Fred Tuttle: Man with a Plan

1996 mockumentary

Rating: 16/20

Plot: Vermont farmer Fred Tuttle, a widower who lives with his sick father, needs money. He comes up with a plan (not the titular plan) to run for congress because congressmen make 80,000 dollars a year doing almost nothing. He starts his campaign against the incumbent, the normally-unopposed Bill Blachly. Despite tremendous odds against him, Fred Tuttle manages to raise thirty dollars and twenty-seven cents and starts to become a serious contender for the seat.

This is down-home goodness, very cheaply produced but full of local flavor and colorful caricatures. I was surprised how much I laughed out loud, but Tuttle himself was funny nearly every time he opened his mouth, and although a lot of the humor didn't work at all (see: the shady newspaper reporter holding up a barn wall), there were more than enough times when this just hits the spot. I love the "plan," an anagram he repeats throughout the campaign--Friendly, Renewable, Extra Terrestrial, and Dinky. He'd have my vote based on Dinky alone! I loved his interactions with a speech coach, his promise to debate Blachly "any time, any place, and in any language," and his promise to put a "chicken in every egg." Writer/Director John O'Brien has a style that grows on you as the movie goes, and I like how he finds humor in the little things. I've never been to the state, but O'Brien uses sneaky sight gags (again, not all of them funny) and several shots of its landscape to make it seem like a bizarrely beautiful and wonderful place. I'm fairly positive there's not a real actor in this thing as O'Brien uses locals at the annual "World's Fair" and demolition derbies. And I'm pretty sure that this was shot sans script, and the freedom given to these normal people to just improvise as themselves went a long way in painting a realistic picture of the place and its political landscape. At times, I wondered if the performers were even aware they were performing as a couple of these scenes make Fred Tuttle look like a 73-year-old Borat. This movie might be tough to find, but it's worth the trouble. Why should you watch Fred Tuttle: Man with a Plan? Same answer the character gave when asked why people should vote for him--Why Not?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi, very interesting post, greetings from Greece!