A Florida Man Movie Exists, but It's Probably Not What You Think
"I do want I want, when I want. Take two naps, three naps a day if I want. Early morning nap. Late-morning lap. Early-evening nap. That's basically what we do." -- an interview subject in Florida Man.
Florida Man the movie isn't about the internet's obsession with weird things happening in our state. Nor is it about what happened to the lives of men behind some of those viral headlines. In fact, it's not necessarily illuminating about anything unique about Florida at all.
You know those guys who hang around outside gas stations and sandy exurban dive bars at night, whom you never talk to? Turns out they have a lot to say. That's what the film is about, even if it doesn't have anything to say itself.
That's not to say the film isn't an interesting document; it's just not what you might expect for the name of the meme-ified Twitter account that spews out links to weird Florida news.
Director Sean Dunne and his crew filmed various men out on the streets, usually at night, in some of the shadier parts of Florida. He tells Director Notes that he didn't really pose many questions besides asking for general wisdom on life and letting the camera roll.
The film jets around from encounter to encounter without any general narrative. The names of the men, their full backstories, and the parts of Florida where they were filmed aren't even disclosed. Though, for the record, it seems like the bulk was shot in Tampa Bay, Orlando, and Cocoa Beach, or essentially a very narrow cross section of an oblong state.
Most of the men, but not all, are white. Most, but not all, seem to be past 40. Most, but not all, appear to have come from other states. Most, but not all, appear to be intoxicated in some way. All appear to be of lower economic class, though it's often hard to tell who is homeless and who isn't.
This is, of course, not a very representative sample of a very diverse slate. This isn't even a very good representation of the people who make up weird news stories in Florida (considering the misadventures of the rich here are always good for a laugh too). It also should seem obvious to most that these types of men populate every state in the union to various degrees. Everyone has a drunk uncle.
So it's hard to surmise exactly what Dunne and his crew were trying to capture.
Instead, the film works only as an examination of pointing cameras at guys whom most people wouldn't talk to and letting them spill their wisdom on subjects varying form happiness, religion, sex, politics, and the criminal justice system.
Sometimes it's oddly poignant.
Sometimes it's bizarre.
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One man talks about how the only way to solve inequality in the country is to kill the "1 percent." Then he turns around and says he feels the only president who was rightfully elected in the past 30 years was Ronald Reagan. Go figure.
So it succeeds as an interesting experiment in oddball documentary filmmaking and can certainly rile up thoughts about gender, class, race, and addiction. But it's not particularly a great document about Florida.
Though, as an interesting comparison piece, we do recommend World Star Hip-Hop's much more focused The Field: Miami.
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