Dave's Rating:


Tarnation on a farm.

Who's in It: John Peterson

The Basics: Most weirdos, the ones who grow up in small towns and then come to understand that their weirdness is inherent and can't be made un-weird, leave those towns and run off to a big city where they can be freaks freely. Not Peterson. He wanted to be a freak and a farmer. So he stuck it out in the red state he was born and raised in and paid the price for it.

What's the Deal? This documentary actually makes a good case for staying put and living your life no matter what shape it takes; in this case, the shape of a farmer who wants to wear silly outfits and feather boas while riding his tractor and who was the subject of town rumors that he was having wild orgies and worshipping Satan. Of course, he did turn his generations-old family farm into a hippie commune in the late 1960s, so there was probably at least a little free love going on out there.

What It's Like: Tarnation on a farm. Peterson wrote the script and narrates it himself. He even provided home-movie footage he'd taken over the decades, from childhood to now. And he's got a steel spine, too, taking his camera to townspeople who are bothering him and asking them to stop it. You have to like that.

No, He's Not Gay: Although until they introduce the series of girlfriends he's gone through, you would be forgiven for thinking otherwise when he says generally un-farmer-ly stuff like, "I love glitter and glamour." He even talks about how people think he "acts gay." Well, except when he's scooping up farmland with his hand and putting a big hunk of soil in his mouth.

Not a Spoiler: All's well that ends well here, thankfully, and the farm is now an organic co-op. So the hippies won.


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