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Old September 6 2013, 05:56 PM   #1
sojourner
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The "small english town" genre of movies

I personally noticed this trend a few years ago that there were enough movies of the type to actually be it's own genre. I like these movies because as a closet anglophile they give a romanticized picture of what it would be like to live in a small quiet town somewhere in England.

In the genre as I see it the movies have the following attributes:

set in a small english town (duh)
generally a comedy
ensemble cast
quirky townsfolk

Most of the movies center around the towns people coming together for some purpose.

A few examples of the genre as I see it:

The Man Who Went Up a Hill and Came Down a Mountain
Waking Ned Devine
Calendar Girls
The Full Monty

The hey day for this genre seems to be the 1990's/early 2000's and has slowed in recent years.

Anybody else have any more examples that would fit?
(I remember a movie about a football/soccer game but can't recall the title - definitely not Bend It Like Beckham)
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Old September 6 2013, 06:16 PM   #2
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Re: The "small english town" genre of movies

Waking Ned was set in Ireland. The Full Monty was set in Sheffield, which is a large industrial city.
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Old September 6 2013, 06:34 PM   #3
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Re: The "small english town" genre of movies

How about the Shaun of the Dead/Hot Fuzz/The World's End "trilogy"? Those are all about small English towns where horrible things are happening.
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Old September 6 2013, 06:38 PM   #4
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Re: The "small english town" genre of movies

Christopher wrote: View Post
How about the Shaun of the Dead/Hot Fuzz/The World's End "trilogy"? Those are all about small English towns where horrible things are happening.
Not sure if it was mentioned onscreen, but I assume that SOTD is set in London.
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Old September 6 2013, 06:50 PM   #5
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Re: The "small english town" genre of movies

^Well, at least the latter two fit.
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Old September 6 2013, 06:54 PM   #6
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Re: The "small english town" genre of movies

Come to think of if, The Englishman Who...is set in Wales, IIRC.
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Old September 6 2013, 07:15 PM   #7
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Re: The "small english town" genre of movies

ITL wrote: View Post
Christopher wrote: View Post
How about the Shaun of the Dead/Hot Fuzz/The World's End "trilogy"? Those are all about small English towns where horrible things are happening.
Not sure if it was mentioned onscreen, but I assume that SOTD is set in London.
Yup, Hot Fuzz fits the most, being a parody of these little middle-of-nowhere countryside villages.

Haven't had the chance to see World's End yet.
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Old September 6 2013, 07:17 PM   #8
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Re: The "small english town" genre of movies

Captaindemotion wrote: View Post
Come to think of if, The Englishman Who...is set in Wales, IIRC.
It is.

One which more or less fits the description in the OP was Saving Grace. I don't remember if the town was ever named, but everything except the very end was filmed in Cornwall.
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Old September 6 2013, 07:18 PM   #9
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Re: The "small english town" genre of movies

Hot Fuzz is hardly 'a romanticised version of life' in a small town all the same. Murder, conspiracy, crime?

Edit - IIRC, Saving Grace inspired the popular Martin Clunes TV show Doctor Martin. While his character in the film was Doctor Bamford, I believe the 2 roles are essentially the same (haven't actually seen either, so I can't say for sure).
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Old September 6 2013, 07:24 PM   #10
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Re: The "small english town" genre of movies

Seducing Dr Lewis, though this one is set in a small French-Canadian coastal town.

A much-needed boost, in the form of a new factory, is promised to the residents of the tiny fishing village St. Marie-La-Mauderne, provided they can lure a doctor to take up full-time residency on the island. Inspired, the villagers devise a scheme to make Dr. Christopher Lewis a local.
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0366532/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1

Fun movie, and I love Waking Ned Divine. This definitely feels like a French-Canadian twist on it.

Another Canadian movie, which is hard to find these days, is Buried on Sunday:

When a Canadian Atlantic coast fishing village is threatened with the loss of all of its fishing rights, local reverend (and mayor) Augustus Knickel finds a way to fight back. Relying on an obscure clause in an ancient treaty, he declares the village as an independent republic! He also finds a way to back up those words: by buying an abandoned Russian nuclear submarine from the most senior officer still aboard (namely, the cook.)
And Augustus Knickel is played by Paul Gross, most famous for his role on Due South.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0106497/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1

And then there's Saving Grace, starring Craig Ferguson:
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0195234/?ref_=fn_al_tt_2

Edit: Oh wow, I hadn't realized Martin Clunes was even in it as It's been a long time since I've seen it, but I do love Doc Martin
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Old September 6 2013, 07:29 PM   #11
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Re: The "small english town" genre of movies

Captaindemotion wrote: View Post
Waking Ned was set in Ireland.
Beat me to it. sojourner's National Anglophile Society application is DENIED!
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Old September 6 2013, 07:41 PM   #12
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Re: The "small english town" genre of movies

Though it's no way a comedy, its two lead actors aren't English, and the setting is supposed to be an island off the coast of Massachusetts, The Shuttered Room still manages to have a distinctly "small English town" feel to it. Oliver Reed and his gang of thugs bring a load of "menacing and creepy" in place of the quirky and amusing local townsfolk.
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Old September 6 2013, 08:03 PM   #13
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Re: The "small english town" genre of movies

Now that things have been nicely nitpicked, let me rephrase and broaden the scope. "Small town set in the British isles".

But yeah, as others have pointed out there are movies that fit the style that aren't even part of Europe.
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Old September 6 2013, 08:14 PM   #14
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Re: The "small english town" genre of movies

Chemahkuu wrote: View Post
Yup, Hot Fuzz fits the most, being a parody of these little middle-of-nowhere countryside villages.

Haven't had the chance to see World's End yet.
It's about going back to one of those small towns and finding that it's changed, that you can't go home again.


Captaindemotion wrote: View Post
Hot Fuzz is hardly 'a romanticised version of life' in a small town all the same. Murder, conspiracy, crime?
Which is kind of the point -- to deconstruct that romanticism. It reminds me of Sherlock Holmes's musings about how far ghastlier things happen in the countryside than in the city because of the greater isolation.
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Old September 6 2013, 08:15 PM   #15
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Re: The "small english town" genre of movies

Roseanna's Grave (http://m.imdb.com/title/tt0120034/) is a charming example of such a film but is set in Italy (English language and with a cast of various nationalities). It's a romantic comedy, usually my least favourite genre but has such a lovely leading man and lady in Jean Reno and Mercedes Ruehl that its irresistible. Also, the concept - man tries to ensure that nobody in his village dies, in case they deprive his beloved but terminally ill wife of the final grave in the local graveyard - is hardly the stuff of your average McConaughey/Aniston/whoever romcom by numbers.
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