Mark Metcalf
Moving Pictures

Feed the Fish

By - Apr 23rd, 2010 04:00 am
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If you watch too many movies, like I do, and think you see connections to the universe when you stare into your cereal in the morning, also like I do, you may think that a film with the name Feed the Fish was about the mob. I’ll tell you why I make those connections and then I’ll tell you how wrong I was.

The statement “feed the fish” makes me thing of the Francis Coppola’s Godfather and the idea of ‘sleeping with the fishes’ when you’re dead in the East River with cement shoes. If I know that the new movie Feed the Fish was made almost entirely in the northern parts of Wisconsin and that it was engineered by Wisconsin natives, then I think of a film from a couple of years ago called The Godfather of Green Bay. And from there it’s just a short snap of a synapse to the mob.

You understand don’t you?

Wrong. Feed the Fish is about a man coming to Wisconsin to the home of a friend, coming from Los Angeles in the middle of winter, needing a break from the city and his girlfriend, needing to unblock his writer’s thing. Even though he comes with relatively few preconceptions, fairly open minded— he is a writer of children’s books, after all— he still has to learn to negotiate the distinctly different environment ( i.e., the cold.). And then there are the people, primarily in the shape of Tony Shaloub, who plays the sheriff.

He finds that you can go home again. In fact, you should go home again, even if it’s not your home.  He falls in love with the daughter of the sheriff and finds that the women are sweeter, nicer, more passionate, more trusting, funnier and definitely more supportive out here in the Midwest than they are in LA.

His friend, who had planned on doing the Polar Bear Plunge on Christmas Day, has his genitals chewed on by a badger to the intended comic effect.  I actually squirmed a little through this part, crossing and uncrossing my legs, and found it hard to laugh, but most people will find it hysterical. Despite reaching awkwardly for humor with devices like that the film finds its center and ends up very a sweet and knowing chronicle. And the scenes of Door County in winter are beautiful.

The Marcus Theatre Company has offered films made in Wisconsin a run at one of their theatres providing it meets their qualifications. Feed the Fish will run for one week at the Point Theatre, 7825 Big Sky Drive, in Madison beginning tonight.

Categories: Movies

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