West Asheville. Hank Williams, Jr., David Allen Coe and Waylon Jennings.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Goodbye Solo, Hello Blowing Rock

I am captivated by indie (independent) films.  I love blockbusters, but lower budget, high quality films, released outside of the huge movie industry, can be equally good, if not better.  But because they are not marketed widely and they often lack any "star" appeal, you have to search a bit more for them.  It helps tremendously to have a independently run local movie store that offers a broader selection of movies than, say, a Blockbuster typically does.  And, if you live in a large enough city where the motion-picture arts are appreciated and supported, you might be lucky to attend some film festivals, where you can be exposed to a wide range of independent films, films with up-and-coming directors and even a vast array of foreign film releases.  And don't forget the Internet!  You can find specialized websites that review various indie films, and you can take the titles you desire to your movie rental place or order them from NetFlix.  I have found that Blockbuster, for example, won't carry all films, but they sometimes can order and hold them for you, at no cost to you other than your typical rental rate.  There are ways to do get those indie films!

Goodbye Solo is a fabulous film, both for its inspiring messages and for its incredible scenery.  As film critic A.O. Scott points out, "it has an uncanny ability to enlarge your perception of the world."  When I watched it, I saw bits of my family and hometown.  I also was able to identify with the main characters because of my travels and because of my cross-cultural marriage, both of which give me a different way of looking deeper into the nuances and complexities of my own culture.  My wife gives me another set of eyes!  Goodbye Solo also has a familiar setting:  North Carolina!  The town of Blowing Rock (94 miles north of Asheville) plays a prominent role, and so does Winston Salem.  My late great-uncle, William Felix Vann (Bumps), loved Blowing Rock.  In fact, the last time he visited Blowing Rock, he went hiking on the Boone Fork Trail, walking it with his sons, granddaughters and others.  And today, Uncle Bumps' Chapel Hill, NC-based son continues to have great passion for Blowing Rock, and takes regular trips there.  Kade and I must get on board!  We have been twice, but haven't explored the area nearly enough.  This year we hope to get up on the rock - or close to it - and we hope to walk across the Grandfather Mountan bridge.

Here's what Roger Ebert thought of Goodbye Solo.   For other top movie locations in Asheville and the surrounding mountains, click here.   For Asheville-specific, in the movies, go here.

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