Review: Outta the Muck

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Title: Outta the Muck
MPAA Rating: Not Yet Rated
Director: Ira McKinley, Bhawin Suchak
Starring: Alvin Dean, Bridgett Dea, Elea Dean
Runtime: 1 hr 20 mins

What It Is: In Florida, there’s a town called Pahokee, better known by its locals as “The Muck,” because of its rich and fertile soil. The town swears by the importance and irreversibility of their roots in The Muck, as they live day-to-day in a community supported by crops, wildlife, and a drive to care for one another. As people begin to move out of Pahokee due to its lack of modern resources, its locals stay hopeful in the face of having to support their town, especially when it comes to the upcoming football game that could change the notoriety of The Muck forever. We follow one family in particular, the Dean’s, as they look back on their pasts and find what is to look forward to, thanks to their hometown.

What We Think: The more I watch PBS sort of documentaries with a focus on slices of life, the more enjoyable and important I realize they really are. While it may not be the most prominent pick or release that can catch anyone’s eye as far as docs go, I’ll put my limb out to say that intimate, small-town perspectives such as this are incredibly worthwhile. Getting to meet the people of The Muck in particular proves comforting, sometimes magical. While I wouldn’t mind having a wider scope of the town, this short-and-sweet doc feels like hanging out with new family, as those featured give off such energy and love, it’s contagious through the screen. The sight of seeing those in a community coming and working together with whatever they’re determined to do is refreshing to see, especially when many of us are so used to being spaced out into isolation in big cities. It’s also important to note how much it proves that smaller towns can be neglected in our country, forcing much of their original population to move away and find work and/or convenience. It’s great, though also a saddening reminder that these towns deserve these resources just as much, considering the older they get, the more maintenance and financial support things like infrastructure and education desperately need.

Our Grade: B, An uplifting and surprising portrait of a great town and its charismatic, driven people, Outta the Muck inspires more sympathy and excitement for close-knit communities such as this. From its fascinating history and culture, we can also find it within ourselves to be more determined to uplift the hardworking voices of these communities. An important and involving watch, I recommend anyone from any background to take a look into what The Muck reveals about its people, and as a sample of our own very diverse country. I would love to hear more about this town in the future, also in hopes that its economy also benefits from the wonderful exposure this film lends to it.

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