Though a little later in the day, Taking It Down is still here for you! In this episode, host and editor-in-chief of The Alabama Take Blaine Duncan talks with co-host and contributor Adam Morrow about gifs in the times of Covid-19 (1:24) before moving into a discussion about the HBO show I May Destroy You (5:10). They then converse about the beauty of the new Phoebe Bridgers’ album Punisher (13:44) and well as Hamilton (21:34), which has recently be released on Disney+.
After the break, they do a deep dive into the new documentary Jasper Mall (41:06) which can be rented at any video-on-demand site and was created by Alabama filmmakers.
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Host: Blaine Duncan
Cohost: Adam Morrow
Saw Hamilton in London last year, and I have to say…I’m 100% with Blaine on this one. While I understand its cultural significance, I spent the entire play bored out of my skull. I’m not a huge fan of musicals, The Producers and The Book of Mormon notwithstanding, so that likely has a lot to do with it. But Hamilton just wasn’t for me.
Jasper Mall, on the other hand, was brilliant. Going in, I was a little worried that it might be one of those exploitative documentaries that exists mainly to passively ridicule its subjects (Tiger King, Dancing Outlaw, etc.), but that was hardly the case. And it sure had the opportunity to do so. Mike the Security Guard being a prime example of such, but credit to the filmmakers for resisting any temptation they may have had to make that guy a punchline. I was perplexed by his accent. Sounded like a native Australian who moved to Carbon Hill as a young adult and never left. One minute, he sounds as if he’s one of the locals, the next he’s on the phone with someone and it’s full-blown Aussie dialect. Interesting dude, for sure.
The demise of the mall was depressing, though. Really hit home personally, in some ways. Back in the mid-80’s my hometown was one of the two locations in the state with a new outlet mall, the other being Boaz. Our little town was booming, seemingly overnight. Then just as quickly as it appeared, it was all gone. Within a couple years, they built a new one in Foley, and that effectively killed ours. Drive past it today and it’s just a burned-out shell of what use to be.
Probably my favorite moment in the film was when the elderly man stops Mike to tell him a couple of corny jokes (“I knew it was one of them Cartwrights!”). Reminded me of an old guy who regularly came by a store I worked for in the summer who without fail, would pull me aside and tell me the famous Conway Twitty-lookalike joke.
Yeah, you nailed it! You should come and write for us! Also, it eases my mind when someone else doesn’t love a cultural phenomenon when I don’t either. I don’t feel so out of place.
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‘Twould be an honor!
It is quite a relief to learn that I am not alone in my unpopular stance on Hamilton. My wife loved it and much to my surprise, my 72 year-old mom enjoyed it. For fellow curmudgeouns who prefer that captivating historical subject matter not be sung to us, Ron Chernow’s biography that inspired the play is well worth the read.