Helena, Montana's Independent Record just published a great article ("Squeezed by the Box" by John Harrington) about "Independent America" as a lead-up to a screening there on February 20th.
Helena was on the couple’s route, as a few moments of the movie are dedicated to the ill-fated “box store tax” pitched in the last Legislature by Sen. Ken Toole, D-Helena.
“What I liked about the film is that it accepts that box stores and this shift in retail across the country are real and inevitable, but within that context, it brings up examples of smaller, locally owned businesses that are succeeding,” Toole said. “It’s not all doom-and-gloom. It’s fairly positive.”
The Phantom Tollbooth, which looks at movie and music from a Christian perspective, has also given us a a great review. I liked their mention of our "flatulent black dog." Hopefully they didn't take us to task for our occasional profanity.
Christian application of the lessons in Independent America is not simple as wondering where Jesus might shop, eat or drink coffee solely because some place doesn't sell smutty magazines or nasty music. The enormity of Wal-Mart, Starbucks, Borders and other chains has altered the social landscape, too. Do believers practice wise stewardship by patronizing chains that pump minimal profits back into the towns they purport to serve? Are not only bargain prices but manufacturing and labor policy, the value of personable customer service, and the balance between being a citizen and a consumer to be considered? It is just one aspect of life that requires applied theology and ethics.
And I've always wanted to quote one of my favorite Tom Waits' songs: we're Big in Japan! Okay, maybe we shouldn't go that far, but NHK Japan has bought the broadcast rights to our film and will be airing it on March 21st in the Land of the Rising Sun. A similar deal in Australia is imminent.
So buy the DVD while you can, and while supplies last! It's the bona fide director's cut of our search for Mom & Pop (broadcasters usually want a shortened, one-hour version).