As film and book reviewer for Sierra, I have to sort through a lot of well-intentioned, but too often dull, strident, or esoteric material. In today's crowded media marketplace, I'm sure even the good stuff struggles to find an audience. So I'm pleased to report that one of the quirkiest, most enjoyable movies to pass my desk in recent months is now showing in select theatres.
As I wrote in January, "The Real Dirt on Farmer John is the true story of a misfit Midwesterner whose artistic spirit and associations with outsiders provoked his neighbors' suspicions--and then helped him save his family farm. Filmmaker Taggart Siegel's documentary begins as an elegy for a dying way of life, but it ends with hope as Farmer John revitalizes the community by bringing in urban dwellers hungry for a connection to their food and the land."