EARTHWORK (2009-11)

TMG Scale 4.0
Starring John Hawkes

Sorry Stan Herd. TMG thinks you are a gifted, unique and incredible artist. When they produce a documentary on your works, I ‘ll be happy to come. This film just put me fast asleep. The only good part was the end. Not just because the boredom of this “country bumpkin goes to New York” film was over, but because the end had one of those “real life” scrapbook story vignettes about the real Stan Herd.

Stan Herd is better known as the Kansas “crop artist.” He is a painter who uses mass acreages of land as his canvass. Instead of paint he uses crops, rocks, dirt and vegetation to “paint” with. In effect, he creates natural “earthworks.” You have to look at his work in absolute awe and amazement.  Herd not only has to be an artist, his brain has to work in so many dimensions to make these massive works look good from 10,000 feet.

Rather than celebrate the life of Stan Herd and his works, this movie tried to wrap his art in syrup laced story of one effort by Herd in 1994 to do a work on some commercial land about to be developed by Donald Trump. The writers and director simply tired to do way too much. They went off on a tangent about the homeless and  a tale about acceptance and empathy for those who are different.  It was as if they were dying to use Stan Herd to tell another story. Why? I guess artists, like radio show commentators, are just under-appreciated  for their craft. No slight here to John Hawkes who is a gifted actor and tried hard here. He just was given a schizophrenic script.

I know the “artsy” crowd of elitists and those who bathe in “art films” will curse me.  Sorry. I call them as I see them and this film was sleepy and boring.  It also seemed to have very little to do with Stan Herd.  They might as well have made a movie about a day in the life of artist Bob Ross played by Paul Giamatti. Skip this film and spend your time to go see one of Herd’s works instead. While the web is full of pictures of them, you have to see one in person.

The date of this film is odd because while completed in 2009, it is in constant and intermittent release as a “new” film.

 

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