Anywhere, USA


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Festival Year

2008 (click here to see all competition films from this year)


Dramatic Competition


Perla Haney-Jardine, Mary Griffin, Mike Ellis, Molly Surrett, Shelia Hipps, Brian Fox, Jeremiah Berennan, Susie Greene, Frank Avery, Ralph Brierley, Dianne Chapman, Ellis Robinson

Non-Cast Credits

Chusy Haney-Jardine, Jennifer MacDonald, Joe Morley, Heather Winters, Andy O'Neil, Patrick Rousseau


At 2:00 p.m. every Tuesday, Tammy beats Gene with a tennis racquet. It�s his penance. In retrospect, he shouldn�t have jumped to conclusions about the pistachio nut. Meanwhile, Pearl is having doubts. An orphaned eight-year-old in the care of her uncle, she has unwittingly eaten pot brownies and begins to suspect that the tooth fairy isn�t real. Finally, there�s Ralph, a man of privilege who, somewhere between bites 23 and 27 of his steak, comes to a startling revelation: he doesn�t know any black people. Don�t be alarmed. It�s just another day in Anywhere, USA.

Told in three parts ("Penance," "Loss," and "Ignorance"), Chusy Haney-Jardine�s wildly original snapshot of du jour America is such an audacious, personal expression of vision that you occasionally feel as if it�s being projected directly from his brain. Haney-Jardine delights in theatricality, burlesque images, and wonderfully mismatched devices (rednecks frolicking as Puccini blares or an entire story line narrated by two women gossiping at a tanning salon). And for all its humor, the film observes life with tenderness and humanity, finding an emotional center in Pearl and her uncle.

Here�s a film that takes real risks and reaps the rewards tenfold. Shot in Haney-Jardine's hometown of Asheville, North Carolina, edited in his garage, and featuring an almost entirely nonprofessional cast (his daughter, Perla, is the sole exception), Anywhere, USA wears its independence like a battering ram that gently knocks at your door.


John Mein (see other films reviewed by the same reviewer)

Film Takes Pace.