From The Side of the Road… time for another hit bluegrass movie

Not to alarm anyone about the passage of time, but the Coen Brothers movie Oh Brother, Where Art Thou came out over 20 years ago. In case you’re one of the few fans of bluegrass music who missed it, this was the film that featured George Clooney lip-syncing the voice of Dan Tyminski. It also gave way to a hugely successful bluegrass-oriented soundtrack, which not only provided gainful employment to a number of bluegrass pickers, it also led to a smash hit recording of I’m a Man of Constant Sorrow. It also featured the Stanley Brothers mid-50s recording of Angel Band during the rolling of the credits. 

Without being overly subtle about this, and while trying (alright, half-trying) not to sound desperate, we need hit bluegrass-friendly movies to provide a jolt of interest in our music, and it has to be more than every two or three decades. I’d say in fact, that in 2021, with our industry having been boarded up for almost a year and a half, with resulting closures of venues, personnel changes in bands, and some bands ceasing operation entirely, we need a break from Hollywood now as never before.

A few years ago, I wrote a column suggesting several movie plots, but I have to say that interest was minimal (or, if I’m honest, nil). Perhaps it’s because they were terrible.

Though I’m still personally attached to my concept for the film loosely based on Alison Krauss’ life, but set in outer space, I think I need to accept that this just isn’t my area of expertise (“what is your area of expertise?” I hear you asking). Instead, I’d like to plead with the screenwriters of the world to get to work on this. To jumpstart things and possibly offer some inspiration, however slight, I’d like to propose 25 different movie titles that are fusions of well-known movies and various bluegrass standards. May this get the creative juices—or the creative liquid of your choice—flowing. If these seem like answers (questions?) from some convoluted Jeopardy category, it’s purely coincidental. Thanks to my daughter Joanna for contributing some of these ideas:

Muleskinner Blues Brothers

Gone With the Windy Mountain

The Little Mermaid and the Dreadful Snake 

I Haven’t Seen Mary Poppins in Years

(And related):

Saving Mister Banks of the Ohio

Citizen Nellie Kane

(Or if you prefer):

Hand Me Down My Citizen Kane

Singin’ in the Rain Please Go Away

Some Like it Hot Corn Cold Corn

On and On the Waterfront

Silence of the Lambs or Tears

Beautiful Star Wars of Bethlehem

I’m a Music Man of Constant Sorrow

Doctor No Mother or Dad

(Though borrowed from western swing):

My Rear Window Faces the South

Rocky Top Gun

Blue Lagoon of Kentucky

Mother’s Only Sleeping With the Enemy

(And of course we need at least one bluegrass rom-com):

Love Actually Please Come Home

(In tribute to the late Charles Grodin):

Fox on the Midnight Run

Little Annie Hall

(And honoring Steve Martin and Lester Flatt simultaneously):

Father of the Bride’s Table Grace

You Don’t Know My Beautiful Mind

The Storms Are on the Oceans 11

When Harry Met Sally-Jo