Anywhere U.S.A. (2008): Chusy Haney Jardine’s Amateurish Sundance Indie

Sundance Film Fest 2008 (Dramatic Competition)–Told in three parts–Penance, Loss, and Ignorance–Chusy Haney-Jardine’s feature is an original, but ultimately disappointing film, one which is easier to respect than to like or to enjoy.

Every Tuesday at 2pm, Tammy beats Gene with a tennis racquet–it’s his penance. Meanwhile, Pearl is having doubts. An orphaned girl in the care of her uncle, she has unwittingly eaten pot brownies and begins to suspect that the tooth fairy isn’t real.

Then, there’s Ralph, a privileged man who comes to a startling revelation, that he doesn’t know any black people.
In its good moments, the film observes life with tenderness and humanity, finding an emotional center in Pearl and her uncle. Haney-Jardine employs theatrical devices, burlesque images, and other innovative elements, which make the viewing of this overly long picture more tolerable.

Shot in the director’s hometown of Asheville, North Carolina, and edited in his garage, the film is cast with a largely nonprofessional cast.