” cake. JWR