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Monki takes a BIG RIG to ELECTION DAY!!!

Greetings humans, Monki here with my first flicks I caught at SXSW '07.

Today was a really good day for me. I put an offer in on a house, I saw my parents for the first time in a while and I was honored to have a SXSW Film Badge fall into my lap at the very last moment. I forgot how much I love SXSW until I missed the very first day of it. It is a love that runs deep, one that cannot be dismissed...'n stuff. Anyway, I kicked off SXSW '07 with two great documentaries.

Election Day

Election Day centers around the election in 2004. The one where President Bush was re-elected over John Kerry. This is a doc about what happens on Super Tuesday. We see a new American citizen voting for the first time, we see an 18 year old voting in her first election, a convict making his first ballot-drop and a group of bottlers in Oklahoma talking about homosexual marriage.

The film represents a good cross-section of American culture and political stances. One of the true break-out characters was Jim Fuchs, a Republican poll-watcher in Chicago and a dead ringer for Stephen Tobolowsky. We watch him give a rousing speech at 5am at an IHOP the morning of the election and travel with him throughout the day as he battles to keep the politic pushers back 100 feet from the polling areas and arguing with local Democrats at other polling stations.

Fourteen separate locations were filmed and five or six are really highlighted in this piece that shows the good and the bad of voting in America. If you are SXSW you should give this one a watch. Check out the movie's website at http://www.electiondaythemovie.com/.

Big Rig

One of my favorite finds at SXSW (you know, the one where you buy the DVD and show everyone you know) was Doug Pray's documentary Scratch. Scratch highlighted turntablists and the lifestyle that surrounds them. Much like Scratch, Big Rig follows a group of under appreciated people across this great country of ours.

Big Rig is an effort five years in the making. Doug and his producer spent months traveling across America and basically hanging out in truckstops meeting truckers in their natural environments. They intended to create a documentary about the kick-ass times of convoys and lot lizards but instead they have found a movie that reveals the heart of America lies on the roads that keep it together.

If roads are the veins of the U.S., then truckers are the white blood cells that keep the rest of the body (U.S.) from failing. Stop and think about it. Almost everything you purchase ends up on the back of a big rig at some point before it makes it to your house. Clothes, food, furniture, all carried via 18-wheeler. We owe a lot to these modern-day cowboys.

The film travels from the northeast down to Dixie, across to Nevada, up to Washington and ends up somewhere in California. Along the way we are treated to a wonderful cast of characters all willing to share their stories of life on the road. Some of them are heartbreaking, some of them are hilarious but all of them are genuine.

Pray's style remains intact from his Scratch days. For a movie about big trucks crossing the country, it never gets boring to look at. Also, the music is top notch, very kickass stuff here from Buck 65.

It does start to drag (tow? haul?) a little bit towards the end of the movie, but I still dug the hell out of it. If you liked Scratch, give this one a view. You can check out more info (and some clips from the soundtrack) at http://bigrigmovie.com/bigrig/.

Sorry if these reviews are short, I've got a ton of films to watch in the next two weeks and I've got to get some rest so I can stay awake during them all. So, keep tuned for more over the coming days, until then though, back up the tree I go!

-Monki

Readers Talkback
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  • March 11, 2007, 8:42 a.m. CST

    first

    by Cedar_Room

    i will never watch this film, just wanted to post FIRST.

  • March 11, 2007, 9:35 a.m. CST

    Cedar_Room

    by Celtican

    Well done for posting first, you must be very proud at such a huge achievement.

  • March 11, 2007, 9:53 a.m. CST

    If highways are America's veins...

    by JimBobCooter

    And Big Rigs are the White Blood Cells... Then Flames on Optimus=AIDS. Think about it.

  • March 11, 2007, 12:46 p.m. CST

    what happens?

    by rdsxfan8

    what happens to many of the films at sxsw that arent picked up by major distributors? are they usually available for most people to see in some form. Im always up for a good documentary and I liked scratch so i would be willing to give big rig a try but i live all the flippin way on the east coast and have no wa of ever making it out to texas or colorado for any film festivals.

