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Growing up, I loved watching movies. I was an 80’s/90’s child, so your only options to see a film was going to the movie theater or waiting until it came out on VHS. At least that was the only option if you didn’t have my mamaw. She LOVED movies, and she was very proud of her collection. I’m not 100% sure how legal her collection was, seeing as she’d rent a movie from Blockbuster and then record it onto a blank VHS, but that was what she could afford to do. So buying a movie was entirely out of the question. On Friday nights, after she and my papaw picked me up off the school bus with potato wedges and a Coke wrapped in aluminum foil to keep it cool, we’d first go to Ponderosa or Grandy’s (their restaurants of choice). Then we’d stop by Blockbuster or another local movie rental place to pick up the latest movies she wanted to see. Then, over that weekend, she’d record her film, apply a label and an inventory number, write it in her spiral-bound notebook, and then file it away on her massive wall of VHS. I remember her family and friends would stop by to borrow movies, and she’d keep a list of who borrowed which VHS tape so she knew who to contact if it needed to be promptly returned. I sometimes wonder what she would have thought about how today, we all have access to thousands of movies that we can stream on our TVs instantly.
These days I don’t watch as many movies as I used to, and if we do watch one, it’s usually a movie that will keep the attention of our 4-year-old. (Pretty sure I could quote Moana in my sleep.) There are still a few movies I adore and will watch, no matter how many times I’ve seen them, if I see them pop up on one of our streaming services. Not surprisingly, they all take place in the South. So below are my Top 5 movies that take place in the South, with two honorable mentions. One for my husband and one that all southern girls love, but this southern girl has never seen it!
The Help takes place in the 1960s in Mississippi. The primarily female cast won many awards for their roles. When Skeeter (Emma Stone) gets Aibileen (Viola Davis) to talk about her experiences taking care of prominent white families, it opens up a whole new world. Aibileen’s stories are quickly paired with other women who also have much to say about their experiences.
The Blind Side
The Blind Side takes place in Memphis, TN, though it was filmed in Atlanta. I have a special place in my heart for this movie. Something about it gave me hope through our adoption process. Leigh Anne Tuohy never expected that one day she would welcome a young man into her home and quickly see him as a son. The movie is about a serious issue, but it also has some incredible light-hearted moments.
Sweet Home Alabama
I think this is one movie every southern girl has to see in her lifetime. This is my 2nd favorite Reese Witherspoon movie (Legally Blonde takes first place.) Although filmed in Georgia, the movie is about an up-and-coming fashion designer going home to Alabama. While there, she starts to wonder if the man she’s running to is who she really wants to be with.
Coal Miner’s Daughter
If I was a betting person, I would bet this is the one movie you probably haven’t seen on my list. Coal Miner’s Daughter is a biopic about the life of Loretta Lynn. I grew up watching this movie with my grandparents, who were big Loretta Lynn fans. The film is about the life of Loretta, from her time as a teenager in Butcher Hollow, KY to her rise in country music. If you are a country music fan this movie is a must-watch.
Fried Green Tomatoes
Fried Green Tomatoes is another movie that my mamaw introduced me to. Kathy Bates plays Evelyn, a mid-40s housewife, unhappy with her life, that befriends Ninny, a woman in a nursing home. On their visits, Ninny tells Evelyn stories of her life centered around Idgie and Ruth. The bond between Idgie and Ruth was my first real glimpse of what a kindred spirit was. Fun fact; fried green tomatoes were made popular in the south because of this movie, and you can visit the Whistle Stop Cafe in Juliette, GA where the movie was filmed.
I am sure many of you are wondering why Steel Magnolias didn’t make my list. I hate to admit it, but I have never seen the movie! I know how can I even call myself southern? I’ve been told that since I”m a type one diabetic I may have some trouble watching the movie so I never even tried. Maybe one day this year I’ll set down to watch it and see what it’s all about.
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