Tim Nutt: Are You Arkansavvy?

by The City Wire staff ([email protected]) 28 views 

FAYETTEVILLE — When people think about the Fourth of July, they think about tending to the grill outside with family and friends. But some prefer the cool and dark of an indoor movie theater, especially when there seems to be no shortage of summer blockbuster movies.

While Arkansas is not the film mecca to the extent of surrounding states, quite a few celluloid masterpieces have been shot in The Natural State.

For this edition of Are You Arkansavvy, we focus on the movies — both feature and television — filmed around Arkansas. Some of these will be more well-known than others, but if you answer the majority of them correctly, you will be made an executive producer (at least for the week).

1, The opening scene of this Academy Award film features Pugh’s Mill, located in the Lakewood part of North Little Rock. Frankly, I do give a damn!

2. While the majority of this 1969 movie was filmed in Colorado, a few scenes were from Fort Smith, the actual setting for the plot. That seems a like a big cock-a-doodle-don’t.

3. This 1957 movie, A Face in the Crowd, was filmed in Piggott in northeastern Arkansas and starred this amiable actor, who is well-known for his roles as a sheriff and attorney.

4. This movie, based on a Neil Simon play, starred Matthew Broderick and was filmed at Fort Chaffee and Van Buren.

5. This 1999 box office bomb featured two bumbling grifters who pose as monks selling cheap socks. Arkansas native Wes Bentley starred in the title role.

6. This 1970 “motherly” film, directed by Roger Corman, is loosely based on the exploits of criminal Ma Barker.

7. Based on a John Grisham work, this television movie is inspired by his childhood in eastern Arkansas.

8. Hmm-Hmm. This Billy Bob Thornton movie could have been titled many things, but it made the Arkansas native a household name and made everyone love French fried potaters.

9. This German movie was filmed around the state, but featured Stuttgart prominently. The main character was a shopaholic who found nirvana with a PC and a modem.

10. This 1986 made-for-television movie features terrorists attacking the U.S. Capitol. If you remember the controversy surrounding this movie, you have a fantastic memory. It certainly left a smudge on filmmaking in Arkansas for a while.

Gone With the Wind. The structure, also known as the Old Mill, is actually a replica of a 1880s-era water grist mill and was built in 1933 by Justin Matthews, a North Little Rock leader. The mill is surrounded by sculptures—made of concrete by made to look like wood–by noted Mexican sculptor Dionicio Rodriquez. The mill was originally dedicated to T.R. Pugh of Portland, Arkansas, and a supporter of Matthews.  The Old Mill is believed to be the last remaining structure from the 1937 movie. 

True Grit. The movie starring John Wayne and Glen Campbell was based on Arkansas novelist’s book of the same name. It was remade in 2010.The setting of the book was in Fort Smith and present-day Oklahoma, but the snow-capped mountains in the background don’t support that at all.

Andy Griffith. Best known for his roles as Sheriff Andy Taylor on the Andy Griffith Show and in the title character on Matlock, Griffith gained fame as the drifter-turned-celebrity in the Elia Kazan directed movie A Face in the Crowd.

Biloxi Blues. The 1988 movie features the character Eugene Jerome, a young Jewish man from Brooklyn, who enters basic training in Mississippi during World War II.

White River Kid. This movie was so panned by critics that it was released only in Eastern Europe and South America. Starring Antonio Banderas and Bob Hoskins, along with a slew of Hollywood A-listers, the film was shot in and around Hot Springs.

Bloody Mama. This movie starred Shelly Winters in the title role of this low-budget movie. Filmed in and around Arkansas, the movie featured a young Robert De Niro in one of his first movie roles.

A Painted House. The television movie aired on CBS in 2003 and was based on Grisham’s 2001 work of the same title. The movie was filmed in eastern Arkansas, where Grisham spent time as a youngster.

Sling Blade. The film was filmed mainly in Benton in Central Arkansas, just up the road from Thornton’s home of Malvern. The movie featured Karl Childers, a mentally handicapped man, who returns to his hometown after being released from an asylum.

Rosalie Goes Shopping. Starring Marianne Sagebrecht, Brad Davis, and Judge Reinhold, the movie was a box office disappointment, but is a true treasure. You should go shopping for it. By the way, Judge Reinhold is now married to an Arkansan and spends much of his time in Little Rock.

Under Siege. Filmed in Little Rock and other Central Arkansas locations, the state capitol building doubled as the U.S. building. In the movie, the explosives used to “blow up” the dome left a visible black mark and called into question the future of using state buildings as movie props.