Missouri Movies

Netflix recently released the show Ozark for streaming. The show revolves around a Chicago money launderer that is forced to relocate to Lake of the Ozarks. Regular lake visitors may recognize many spots from the show such as Osage Beach and Party Cove. The show also plays tongue in cheek homage to the ubiquitous Cards-Cubs rivalry. After watching this intense and well-written crime drama series I thought it might be fun to take a look back at several movies set in our fair state.

Winter’s Bone (2010) Based on a Daniel Woodrell novel, this movie follows Ree Dolly (Jennifer Lawrence) as she tries to locate her wayward father who has put up the family home as bond for his release from jail. Over the course of the movie Dolly is exposed to the underbelly of meth addiction and production. A powerful tale about family, poverty, and drugs.

Road House (1989) Starring Patrick Swayze in one of his quintessential roles, Road House tells the story of a New York bouncer who is convinced by a small Missouri bar owner to abandon the big city to guard his small town roadside bar. If the premise sounds a little over the top, wait till you see the action. Come on, it’s Road House, you’ve seen this one right? If not you are missing a vital part of American culture.

Waiting for Guffman (1997) This Christopher Guest mockumentary recounts the exploits of a small-town municipal theatre group as they try to put on an outsized production of the history of their Missouri town. With a similar feel to Guest’s other mockumentaries (This is Spinal Tap, A Mighty Wind), this picture takes light hearted jabs at rural living in the Midwest.

The Assassination Of Jesse James By the Coward Robert Ford (2007) Truth be told, there are a dozen or so movies that could have fit the category “Jesse James movies that take place (largely) in Missouri.” I’ve chosen this one because it is the most recent iteration I came across, and stars big names such as Brad Pitt and Casey Affleck. This version is also interesting in that it humanizes the characters much more than some previous forays into the subject. Often James is portrayed as just a desperado, or alternatively a Robin Hood character. The relationship between the James brothers and Ford is nuanced, believable, and visceral. Before watching this film I thought I couldn’t possibly need to see another Jesse James movie, when it was over I was glad I had.

A few other Missouri Movies worth mentioning:

Paper Moon (1973)

The Lookout (2007)

Ride With the Devil (1999)

Come down to Central Library’s the Studio and check out one of these great Missouri-based movies, or if this post has piqued your interest discuss any cinematic topic you’d like with our knowledgeable staff. We look forward to seeing you.

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