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4.2 out of 5 stars
Vernon, Florida
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Showing 1-10 of 11 reviews(2 star)show all reviews
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon December 11, 2009
I've always enjoyed Errol Morris' films. I really wanted to see "Vernon, Florida" when I saw that many reviewers compared it to "Gates of Heaven." Unfortunately, this film was a major letdown.

The biggest problem with this film is that it is nothing more than a group of loosely-connected vignettes. Morris interviews people from Vernon. We've all known people who love to talk but who are not interesting. Watching this movie feels like being stuck in a car with one of those people. In this film, Morris seems to have had no intention of a telling a story with a beginning, a middle, and an end.

To be fair, there are some funny moments in this film. However, after watching, I feel bad about having laughed. I must agree with the viewer from Nashville who said that in "Vernon" an elitist filmmaker encourages the viewer to look down upon his subjects. We see little indication that these people might have any redeeming insights into life and its challenges. While I didn't really want to hear these people pontificate, I did not want to make fun of them, either.

Morris is a talented filmmaker, but "Vernon, Florida" disappointed me.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
You have the turn the volume up on your TV extremely high to hear this movie, even then it's difficult to understand what they're saying. Also, at certain times (like when a truck is rushing past) you're treated with a full-blast of sound, shattering yer stinkin' eardrums.

It's a shame, because it's a great movie marred by a technical isse.
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on January 19, 2013
Those raised in the South have encountered plenty of bumpkins; for Southerners, this documentary won't reveal anything new. It's just a bunch of codgers telling stories that they believe are interesting but that in fact are not. Overall an unimpressive film.
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on January 23, 2013
I was expecting something better. Something funny. Something... just better. It is boring and drags on. The life of a little town in Florida, or almost anywhere. That summarizes it perfectly. Small town life.
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon November 28, 2005
Documentary from Errol Morris, made after his cult classic Gates of Heaven, and running at a mere 55 minutes; it's a miniature portrait of lower-income rural life in Florida, tracing the activities of several inhabitants of the small town called Vernon. At times the dialogue is unintelligible, and the characters overly esoteric and dimwitted to garner enough attention, but the film has a few interesting scenes such as the breathtaking opening and a bizarre sermon delivered by an absent-minded religious zealot. A fair work on the whole, and not up to the caliber of his other work.
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4 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on August 10, 2008
Coming from such an acclaimed film maker as Errol Morris I found this documentary a disappointment. It's true that the stories of such eccentric characters as the turkey hunter and the elderly animal collector can be funny at times. But I found the whole thing rather mean-spirited, as you really aren't laughing with the people but rather laughing at them.

The film's country bumpkins may be a revelation to viewers from big cities. But Vernon, Florida isn't actually all that unique. I live in a small town outside of Nashville and have some equally oddball neighbors. I'm sure many others in rural America can say the same.

Fortunately, Morris found greater maturity in his later docs like "Fog Of War". But this early effort just seems to be the work of an elitist making fun of those he views as less intelligent. Skip it!
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3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on January 27, 2006
This movie is okay, but does not feel complete. The people in this one are not expressed enough in the movie, and I felt at the end that this played out more like a long trailer for a movie instead of a completed one. Morris had a good idea here, but it seemed too brief and desultory throughout. It's worth watching, but it leaves you wanting more depth and length. Possibly Morris at the time this was made had not totally developed his documentary style, it does play like a sort of practice film compared to other works such as Gates of Heaven and the First Person series.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on December 2, 2013
I don't get what all the recommendations were about. It seemed boring and outdated. I couldn't get my boyfriend to watch it.
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on May 13, 2011
I love documentaries, and I really appreciate some of Errol Morris's efforts to shine a light on eccentric characters and cultural phenomena that dot the American landscape. But this little film failed to capture my imagination. My jaw dropped several times while watching it; however, it wasn't because I was shocked or busting out laughing. It was to yawn. The turkey man was mildly amusing, but I've met more interesting characters on a romp through Walmart. Also, I was appalled at the quality of the film. I realize it was filmed before HD and all our fancy video toys of today, but I had a video camera back in that era and captured some excellent footage of my crazy cat. So I would think a film expert like Morris could have done a better job.

Vernon, Florida would have done better in the hands of Forrest Gump. At least the viewer would have gained a little wisdom at the end.

One positive: this little film was cheap on Amazon. So if you're looking to fill out your Errol Morris collection, you won't have to miss a mortgage payment.
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5 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on August 25, 2005
Many of the other reviews of this movie are glowing, and I won't dispute them. There are many fine features about the movie. Is it an interesting documentary? Yes. Are the people featured odd? Yes.

So why, despite all of the glowing praise, did I not like *Vernon Florida*?

There wasn't, so it seemed to me, a narrative thread. It was vignette after vignette as opposed to a cohesive narrative. And the one thing I want from a movie is some sort of plot. Even if the only reason for the plot to exist is so that one special effect after another can be shown.

I suppose if I had approached the movie as a cinematic portrait, this cod liver oil of a movie would have gone down better. But I don't want cod liver oil when I see a movie, I want maple syrup--something unchallenging that might not be totally real. Should I want something a bit more edifying, I'll reach for a book.

If wanting nothing more than diversion makes me a cinema philistine, then I am guilty as charged.
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