Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Rich Hill

by Drew Martin
I watch, read, and see a lot of things that I do not write posts about, despite what you might think based on the contents of this blog. There was one documentary, Rich Hill, I recently watched that I really liked, and liking it was enough for me so I did not feel like I should work it into a post. But tonight my daughter asked me why I watched it, and why I liked it.

Rich Hill is a fly-on-the-wall documentary that was made by two cousins who turned their lens on the small town Missouri life that they know firsthand. It follows three teenage boys, Andrew, Appachey, and Harley. All three are disadvantaged, some would say white-trash kids, but despite being uneducated and rough around the edges, they are all very likable in their own, unique way.

I like this film a lot because there is no agenda, other than and honest "walk a mile in my shoes" approach. And, most fortunately there is no character/subject gentrification. It is not a film about escaping an impoverished life through talent or luck but rather, take each day as it comes, and hopefully the next one is better.

There were two art-related moments that took me by surprise and they were both in the presence of Appachey, the most reckless of the youths. With no apparent focus or direction in life, he says out-of-the-blue that he would like to be an art teacher in China. He then continues to say that if you are an art teacher in China, all you have to do is sit around and draw pictures of dragons all day. From an adult that would be an off-color remark but from a young boy, it is a dream job/world.

The other "art" moment is when Appachey is walking around a run-down section of town by an highway underpass. He complains there is ice everywhere and apparently wants to smash it all. He walks through one huge puddle that has a thin layer of ice, and throws rocks and even his skateboard at it to break it, which seems delinquent and pointless but then he steps back and holds out his arms and exclaims, "The amazing splatter art." It is a scene that explains how unlikely artists such as Julian Schnabel and Damien Hirst got their start.