I’d like more treasure hunts in my life, yet everything we ever craved is a Google search and a Paypal checkout away. But have you ever wanted something that couldn’t be found? How about needed? I need more records like I need another hole in my head. But we all need a good road trip, a new soundtrack, and some self-(re)discovery. The kinda stuff you don’t find on that screen in your pocket. Enter 45 RPM.The film follows Charlie, a struggling city artist who seeks a connection between her artwork and her estranged father’s music. She teams up with Louie, an obsessive record collector from Memphis, and begins an exhaustive search for a rare 45 recording from the 1960s Arkansas garage rock scene that takes them both on a journey across the seldom-explored landscape of the new Old South.
I have a crazy family. (Sorry guys.) Oh, you too? Awesome, we won’t pretend we understand each other’s clan’s sense of humor or quirky rituals. My siblings and I mostly get along great, but boy do we sure as hell know how to push each other’s buttons. Still, hell hath no fury like a protective family member, am I right? That’s what it feels like to be from the South. I stand firmly behind this feeling when it also comes to stories about rock and roll, artists, or girls. We can call names and lay on the inside jokes thicker than butter on cornbread, but outsiders can spare themselves some painful embarrassment by stepping away from the mic.
45 RPM gets it all right, embellished with clever animated morsels, original Arkansas music, local crews, and the refreshing tradeoff of stereotypes for familiarity. It’s not surprising, director Juli Jackson is from small town Arkansas, a lifetime music lover, and a talented film artist. Flattering rural landscapes and genuine small town eccentricities replace the hillbilly terrains and the honky tonk caricature, toning down those Dixie “hardee-harr-harrs” into a knowing smirk. We already have the tale of Johnny Cash and the news clips of burning records, but one of our best kept secrets (the perfect pitcher of sweet tea is #1) is the humble local garage scene that skipped Memphis and detoured the bonfire exorcisms, headed to a skating rink or a prom stage near you.
The film is currently only available at select film festivals, including the Little Rock Film Festival this week. It’s only $10 at the door, Thursday 5/16 at 5:30 PM, and Friday 5/17 at 3 PM. It would definitely be in your best interests to take this opportunity and see it.