This One Time, When Mom was Bouncing at the Shamrock....

A little while ago, I blogged on the cliches about small towns that writers seem to enjoy.  There's something I couldn't believe I left out of the post.  The other day I noticed that Netflix made the movie Knockaround Guys available for streaming, a movie that takes place in my hometown, though little, if any of it was filmed there.

With a cast that includes names like Vin Diesel, John Malkovich, Seth Green, and Dennis Hopper, it's hard to imagine what could go wrong with it.  Plenty.  The cliches were so thick I needed a shovel.  I actually liked the way the mobsters spoke and behaved.  The portrayal of my hometown is what pissed me off.

Check out this bar scene.

My mom used to bounce in the bar in which this scene takes place.  So did my brother, occasionally, when he wasn't being the D.J.   A kid a little older than my sister and I once came up to her and said, "You know, I've seen a lot of scary stuff in my life, but when I saw your mom coming at me with a pool stick...I nearly shit my pants."

So, yeah, there were enough fights there, but usually only on the Sunday night dances.  The dances were a big draw, and Mom checked ID's from as far away as Fargo, ND, people who told Mom they had driven all that way to party one night.  Don't ask.  I don't really know why, either.  I didn't see the draw of them, and I didn't go to many.  It wasn't like I could sneak in with my Mom at the front door and my brother at the back.

Those of you from bigger towns, does anything strike you as being over the top or cliche about the scene?  From my viewpoint, there's a lot wrong.

  1. I don't know many folks from my hometown that would be ballsy enough to pick a fight with a guy as big as Vin without being near alcohol poisoning.
  2. Nobody in Wibaux talks like that. 
  3. Had a guy from Wibaux slapped a woman like that in public, the locals in the bar, including my mom, would have reached out and touched him back.
  4. There are plenty of people who think they own the town.  They just don't come right out and say it.  The social ties between folks in Wibaux are a lot more subtle, probably bordering on passive-aggressive.
  5. My mom would totally have walked over and given Vin the smackdown.  Don't believe me?  You've never met my mom.
I probably can't spot problems in the New York characters, but the problems with the Montanans throughout the entire movie are glaring.  Is that how the world sees us, or perhaps wants to see us?
I wonder what the movie would have been like had the small-town folks been more realistic and as well-developed.
    Wibaux isn't all sunshine and roses.  Rumors fly about corruption.  There are ignorant yokels.  There are drunken idiots, but there are also the folks that worked my dad's ranch for 8 weeks while he recovered from his heart attack.  There are the folks that pool their money and give anonymous gifts to needy families, no formal charity involved.  There's politics, not just about who has the power locally, but also about how places like Wibaux aren't even considered when Washington decides to pass yet another law that makes no sense for rural areas.

    There's so much more to a small town, if someone bothers to do the digging.


    1. Great commentary on what Hollywood gets wrong. Wilbaux sounds like an interesting place to grow up.
      Thanks for sharing.

      BTW.. great blog.


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