5/16/10

RVOD109 Geography of Your Community

(1954-ish, Educational/Short, b&w)

Riffers:

Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett

That’s an odd name for a boy.

Rating: **1/2

In a Nutshell:


Something about an ice cream factory, and a kid named “Farmland.”

Summary:

Dead giraffes taste good with chocolate sauce.Your community is made of geography. Said geography includes houses, factories and a river. It also includes a child named “Farmland,” or, more likely, a kid who ran between the camera and the cornfield while the narrator was saying, “This is farmland.” The narrator also makes a point of asking why all these places, things and people are next to the river. “We’ll get to that question later,” he says. And by “later,” he means “never.”

Thoughts:

What is Geography of Community trying to say? I have no damn idea, but that’s not the least of this short’s sins. The “kid named Farmland” bit made for some funny jokes from the riffers, but it’s actually the result of a huge, glaring, stupid mistake on the part of the filmmakers. You don’t show a picture of X, say “This is Y”, and expect us to pick Y out of the background, and you don’t need experience or a degree in filmmaking to know this. By the time this short was made, people had, by and large, figured out how to use images and words to convey an idea. Some of them did it badly, but they did it. Ed Wood couldn’t tell a story well, but he could tell it.

And speaking of glaring mistakes, I think the word the narrator was searching for was “industry.” Their description of the ice cream factory, the pottery deer factory, etc. and their relationship to the farms/clay pits/motive power of water/what-have-you seem to focus more on business processes than the specifics of the land they occupy. So, yeah. “Industry of Your Community.” I’ve renamed it in my head already.

There are some funny comments: When the narrator asks what we think the truck marked “ice cream” contains, Kevin answers, “Dead giraffes?” Later, as the narrator continues to ask questions that he refuses to answer, Kevin says, “This has more unanswered questions than Lost.” When the narrator notes the nice, broad highway that leaves the unnamed city, Mike says, “It only goes out, for obvious reasons.” It’s a perplexing, horribly inept short made only a little better with riffing.