  • March 11, 2007, 5:21 p.m. CST

    Ah Yes, Katy Chevigny

    by msspurlock

    Michael Moore, Leni Riefenstahl and Morgan. How balanced and logical their works are. Like Triumph of the Will.

  • March 11, 2007, 6:32 p.m. CST

    Last Mimzy sneak yesterday

    by Trader Groucho 2

    Where's the talkback for this science fiction piece? BTW it's a great kids movie, but not quite in ET territory for adults.

  • March 11, 2007, 6:41 p.m. CST

    Not that this talkback should descend yet into another

    by Trader Groucho 2

    2004 post-mortum, but through extremely partisan secretaries of state in a number of states suppressing the vote by frakking with voter rolls, providing insufficient, inadequate, and ill-stocked voting places, and generally being anti-democratic (as in democracy, not just the other party), Bush effectively hijacked the 2004 election as well. That being said, John Kerry took it like an amoeba.

  • March 11, 2007, 8:58 p.m. CST

    BIG LEG and ERECTION

    by iwontwin

    I swear this was another 300 post.

  • March 12, 2007, 3:02 a.m. CST

    BringingSexyBack is gay

    by NachoNegro

    In fact he has been in a relationship with a 235lb Mexican named Jose for the last 3 years. I would be very interested to hear his viewpoint on homosexual marriage.

  • March 12, 2007, 3:14 a.m. CST

    "instead they have found a movie that reveals the heart

    by half vader

    of America lies on the roads that keep it together". Jesus Monki, if it's not bad enough you usually regurgitate the blurbs from game press kits, now you're doing it with movies? Blecch! I sure hope the movie isn't as cheesy and melodromatic as your review, 'cause it does seem interesting despite your obvious analogies. Yeah that's harsh, but if it's worth posting it's worth checking to see whether you wrote a pile of saccharine shit or not. Fair? <p> THIS SUMMER... Monki - for everybody who ever dared to dream (to the sounds of Solsbury Hill, naturally).

  • March 12, 2007, 3:53 a.m. CST

    Comedian Richard Jeni shoots himself

    by Orionsangels

    http://tinyurl.com/2hogm7

  • March 12, 2007, 5:18 a.m. CST

    Kerry Lost in 2004. Period.

    by kevinwillis.net

    End of sentence. Mondale lost in 1984. Dukaks lost in 1988. The elections were not "stolen" and the voters were not "oppressed", the candidates lost the elections and the other candidates one. In 2006, the Republicans didn't lose the house and senate in one swell foop because of Democratic dirty tricks or even the ballot-box-stuffing-and-bribing-homeless-people-to-cast-fraudulent-balance-with-cigarettes, a favorite tactic of Democratic activists. The Republicans lost because . . . the Republicans lost. More specifically, each candidate lost their respective races. Al Gore won the popular vote but lost the electoral vote to either Republican dirty tricks or the luck of the draw, depending on your love of conspiracies, but the reality is if Gore had been able to, say, carry his own state, the Florida aftermath would have been moot and we'd be ending our second term with an embattled president Gore, under attack by Republicans who wanted more shock and awe in the War on Global Warming Deniers.

  • March 12, 2007, 5:24 a.m. CST

    Bush Senior Lost in 1992 . . .

    by kevinwillis.net

    Perot queered the election, and if Perot hadn't been running it's almost sure the incumbent would have won, even against the dashing Bill Clinton. Any objective study of state by state results indicate with very little doubt that, without Perot in the race, Bill Clinton would have lost in 1992. But you know what? He was in the race, that's how the process works, and Bush lost. Period. Perot didn't "steal" the election, and neither did Larry King or all the media pundits who lavished attention on him with the same fervor they tried to drive Nader out of the race in 2000. But Bush lost. Clinton won. Period. End of story. Dole lost in 1996. Period. Kerry lost in 2004. Period. Folks who think that their candidates should always win and they other candidates should always lose, and that any time that their candidate loses the election was "stolen", are, in fact, the folks who are anti-democratic. You aren't talking about a democracy when your candidates can never lose an election. And either the Republicans lost in 2006 and Bush won in 2004, or Bush stole the election in 2004 and the Democrats stole the election(s) in 2006. And elections are just about who is the better theif at the time.

