As promised, I rented and watched Baptists at our Barbecue.
I was hoping for more. Frankly, it’s pretty stupid. They did invite the Baptists to the barbecue, but I never really understood why. I think it had something to do with world peace, but I could be wrong. But please don’t take offense at my dissing of this movie. It’s not because it’s a Mormon movie, although make no mistake, it IS a Mormon movie. It explained nothing about Baptist culture except the preacher had unruly eyebrows that REALLY needed to be trimmed. Do unruly eyebrows equal evil? Because if so, my dad needs an exorcism. The movie had its funny moments, but only if you are even remotely familiar with Mormon culture. I’m dissing it because it was stupid. Which is sad. I think this filmmaker has potential. Much of this film, while amateur, had a lot of potential. It just never quite gets there. (Please note: I am NO filmmaker. I do not pretend to be one. So all of this can be taken with a grain of salt, even the praise, faint though it may be.)
The leads were very charming. The premise very interesting. The director/writer/producer/whomever has a great sense of humor, and an ability to laugh at the culture without doing any heavy-handed preaching.
But the plot was thin–where it wasn’t threadbare. Many things went unexplained. Threads were dropped. Give me a break, I’m a writer, and I KNOW a dropped thread when I see one.
This ain’t no Richard Dutcher film. But then again, it never INTENDED to be. It is supposed to be a comedy for, well, Mormons, and I think the Mormons that made this movie were trying to send a message, however slight, about tolerance. But it was too slight to do anything except make one shake one’s head.
There were some damn funny bits in it, though. It would have been so cool had the whole film held up. The Saints in this town–which is supposed to be out of Utah, but which is so obviously shot in Utah, despite the fact they claim the main character moves OUT of Utah–are fighting a war with the Baptists for control. It’s about 50-50. (Please note: We do have Baptists, however, it is not 50-50. Pretty much ever. Some towns are not real Mormon, like Park City and Moab, and even Salt Lake City. Even then, not 50-50, Baptists and Mormons. In fact, there really is no PLACE where you can move and find you have 50 percent Mormons and 50 percent Baptists. Film director…have you been visiting my sister? If not, why Baptists? We have more problem with the Jehovah’s Witnesses here than Baptists. Oh well.) So, Utah doesn’t send them a lot of support. They rebel, and ask for a wardhouse, which they don’t have, and so Utah sends them a double-wide. Gives new meaning to the term trailer trash. And then someone steals half of it. So they have to shore it up with lovely hand-made quilts. Again, funny shit, at least if you are familiar with Utah and wards, and Mormons, and all of that.
The Nazi-Mormon Matron is funny. A lot of the actors are funny. The leads are charming. The script just didn’t deliver. Which, as I mentioned before, is sad. It had potential. And the screenwriter has potential. I would definitely give a film by this screenwriter/director another chance. (I’m too lazy to look up his name.)
I recently watched some clips from The RM, another Mormon-themed movie, a while back, and just those few clips had me laughing a lot more than this movie.
Even though it wasn’t a great movie, I think the writer/director has a good sense of humor about being Mormon, and an ability to laugh at the culture. If you can’t laugh, you cry, and it’s hard to see through tears.
Next up at Chez Collins: a review of The RM. Any minute now I’m going to be making a batch of green jello and heading to the wardhouse for homemaking. Not.