Troublesome Creek: A Midwestern

"Good"

Troublesome Creek: A Midwestern Review


Farming is a tough life. Hell, that's why they have Farm Aid, right?

Well, Steven Ascher and Jeanne Jordan set out to prove what a tough row to hoe (sorry) the farm life is though their dutiful documenting of Jordan's parents in their waning days on the family farm. Jordan relates with midwestern efficiency a story about how her folks worked the land for decades, only to have the bank come knocking for its $220,000 debt when -- depending on how much of Jordan's conspiracy you buy -- her parents turn 70, her dad gets Parkinson's, their old pal the bank president retires, or business just turns sour.

After a good amount of rambling -- wherein we dutifully visit with the enormous Jordan clan and hear from the Evil Banker about credit risk -- we finally get to the heart of what Troublesome Creek (named after the stream that runs behind the farm) is about: The elder Jordans hatch a plan to a) sell everything they own, b) retire to "town," c) save the land and the farmhouse they have, and d) let their son John work on their land with the equipment he's been buying to work his own rented farm.

The obviousness of this plan makes you wonder why the Jordans didn't simply do it years earlier, rather than working into their 70s, and if they couldn't come up with this idea earlier, how savvy as businesspeople could they possibly be? And seriously: If this is as bad as it gets -- you have to sell some cows and crappy furniture so you can pay off your debt and give a big plot of land to your kids -- just what has all that Farm Aid money been about? If you listen to Willie Nelson, you'd think there were bums sleeping in the rows of corn throughout Iowa.

Despite her plaintive voice, Jordan at least doesn't beg for pity for her family, but there is a good amount whining throughout, about how evil big banks are, about how there's nothing to do on a farm when you're growing up, how despite the fact that she didn't really care for farm life, she really does love the place. And on and on it goes until we're just about ready to give up corn if only so they don't make any more movies like this.

Still, Troublesome Creek works fairly well as an educational film. If nothing else, it teaches you the mechanics of the farm business, and more importantly the mechanics of rural lending. Whether you feel bad for the Jordans or not probably depends on how much sympathy you have for people who don't quite get the concept of capitalism - sympathy which I famously have none of -- but from where I'm sitting it looks like the Jordans didn't do too bad for themselves in the end.



Troublesome Creek: A Midwestern

Facts and Figures

Run time: 88 mins

In Theaters: Monday 16th January 1995

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 82%
Fresh: 9 Rotten: 2

IMDB: 7.5 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Steven Ascher, Jeanne Jordan

Producer: Steven Ascher, Jeanne Jordan

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