Winter’s Bone

When absent fathers do meth.


[The conversation we actually had before viewing Winter’s Bone this weekend.]

ERIN: What’s this about?

BEN: Dan really liked it. Got great reviews.

ERIN: This isn’t another Croupier, is it?

BEN: It’s the Missouri Ozarks as a backwoods crime scene in which methamphetamine fosters paranoia and corruption everywhere, to quote Mr. Denby from The New Yorker.

ERIN: And did you use air quotes just now to indicate a hyperlink?

BEN: I sure did.

ERIN: Because Jenny McDevitt made fun of us for renting from Blockbuster and we hipped up and got this from Red Box, and because its running time is 100 minutes and it is now 7:10 and the movie is due back at nine o’clock, I advise we get started.

BEN: I concur. I anticipate that the acting and the milieu are so closely joined that the movie, in its quiet, determined way, will cast a mesmerizing spell.

ERIN: Are you hyperlinking again?

BEN: I sure am.

ERIN: Put in the $@#& movie.


[The conversation we would have had before viewing Winter’s Bone this weekend had we known what was going to happen.]

[Warning: Spoiler alerts abound.]

ERIN: Great choice, Ben. I’m really in the mood to watch a movie about an absentee father who cooks meth and puts his house up for bond go missing so that his seventeen year old daughter has to track his dead body down in the middle of a lake in the Ozarks and use a CHAINSAW to CUT OFF BOTH HIS HANDS so she can deliver them to the police and save her two younger siblings and her mute mother. That’s exactly what I had in mind for entertainment this evening.

BEN: But it’s set in your home state.

ERIN: Yes, all native Missourians are born to meth-addicted parents and take axes to other people’s windshields and learn to skin and disembowel rabbits by age twelve. In fact, let’s teach Sam tomorrow. Never too early to start!

BEN: As students of film, I think we’ll be startled to find that, in its lived-in, completely non-ideological way, Winter’s Bone could be one of the great feminist works in film.

ERIN: I think you’ll be startled to find that if you quote David Denby one more time, you’re sleeping on the couch.

BEN: Do you wish I was more like Tear Drop?

ERIN: If you were, we’d have gotten out of more speeding tickets.

BEN: How’s this: Will you still be willing to watch it if I let you provide a snarky running commentary in a flat backwoods accent which sounds like Danny McBride in Tropic Thunder slowed down to 33 rpm?

ERIN: So long as I can pretend to pay attention and read People magazine instead AND you get this thing back before nine o’clock because I SWEAR I am not paying an extra $1.07 for this.

BEN: Deal.

[They shake and insert the movie.]


3 thoughts on “Winter’s Bone

  1. Haven’t seen it, but now remember someone on NPR interviewing the filmmaker. It sounded pretty good.

    P.S. — I always enjoy your family dramas.
    P.P.S. — I didn’t know we both married native Missourians.
    P.P.P.S. — All these post-scripts were completely unnecessary and could have been integrated into the main body of the comment.

    1. John,

      Where is your wife from? I was born in Cape Girardeau, but have family all over the map of MO. Dad is from St. Louis, mom from St. Joe but raised in Springfield, and cousins in Jeff City.


      P.S. I do not care much for Missouri.

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