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      Mule Skinner Blues

      R Released Apr 12, 2002 1h 33m Documentary List
      82% Tomatometer 22 Reviews 81% Audience Score 250+ Ratings This documentary offers a glimpse inside the lives of several individuals -- mainly former shrimp workers -- all residing in a Florida trailer park, all with very strange talents and habits. The community's leader is Beanie Andrew, an eccentric man who boasts about his decades-long career as a writer, actor, singer and dancer. Other community members, who unite to create a homespun horror film, include a yodeling country singer and a hot-tempered guitarist. Read More Read Less

      Critics Reviews

      View All (22) Critics Reviews
      Chicago Tribune Though director Earnhart has yet to find the ironic distance, sharp interviewing techniques or creative editing of documentarians like Chris Smith ... and Errol Morris ... Mule Skinner Blues suggests he is on the right track. Rated: 2.5/4 Jul 20, 2002 Full Review Kevin Thomas Los Angeles Times As amusing as it often is, it is even more affectionate. Rated: 4/5 May 2, 2002 Full Review Frank Scheck Hollywood Reporter The charms of willful eccentricity, at least as evidenced by this latest cinematic essay, are beginning to wear a bit thin. Apr 26, 2002 Full Review Film Threat Rated: 5/5 Dec 6, 2005 Full Review Emanuel Levy EmanuelLevy.Com Rated: 3/5 Oct 3, 2005 Full Review Apollo Guide Rated: 40/100 May 13, 2005 Full Review Read all reviews

