Oct 21, 2020

How Homophobic Can "Redneck Roots" Go? Ask the Star


Amazon Prime recommended Redneck Roots (2011) about a woman introducing her big-city boyfriend to her redneck family. I can relate: I have lots of beer-guzzling, card-playing, country-western, red pick up truck, feed store cap redneck relatives. Besides, I wanted to see how homophobic it was.

Scene 1:
Establishing shots of the redneck town Stanley: an over-the top eye-crossed, slack-jawed, yee-hawing inbred yokel dj=ing at WPIG radio; a hand-clapping gospel choir at the fundamentalist church; the barber shop; kids jumping on a mattress in a front yard cluttered with old cars; the police station;  fat people with butt cracks visible.  

Cut to sophisticated big city Chris (Crystalyn) having dinner with her boyfriend Ben and his New York Jewish mother.  He has just proposed.  She runs into the bathroom, cries, and asks herself "How will I explain my family?"  She told them that her dad is a "mechanical engineer"; he  actually attaches tv sets to riding lawnmowers.

Scene 2:
Chris and Ben in bed.  Whoa, spectacular physique!  Sister Amber Jo,  a school bus driver, calls to invite her to her high school graduation (you can drive buses as a minor?).  She's class salutatorian, in spite of talking like "We ain't seen y'all for two years. You is coming, right?"

Amber stops the bus to break up a fight between Rowdy Boy (Austin Filson, below, with a slack jaw and terrible acne) and Loretta, who dresses like a boy and yells "My name is Lou!"  Could there be a transgender kid in the hills?

Lou is played by lesbian actress Abby Corrigan.

Scene 3:  Crazy DJ tells about the bus incident: the Ledford boy tried to touch "ol' lesbo Lou Lou. He found out right quick that some clubs is ladies only." Does everybody know everything about everybody in this town?

Meanwhile, four rednecks are working on a motor and scratching their butts, discussing roller derby.  One is planning to bring his ex-wife/cousin to Amber Jo's graduation party.  Another is Crystalyn's Dad.  

Scene 4:
The hugely successful Chris is having a high-power meeting in a glass-and-steel office. Ben, coworkeras well as boyfriend, invites her to the beach this weekend. but she has a "sorority thing" to go to.  She means Amber Jo's party.

Later, Chris calls her sister and complains that she's not living up to her potential, staying in redneck land instead of going to college. Then she tells Sis and Mom that she doesn't have "a special fella." Just as Ben comes in!

Scene 5: Back in Redneck Land: cars, trains, horses, dogs, and Crazy DJ on the toilet,discussing his constipation (on the air!).  He calls for his Mama, and she comes downstairs and takes over the broadcast.

Meanwhile, the school bus comes to pick up Lou,but she refuses to go because of the bullying. Amber Jo tells her "You got to love and respect yourself.  You may be a little different, but that ain't a bad thing."  A tolerant redneck? Isn't that a contradiction?  

Scene 6: Ben in his underwear again!  He steals Chris's phone to call back whoever she was talking to last night.  Rowdy Boy answers: "You want me and you know it.  I'm so hot for you.  I'm your boy toy."  Um...who does he think he's talking to?  Has he even met Crystalyn?  Ben doesn't say anything. 

Meanwhile, Dad is at the feed store in Redneck Land: a black lady is the salesclerk.  He tries talking to her in rap, so she gives him a book, Jive Talk for Crackers. 

Scene 7: Chris arrives in Redneck Land in her fancy red convertible, causing a commotion.  Everybody in town starts yelling "It's Crystalyn!  Hey, it's Crystalyn!"  Come on, no town is that small.  She is so distracted by the shouts and praises that she accidentally runs into the Crazy DJ, who has been carrying an unrequited torch since second grade.  Ben is much hotter!.

Meanwhile, Ben is on the phone to a friend, complaining that he freaked out Chris with the impromptu marriage proposal, and now she's off with some dude. Fortunately, he has a stalking app on his phone, so he can follow her to Redneck Land, North Carolina and "rip the guy's balls off."

Scene 8:  At the house, with redneck Dad, his disapproving brother, and Grandma, who is on oxygen but not planning to die until after Amber Jo's party.  The house is actually quite nice.  Chris arrives.

Meanwhile Ben starts out from the big city.  Redneck Land is only 200 miles away. 

Meanwhile DJ Darrell announces Chris's arrival on the air.  Mom yells at him for "starting this up again."  

Scene 9:
Getting close to town, Ben calls the number.  Amber Jo is still driving that bus -- does she just drive the kids around all day?  Rowdy Boy picks up her phone  again and starts breathing heavily. Wait -- he doesn't know who it is. 

Meanwhile, at the house, Dad's brother turns out to be a limp-wristed, sassy, sashaying gay stereotype, like Jack Tripper pretending to be gay on Three's Company in the 1970s.  He lists his "friends::  "Cory, Samuel, Xavier, Marshall, Mitchell, Philip, John..."  Dad yells "No!  I don't want to hear it."  

He owns a flower shop yet.  Can you believe this?

Sure, everybody except Dad likes him, but still...I can't even....

I'm fast-forwarding through the rest.  Ben somehow hooks up with DJ Darrell.  His Mom shows up in Redneck Land

Turns out that Amber Jo and Swishy Queen are co-hosts of an antique show on the Homo Garden Shopping Network.  That's what he says.  And the homo shoppers are wild over the art produced by Crystalyn's rednedk Dad.

And Lou the Lesbian doesn't appear again except in a crowd scene.

Most of the cast was drawn from local Charlotte, North Carolina actors, except for Dean Napolitano, who is a New York-based stand-up comedian.  He does a schtick about how he told a gay joke once and a swishy queen came up after the set and said " That was offensive!  You're homophobic!"  But he's not homophobic (he says).  You can joke about various groups.  That's what brings us together.

Gee, I never realized that jokes, slurs, and name-calling signified that you were a gay ally.

He also has a song, "Gay Days at Disney Land," in which someone tells him it's Gay Day, and he says "Are you shittin' me?  Every day is Gay Day at Disney Land because when you pay $110 for a ticket, you're really taking it up the ass."

Maybe I should have researched Napolitano before I watched the movie.


  1. There's always a question with these: Are they promoting unacceptable hate, or saying unacceptable hate is the sole province of the poor and rural, a permissible hate. You never know. It's dumb regardless.

  2. Even that joke about Disneyland rips off Ned. But for him, it was the Enola Gay because why not offend a whole country while you're at it?


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