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"Get Low"
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August 04, 2010, 01:00 AM
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From my column in Taki`s Magazine:
Get Low, a dramedy starring venerable elders Robert Duvall, Bill Murray, and Cissy Spacek, is promisingly based on a prime slab of Old, Weird Americana: the true 1938 story of an elderly hillbilly (played by Duvall) who hired an undertaker (Murray) to throw him a huge funeral before he died. The Southern period setting is reminiscent of two of the most imaginative films of the last decade: the Coen Brothers’ O Brother, Where Art Thou? and Tim Burton’s Big Fish. Not surprisingly, Get Low has garnered 100 percent positive ratings among Top Critics on RottenTomatoes.com.

Teddy Roosevelt’s daughter Alice said of her spotlight-loving father, �He wants to be the bride at every wedding, the corpse at every funeral, and the baby at every christening.� In this same spirit, the illiterate Tennessee codger Felix Bushaloo Breazeale decided to enjoy hearing his own eulogy.

Breazeale’s whim captured the fancy of the nation. Soon, he had a publicity agent and newspapers were treating the faux funeral like the biggest news in Tennessee since the Scopes Monkey Trial. About ten thousand people from 14 states swarmed the festivities. A two-mile long traffic jam left Uncle Bush late for his own funeral.

The �living corpse� savored every moment of the �doin’s and goin’s on,� chuckling �Folks, I’m tellin’ ya, this business of having your funeral before you die beats sparkin’ in a buggy.� Afterwards, he autographed fans’ programs with his �X.� The 74-year-old backwoodsman then went to New York and appeared on Ripley’s Believe It Or Not Radio Show, but reported back that big city �victuals weren’t worth a dern.� He lived on another half decade, entertaining his numerous visitors by having his mule (named �Mule�) perform tricks....

The 79-year-old Duvall is being talked up for a second Oscar, based, apparently, on the Commutative Property of Film Appreciation. See, last year Jeff Bridges got his first Oscar fpr Crazy Heart, another ornery coot movie in which Duvall played the best friend. So, this must be Duvall’s turn, right? He might indeed win for Get Low, because Duvall here delivers Acting for the Sake of Acting in the Oscar-grabbing tradition of Al Pacino in Scent of a Woman.

To find out whether Get Low is as good as it`s cracked up to be, read the whole thing at Taki`s and comment below.