  • March 12, 2007, 11:23 a.m. CST

    No...

    by Harry Weinstein

    ...it's the people who say that elections aren't stolen in the face of volumes of evidence that they were stolen who are un-American. I don't care who did the stealing. In 2000 and 2004 it was the Republicans. Other times in the past, distant and not-so-distant, it was the Democrats. It's never justifiable, and should be punishable with heavy jail time (think decades with no parole) for all involved. There's no credibility whatsoever to the Republican victory in Ohio in 2004. Common sense ought to tell you that bad things are bound to happen when the campaign manager for one side (again, doesn't matter which) is in charge of counting the votes. That's like a football game with the Giants and the Cowboys, where the coach of the Cowboys is also the referee. What the fuck would any sane person expect to happen in a situation like that? If a country we didn't like had an election like our 2004 one, we'd probably invade them or at least discretely stage a coup. But the same metrics that we use to judge the validity of other people's elections apparently don't apply to our own.

  • March 12, 2007, 11:23 a.m. CST

    No...

    by Harry Weinstein

    ...it's the people who say that elections aren't stolen in the face of volumes of evidence that they were stolen who are un-American. I don't care who did the stealing. In 2000 and 2004 it was the Republicans. Other times in the past, distant and not-so-distant, it was the Democrats. It's never justifiable, and should be punishable with heavy jail time (think decades with no parole) for all involved. There's no credibility whatsoever to the Republican victory in Ohio in 2004. Common sense ought to tell you that bad things are bound to happen when the campaign manager for one side (again, doesn't matter which) is in charge of counting the votes. That's like a football game with the Giants and the Cowboys, where the coach of the Cowboys is also the referee. What the fuck would any sane person expect to happen in a situation like that? If a country we didn't like had an election like our 2004 one, we'd probably invade them or at least discretely stage a coup. But the same metrics that we use to judge the validity of other people's elections apparently don't apply to our own.

  • March 12, 2007, 11:25 a.m. CST

    Pizza! Pizza!

    by Harry Weinstein

    We we double double post post for for you you so so you you don't don't have have to to.

  • March 12, 2007, 5:35 p.m. CST

    Harry Weinstein: Yes . . .

    by kevinwillis.net

    The people who say that elections weren't stolen, despite facing volumes of fantasy, conspiracy theorists, black-helicopter types, alien-abduction stories are . . . thinking for themselves, rather than being swept up in conspiratorial nonsense. If that's un-American, then color me un-American.<br><br> Even John Kerry didn't see enough evidence of election fraud to demand a recount. The Ohio recount was by the Green and Libertarian party presidential candidates. And, after the recount, Bush still one Ohio by 118,457 votes. BTW, Blackwell was the co-chair of the Bush-Cheney campaign in Ohio, not Bush's campaign manager, in Ohio or generally. Without getting into all the details of the Ohio aftermath, I see a lot of hyperbole but very little evidence of electoral theft. Which, despite the presence of Blackwell, would still have been extremely difficult, as he would hardly have been able to act alone--or without the tacit cooperation of non-Republicans and non-Blackwell cronies--making an actual election theft extraordinarily difficult. Most of the Ohio stuff seems to be a case of people saying, essentially, "where other people say there is smoke, even though I haven't seen the smoke myself, there must be fire". I'm not for election theft, I just don't think it happened in 2004. Or 2006. I thing the volumes of "evidence" are not evidence in any real way. Not that isolated activists on both sides don't attempt to stuff ballot boxes or bribe constituents in every election cycle, they usually get caught and, if their chicanery turns the election, there are a lot of challenges.