Even in these times, there are a lot of choices for people who enjoy movies. This is a truly wonderful, glorious thing.
With a relatively small amount of effort, within a few keystrokes, you can find something that will match your mood, tastes or individual, specific whims on any given, random day.
I like many different colors and flavors of visual stimuli. I honestly do. You probably do, too. And, again, there really are tons of movies, TV shows and stuff you could spend/waste your time with — more than you could ever watch in a lifetime (which is both comforting, I suppose, but also sorta frustrating). I like comedies, I like dramas, I like suspense, romance, action and superhero movies. It’s a blessing, most of the time. I see a lot of movies, and I almost always walk away feeling satisfied and fulfilled.
But then, occasionally, I see something that makes me reconsider this whole happy, sappy, simplistic, probably too comfortable model. What the heck am I doing just doodling about, pursuing my obsessive/ compulsive need to watch close to every danged thing put out by the mainstream Hollywood product machine?
Sometimes a movie comes along that feels so pure, refreshing, real and solidly great — a piece of film that perfectly expresses and reflects a writer/ director’s vision so clearly, it actually feels like art and not commerce.
Why don’t I just pursue the more ambitious, indy, challenging projects? I should feed my soul with better quality. It would probably make me a smarter, more sophisticated and interesting person.
Such is the case with “ Yellow Rose,” a movie I was trying to see for months —but kept just missing by a day or so — after it arrived in a local theater, left and then finally, mercifully, came back (if only briefly).
For a few months in early 2020, I kept seeing the trailer for “Yellow Rose,” which included quick snippets from various reviews praising the movie as being “brilliant” and “the best cinematic experience of the year,” and listed a seemingly endless stream of film festival awards it earned.
Wow, I thought. I gotta see that movie.
I could only hope and pray it eventually reached a theater around here.
This doesn’t always work out. Sometimes I am very disappointed and/or I just don’t connect or understand what all the hype was about. Happily, this wasn’t how it played out with “Yellow Rose.” I absolutely loved it.
“Yellow Rose” is a story about an odd, quirky outsider — a teenage Filipina illegal immigrant living in Austin, Texas, who loves country music, writes her own songs and has an exquisite, other-worldly, beautiful voice.
After her mom is caught for being an “illegal,” carted away in the middle of the night by government officials and detained in preparation for deportation, Rose, our central character, is forced to go on the run.
She is housed briefly by a wealthy aunt then is sheltered in a honky tonkish bar by a sweet bar owner lady, before she finally finds her match, blooming into her potential, with real life country legend Dale Watson, who plays a somewhat fictionalized version of himself.
This is great stuff. And, even with all the talent here, particularly with the title character, as acted by Eva Noblezada, the reason it works so amazingly well is, clearly, because of writer/director Diane Paragas.
I know indy/arty stuff just doesn’t appeal to everyone. I can only hope you don’t hold it too much against me that I like this genre as much as I do.
The main focus of this column will continue to be on what is, in fact, still (at least as of this writing) “now showing.”
Speaking of which, next week I will review “Let Him Go,” which is the new Kevin Costner/ Diane Lane heavy drama.
“Yellow Rose” is probably not “now showing” anywhere close to us, at this point, although, in a better world, someday it might.