Sunday, February 10, 2008


Movie Critic
Things were pretty much under control while the story involved a former S.C. representative called Bubba, Bigfoot sightings and a yard full of fake dead chickens.
It was drag queen Patti O'Furniture who complicated things a bit. But we're getting ahead of events in the saga of "The Long Way Home: A Bigfoot Story."
Start with the ex-legislator, Columbia attorney James "Bubba" Cromer Jr.
He's gone from an independent in the S.C. House in the 1990s to independent filmmaker, from a part-time job with a decent salary to a full-time obsession where money flows away from you like a freshly undammed river.
And he's a happy, happy man.
"Long Way," shot as a cross between the mad inspiration of John Waters and the low-rent horror fantasies of Ed Wood, has already made back about three-fifths of its $20,000 budget.
Cromer negotiated a deal with distributor UFO TV, which hopes to get the DVD into big-box stores and is making noises about a limited release overseas. And he is beloved in Transylvania County, where he shot his feature around the town of Rosman.
"I've had a creative itch all my life," he says. "So one night you have me and Mom and Dad at our mountain house with Biscuit, my golden retriever, watching a mockumentary about Bigfoot. Coach Cromer would be J. Lewis Cromer, Bubba's dad, who coached the five boyhood friends in Little League 30-odd years ago and is still a prominent trial lawyer in Columbia. The other four are lifelong buddies who wouldn't mind unpaid work in Bubba's movie.
A plot is born
Bubba began with an idea of Bigfoot popping up around the community, eating fowl and scaring people. Four buddies in the N.C. mountains fake up a Bigfoot story, hoping D.J. will come home to cover it and get national media attention. Bubba cast his four buddies and Biscuit as themselves and his dad as the sheriff, Big Jake.
"James Dickey lived across the lake from us when I grew up, and dad wanted to be him after seeing Dickey (play the rural sheriff) in `Deliverance,' " says Bubba. "Dad kept asking me, `When is it time for my soliloquy?' I kept saying, `Dad, it's called a monologue in movies! Shocked? Bubba had already worked with locals Mullet Man, Mona Lisa Johnson and T-Bone Thomas, who swore Bigfoot once urinated on him through an open tent flap. "Nobody in this movie is a stranger," Bubba says. I knew the organic nature of (scenes) would be blown if I gave them dialogue. Only two actors had professional experience: His cousin Helen Mann Marini, who played a snake handler, and Pat Patterson, aka Patti O'Furniture.
"He's a good friend, a Columbia businessman. As part of our Sunday ritual, Biscuit and I visit his Brewster's Ice Cream. I said, `It's about Bigfoot and hillbillies. You're a drag queen. "I ran through cameramen like you'd change your drawers," he says.
(Read Original Article in The Charlotte Observer See Approval from film fests, including the 2007 New York International Independent Film & Video Festival. A positive review from Cult Movies Magazine.

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