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Searching For The Wrong-Eyed Jesus

4.5 out of 5 stars 46 customer reviews

Additional DVD options Edition Discs
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(May 15, 2012)
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$16.36 $13.72

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Editorial Reviews

Take a captivating and compelling road trip led by Jim White through the creative spirit of the American South, a world of churches, prisons, coalmines, truckstops, juke joints, swamps and mountains. Along the way you'll meet musicians including the Handsome Family, Johnny Dowd, 16 Horsepower, David Johansen, old time banjo player Lee Sexton, and novelist Harry Crews. This film is a collage of stories and testimonies filled with sudden death, sin and redemption... and all the while, a strange Southern Jesus looms in the background.

Special Features

  • Commentary by director Andrew Douglas and screenwriter Steve Haisman
  • Live song recordings
  • Moonshine recipe
  • Trailer

Product Details

  • Actors: Harry Crews, Johnny Dowd, David Johansen, Jim White
  • Directors: Andrew Douglas
  • Writers: Steve Haisman
  • Producers: Andrew Douglas, Anthony Wall, Jonathan Shoemaker, Martin Rosenbaum, Simon Crocker
  • Format: NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Image Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: May 15, 2012
  • Run Time: 83 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000E1OI8U
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #25,590 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Searching For The Wrong-Eyed Jesus" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
At some point early in the film White suggests something to the effect of "This is my kind of road" as he drives through junk yards, abandoned buildings, crumbling parking lots...

There may well have been a Wal-Mart a block away, but there's no place for such global-consumption-at-your-fingertips Generica in this flim. These nearly forgotten roads seem to be chosen more as a way to reinforce the boundaries from which White has chosen to view the world (and have the world view his music?) than for any realistic view of the South. It's scary to think this is what British people might now think of the South (if they didn't already).

I say this only because I live in a similarly sparsely-populated region way north of the Mason-Dixon - also dominated by poor, white, former democrat-now republican voting religious people with unique accents. Their ancestors found their way here when timber, mining, and shipping boomed. Not much has changed here in 70 years either.

I could drive through these ghost towns and back roads finding quirky people of various zealotries to put in a film too. I've certainly met plenty. But it wouldn't necessarily be an encompassing view of the region's people by any means. Most here and, I assume in the South as well, are far too normal and complicated for a film like this.

But - that said - maybe this film doesn't need to seek balance. They state early on that the goal of the film is to find the culture at the root of White's alt-country music - which is rural, white, poor, American. You can't really sing about bludgeoning a person to death standing in front of a display of X-Box consoles, now can you? Maybe the film finds that culture in all its glory and tragedy.
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Format: DVD
This is a strange move to watch. It's not a documentary, even though it resembles one. Probably the best way to think of "Searching for the Wrong-eyed Jesus" is that what you are watching is one man's visual poem of a (large) region and people. And White's version, which is that of a musician's, is highly selective, jumping from the deep South into Appalachia, with hardly a blink - though these two regions, though similar, also have many differences. White can be annoying in his own way, since many of his musings regarding the South, can sound both pithy and full-of-it at the same time. If you are from the South, it seems pretty darned manipulative, even more so when you realize this film was done for BBC. White, clearly, is pushing buttons for a foreign audience, but he does it with such a clear-eyed sincerity that he's easy to forgive. It's kind of like listening to the Rolling Stones singing "Hand of Fate." You enjoy the song -- it rocks -- but you also know it's a bit hokey. Whatever his sins, White loves the South and its people, so roll with it.

But where does that leave the viewer? Well, it's not the real South with all of its complexities, but to be fair, that would take a series. Still, the parts that White offers up are real enough, and important to him, so I suggest you allow him his idiosyncracies, because he does entertain with some pretty fine music by some excellent folks you may not have even heard of. Cat Power, 16 Horsepower, The Handsome Family, to name a few, along with good story telling by the original literary wild man, Harry Crews. Accompanying many of the songs, are haunting film images that will hang with you.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
My family has lived in the South since it was jungle, since before Mississippi was even a territory, much less a state. But I moved away from Mississippi thirty years ago, and from the South altogether over twenty years ago, and I have nothing good to say about the South. My criticisms of this movie, then, aren't due to wounded Southern chauvinism.

After I'd rented this movie, I knew I'd want to watch it repeatedly, so I bought it. I don't regret that decision, but the more I watch it, the more suspect the film, and its makers' intentions, become.

From the first, I knew that the film is profoundly inaccurate: to call this a mirror of the South, or a deep exploration of Southern culture, is about like saying the truth about New York City is found in the voodoo subculture of certain parts of Harlem.

But I thought that was probably a mistake of perspective, a matter of the filmmakers not knowing any better--and maybe getting taken for a ride by the Southerners. (That's something Southerners get a kick out of--pulling the legs of outsiders--and it's a well-developed, socially-prized art form.)

I have come to think, though, that some of the errors are just too glaring to be honest mistakes: For instance, the total absence of any reference to race, which is surely central to any story of the South, especially its religion. Or the film's completely omitting the fact that the religion portrayed in the movie is not only generally shunned, but held in contempt, by Southern evangelicals, who are the vast majority of religious people in the South.

Then there's that strange-looking old crippled guy who tells so many stories--like the confabulation about the Sears catalog.
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Topic From this Discussion
title of the movie
If you have to ask what the title has to do with the movie, you don't know nothin' 'bout Georgia country religion. Sorry, you missed it.
Jul 22, 2015 by Bette Waters |  See all 2 posts
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