One of the first things you learn in any creative writing class is not to use five words when one will do. (Actually, they would probably put it thusly: be concise.) This is nearly impossible for any Southerner. We tend to err on the side of Faulkner (who even added an extra letter to his own name), not Hemingway.
This may be why you’ll find countless Southern novels, memoirs, and even short(ish) stories, but hardly any Southern poetry. I’m hard-pressed to name one famous Southern poet, even after Googling “famous southern poet.”
If there’s anything Southerners adore more than fried chicken and sweet tea, it’s the sound of our own voices. We just love to tell a good story. The problem is you can’t tell a good Southern story without going into a whole lot of exposition. I mean, how will the listener ever understand the sordid tale you heard from your hairdresser about your cousin’s trashy ex-wife unless you explain how she came to be his ex-wife in the first place?
This makes for a lot of non-linear storytelling, which can be somewhat confusing to non-Southerners who rarely feel compelled to stop mid-sentence and say something like “Oh, but how he lost his tooth was…” or “Wait! Before that, we stopped at the Bass Pro Shop…”
While I was home at Christmas, my 7-year-old nephew, Jackson, spent the entire 20-minute ride from my sister’s house to my dad’s recounting the plot of Bambi 2. At least four or five times, he paused abruptly and said, “But before that happened…” Yep, folks, he’s a Southerner. As if his name didn’t give it away.
Following this paragraph is a quiz, but first I have to tell y’all how it came about. I was thinking of a popular movie and it occurred to me that the name would be altogether different had a Southerner had been the one to come up with it. So then I thought it would be fun to create alternate Dixie titles for other films and see if y’all could guess what they are. All of the movies (except the aforementioned one) were nominated for Best Picture Oscars, so I’ve provided the year, in case that helps. You’ll find the actual titles at the bottom of this post. Alright, here we go:
What’s the Original Movie Title?
1. 1938: You’ve Got to Leave All That There Right Here
2. 1939: Gone with the Wind
3. 1950: What All Eve’s Ever Done, Not That I’m One to Gossip
4. 1953: From Where We’re at Right Now to Where We’ll be Forever and Ever Amen
5. 1960: The Single-Wide
6. 1975: He Done Went Crazy and Landed Hisself Up in Whitfield (Note: your asylum name may vary)
7. 1980: Regular Folks
8. 1992: Still Holding a Grudge Because of What Happened Way Back When
9. 2002: Atlanta
10. 2010: What All the King Said After He Quit The Stuttering and Learned to Talk Right
Bonus–the one that started it all–2011: The Girl What Done Gone and Got Herself a Dragon Tattoo, Bless Her Mama’s Heart
Ok, now y’all try it. Post your own alternate movie titles in the comments and I’ll announce the Best Dixie-fied Title winner in a not-too-distant-future post. Note: what he/she actually wins is the title “Best Dixie-fied Title Winner.” I haven’t got the budget for a prize, trophy, or tiara.
1. You Can’t Take It With You; 2. Gone with the Wind (Yes, it’s a trick question, but if y’all don’t know by now that a Southerner wrote that one, there’s really no hope of figuring out the other titles); 3. All About Eve; 4. From Here to Eternity; 5. The Apartment (Sorry, that might be a tough one for non-Southerners since I haven’t tackled the subject of trailers a.k.a. mobile homes yet); 6. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest; 7. Ordinary People; 8. Unforgiven; 9. Chicago; 10. The King’s Speech; Bonus–The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
Photo Credit: Sit Long Sign from The Craft Cabin’s Etsy store.