      Audience Reviews

      View All (8) audience reviews
      Audience Member Mule-Skinner Blues (Stephen Earnhart, 2002) [originally posted 4Feb2002] I'm wondering who's written the reviews I've been reading, and whether they're plants from the production company. Or I would be if the reviews I've been reading weren't uniformly worse than the one I'm about to give this engaging, twisted little documentary. The film is relentlessly compared to Errol Morris' classic first film, Gates of Heaven. That's a reach, especially when there's another, far more obvious, basis of comparison sitting right in front of the face of any reviewer of documentaries on the planet: American Movie. You'd have to be braindead to have seen American Movie and not catch the similarities here: Mule-Skinner Blues is about a bunch of scary, dysfunctional trailer-park residents who are trying to scrape together the cash to make a no-budget indie short horror film. Sound familiar? Of course it does. Sound like Gates of Heaven? Uh... The main difference between Mule-Skinner Blues (the title, by the way, is from a Jimmie Vaughn song) and American Movie is that, despite Mark Borchardt being something of an obsessed lunatic, the viewer is always given Borchardt in the most sympathetic of lights, and it's hard not to root for the guy throughout American Movie, even if his finished film is, well, awful. Beany Anderson, the star of Mule-Skinner Blues, on the other hand, is presented in a light that it would be hard to call sympathetic in any way, shape, or form. The camera just kind of wanders along through the trailer park inhabited by Beany and his band of scary men, documenting life in a Jacksonville, FL trailer park in all its Deliverance-esque glory. This is where Mule-Skinner Blues and American Movie diverge (and, I suspect, it's also the reason so many reviewers seem to have faulted MSB); American Movie keeps its focus solidly on Borchardt and the making of Coven. The actors in Coven and the other players in Borchardt's life, save his best friend, are relegated to the background. The makers of American Movie seem, at times, almost as obsessed as Borchardt with Coven. The makers of Mule-Skinner Blues, on the other hand, seem to be so captivated with trailer park denizens that the making of Turnabout is Fair Play (or, as the title screen of the short film informs us, "Turnabout is Fairplay") takes a back seat to those involved in its making for about half the film. Turnabout becomes the frame; it's important in introducing us to the characters, and it's important at the end, when Turnabout makes its premiere at a small Jacksonville theater (in a scene that's so similar to the premiere scene in American Movie that they CAN'T be coincidental). In the middle, though, what's important is a trailer park in Jacksonville and how its inhabitants get on from day to day. Perhaps it's just a way to say that the viewer can look into the Jerry Springer mentality without having to watch Jerry Springer, but there's something to be said, certainly, for not having to watch Jerry Springer. This brings us to the final, and most important, question. Is this in fact a real documentary? Do these people really exist, or is Mule-Skinner Blues a sick joke thought up one night by Clive Barker (whose name is at the beginning as "Clive Barker Presents," and gets a thank-you at the end, but his name appears nowhere else in the credits. One wonders what connection he actually has to the film) and Stephen Earnhardt? It's billed as a straight documentary, and Sundance is touting it as such; that's how it will be billed in its April 2002 theatrical premiere. But there are just too many times, watching this movie, when I found myself saying "these people just can't be real." I have to give Earnhardt the benefit of the doubt with this one, but I won't be surprised if it's all revealed to be a big joke at some point down the line. Either way, if you liked American Movie, you'll probably get a kick out of this. *** Rated 3 out of 5 stars 02/11/23 Full Review Audience Member This movie accurately depicted the personalities of the entire cast! Especially Steve Walker, though he has been sober almost 6 years now (2004-2010)his attitude toward music has not changed. Music is his entire being and his lifelong work. I may be a bit partial to the man because he happens to be my father-in-law but I think that anyone who has taken the time to get to know him can see the pure genius in his ability. His music and lyrics have driven many to tears before my eyes. His bond with Holly, Beanie, Ricky, Miss Jeannie, Larry, and the gang is without comparison. Though they are very different individuals, they are brought together by one common thread...THE MUSIC! Personally I believe that royalties should be involved (there were contracts and payment arrangements) but for some reason Steel Carrot Productions feels it necessary to neglect its responsibilities and promises. So far my father-in-law has not earned a dime. He doesn't complain about it but i still think its wrong for a company to hold out! Oh!...Pop if youre reading this, Lacey and Stephen love you and were just thinkin about ya so we decided to post this!!!! Rated 5 out of 5 stars 02/25/23 Full Review Audience Member How could one not love this movie? I mean, if you've ever met someone from a trailer park, you understand the sense of purpose that these people have. It's the desperation in their acts, it's in the way they throw their all into a weekly new life-long goal. If you never see another movie about a Floridian (ex)drunk who makes a movie out of not only a bare bones budget, but making the best of his surrounding community's abilities, then this should be the one. I honestly have never watched a movie quite like this. Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars 02/15/23 Full Review Audience Member This flick is more than just A parade of eccentric characters, although there is that of course. We get to know Beanie the best. He's a born salesman--half P.T. Barnum, half Elmer Gantry. He's a singing, dancing, dynamo who seems indestructable. Then there's the quiet, introverted Larry Parrot who co-writes the movie's script with Beanie. Larry is an aging fanboy with a mail-order wife. He was a member of Christopher Lee's fan club (his son is named Christopher) and he even won an autographed script from THE MUMMY in one of the club's contests. There's Miss Jeannie who likes to yodel and sings the film's title song with the help of copious amounts of schnappes to get her past her really bad smoker's cough. Earnhart also produced a music video of Miss Jeannie singing her "DUI Blues" which is included on this dvd. We can't forget Annabelle Lea-Usher (sound like a stage name to you?) who tried and failed in the Big Apple. She does the costumes and special effects for the film and has something special in her freezer. And last but not least the film's two musIcians, Steve Walker and Ricky Lix. MULE SKINNER BLUES is not a freak show. It doesn't hold these characters up to ridicule and say look at the redneck drunks, aren't they amusing. Director Earnhart treats his subjects with dignity and frankly identifies with them a great deal--they are novices at film making and so is he. And that attitude is part of what makes BLUES stand out from the average documentary. Yeah, they're flaky, and they're sometimes unintentionally funny, but I think that could probably be said about all of us if we were able to see ourselves exposed as they are here. You'll really get to know all of these people by the end of this film and you won't feel that the time you spent with them was wasted. You may even learn a little life lesson from Beanie who says "If you're gonna do something, DO it. If you fall in the mud, maybe you'll come out as a gorilla." Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars 02/02/23 Full Review Audience Member the story line and the direction is so so so so so bad Rated 2 out of 5 stars 01/21/23 Full Review Audience Member I was a bit frightened when I saw that this documentary was "Presented by Clive Turner." As some of you know, Turner is the (ahem) genius behind The Howling: New Moon Rising. The concept was enough to make me give it a watch anyhow. I'm not sure if that's a good or bad thing. Mule Skinner Blues is a documentary about the residents of a trailer park in Mayport, Florida who decide to make a horror movie. Beanie Andrew is the director/co-writer/star of the show, but Beanie has a lot of friends. And they have a lot of free time on their hands. Beanie, for his part is a dancer, singer, kazoo player, and philosopher as well as a filmmaker. He also really digs gorillas and mud. Watching Beanie in action will remind viewers of both Hasil Atkins and Ed Wood. In addition to seeing the triumphs and tragedies involved in the making of Turnabout is Fair Play, a revenge movie involving swamp beast gorillas and musicians, we get to see some (or maybe all, I'm not really sure) of the short film. Overall, Mule Skinner Blues comes off as sort of a cross between Dancin' Outlaw and Redneck Zombies, but with better special effects. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 01/25/23 Full Review Read all reviews
      Mule Skinner Blues

      My Rating


      Cast & Crew

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      Movie Info

      Synopsis This documentary offers a glimpse inside the lives of several individuals -- mainly former shrimp workers -- all residing in a Florida trailer park, all with very strange talents and habits. The community's leader is Beanie Andrew, an eccentric man who boasts about his decades-long career as a writer, actor, singer and dancer. Other community members, who unite to create a homespun horror film, include a yodeling country singer and a hot-tempered guitarist.
      Stephen Earnhart
      Stephen Earnhart, Victoria Ford
      Artistic License
      Production Co
      Bean-Tyle Productions, Steel Carrot, Solaris
      R (Brief Language|Sexual Content|Nudity)
      Original Language
      Release Date (Theaters)
      Apr 12, 2002, Original
      Box Office (Gross USA)
      1h 33m