Friday, December 11, 2009

Adventures in Myrtle Beach
The cannibal people of Myrtle Beach are a group known for their Southern hospitality.

So, my dear readers and followers, I’ve spent upwards of the last 10 days in travel to and then staying in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. As of now I’m finally back in Boston.

As previously reported, Little Red Riding Hood was selected to screen at the Myrtle Beach International Film Festival. I was honestly not that excited to be screening it mostly because to me it’s so, well, 2006. I really am almost tired of the film, but it did look cool projected on a 30 foot screen.

Florence, SC, aka "the armpit of the Southeast".
Taken on the train; three-quarters of the place is probably devoted to the meaning behind each of Max Cady's tattoos.

My stay in the Deep Southern USA was an interesting experience full of dives, tourist traps and heaping plates of fried food. It's so different from New England its almost like being in another country, in fact, the times I've been to Canada felt much less 'foreign' than this place. I stayed in an inn in Florence, SC, one of the most dangerous cities in the entire country as I waited for the (atrociously managed) Greyhound bus to the beach. The motel was basically a crack house and I could hear what sounded like gangstah pimps sassin’ their hos and vice-versa in the next room. I simply bolted my door and hoped to escape in one piece. Miraculously, not one thing was stolen from me when I left.
Visions of Myrtle Beach, aka "America's putt-putt capital".Godzilla after a jaunt in the Calabash Seafood Buffet.

Myrtle Beach is a neat place. It’s full of trashy and garish tourist dives, miniature golf courses and restaurants with buffets that serve you more food than you need to eat in a week. Sadly I didn't play any miniature golf, but one jaunt in a seafood buffet made me believe that I’d solidified my place in the 3rd level of Dante’s Inferno. Godzilla would leave a typical buffet in Myrtle Beach with a full stomach. The beach itself is pretty and walking around it was a lot of fun. They had a Ripley’s Believe It Or Not museum that I popped in, I’ve always loved those tacky shrines to the grotesque; Dave Luce should seriously focus on getting an exhibit devoted to him erected in one of those. Took pictures of their collection of torture devices and shrunken heads for cinematic inspiration.

The excellent My Sweet Misery.

The festival itself was fun stuff and I liked the majority of the other films I saw shown there. One of my favorite films shown there was My Sweet Misery. That film concerns a depressed, suicidal young man with a chaotically bizarre existence involving a lovingly sociopathic freak for a brother and an equally psychotic ex-wife who emotionally wounded him so heinously that he vomits at the mere mention of her name. He falls in love with the beautiful, sweet-natured cleaning lady of the hotel he’s staying at who falls vice-versa for him after reading his suicide note scrawled on a roll of toilet paper. Also involved is a God-like therapist character whom the man frequently subconsciously consults. It was a poignant film with a ghoulish, twisted sense of morbid humor but a strangely beautiful message of something like hope, some of the most authentic emotions I’ve seen in a film in a while and some realistically quirky characters akin to those of P.T. Anderson or Martin Scorsese. It’s almost like a J.D. Salinger novel put to film. The director, Matthew Jordan, who I got to talk to afterwards, paints a funny, biting and satirical portrait of the more bizarre side of life in America and the kind of chaotic social world many people inhabit.

Also of fine quality was the German short Daruber Hinaus and the extremely well made Zatoichi-inspired Western Carter. The film Route 30, which played right after Little Red Riding Hood, was also highly amusing if marred a bit by its very digital-looking cinematography. Hotel Chelsea, a low budget US/Japanese co-production, was a little bit convoluted but still highly interesting, I haven’t been mind fucked by a horror film in this manner since Brian DePalma stopped making decent quality films. It was almost like Raising Cain directed by Takashi Miike. Thankfully, just about all the films I saw were extremely character and narrative-driven works, which is just the direction I really think cinema needs to swing back toward.

For more personal news, Little Red Riding Hood won an award for “Best Anything Goes” film. I suppose I can start building my award shelf now. And for the best news of all, Jerry Dalton, the producer who runs the Myrtle Beach Film Festival, loved Little Red Riding Hood and seems extremely enthusiastic on getting Alison in Wonderland produced. I am extremely excited and as of now am aiming on getting the film shooting by August to September of 2010. Be talking a lot more on that matter I’m sure. Also planning on making a teaser poster soon.

Myrtle Beach oddities: sharks, heinous medieval torture devices and under-21 nightclubs with amusing names.

Now back to work on Conversations with T.F. Mou. Purged a lot of stuff from my computer to give it a nice speed-up.

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