Two sleepers from the South:

When I was at the Mockingbird conference last month, two nice fellas from NYC were talking to me (from Georgia) and my friend Jeff Hual (from the Florida panhandle = more redneck than Alabama). At some point they asked where we were from, and I said “We’re from down south” and one of them said “Ummm… yeah we could sort of tell.”

In a spirit of shameless cultural ambassadorship then (Jeff may one day be known as the Apostle to the Yankees) — and in what is a bit more of an Easter spirit than my last Good Friday column — let me commend two movies to your attention, both hailing from considerably below the Mason-Dixon line.

Junebug (2005) is just wonderful. Lovely ensemble acting by everyone — touching and utterly truthful performances that are rooted in what PZ calls “reality.” They are all good, but pregnant Amy Adams is more at the heart of the film than anyone else. Watch the Youtube clip and you’ll see what I mean.

And, as a bonus, you’ll get a chance to hear a version of “Softly And Tenderly, Jesus Is Calling” that will knock you out cold.

Rambling Rose (1991) is probably my favorite movie ever — though that depends on what day you catch me. Laura Dern is the heart of it but she has this incredible cast of supporting actors: Diane Ladd, Robert Duvall, and Lukas Haas. Now you may not recognize that last name, but he’s the same actor who played the little Amish boy who sees a murder in Witness (Harrison Ford). When he was 15 he played the other character at the heart of this movie, and he’s stunning.

The other great thing about these movies is that they are Eminently Quotable. They’ve got some great lines, that is. Of course, what matters more is that they combine great dialogue with totally truthful content.

PS. If you have already seen either of these movies, do yourself a favor and see them again. You’ll be glad you did.