Wednesday, March 02, 2016

"Finders Keepers": Body parts matter


Finders Keepers”, directed by Bryan Carberry and J. Clay Tweet, tells the story of a man who finds an amputated leg inside a grill he buys at an auction, and then the original owner shows up.  This sounds like the pretext of a horror movie, but actually it’s a gentle, comic documentary running under 90 minutes, and a hit at Sundance 2015.

The setting is Maiden, NC, on the Piedmont, and north of Charlotte, and home of a huge Apple data center.  But none of that Silicon glitz shows up among the home folk here.

The whole affair started when John Wood had his right leg blown off below the knee in a small plane crash that killed his father.  He wanted to save the leg as a memorial to his father.  That’s bizarre enough. But then he put it in a grille in a storage locker.  When he failed to keep up the storage rental payments, the contents were auctioned off, and purchases Shannon Whisnant bought it.  (Somehow that reminds me of a modern musical composition by Timo Andres, “You Broke It, You Bought It”.  But here the music is more familiar, like a famous Habanera from Bizet’s “Carmen”.)

It all gets weird.  Whisnant becomes a local celebrity and likes the attention, even at the risk to his marriage. John wants it back.  The case winds up in binding arbitration, in the reality TV court of “Judge Mathis”.

I remember, back in 1984, stopping in Vernon, TX for the night (on the way to Lama in New Mexico) and visiting a county fair, where a deformed lady was a circus attraction.  It was interesting how she could make all the gawking visitors ashamed. 


The gam does get memorialized.  The raw item even had some toenail fungus.  It may have been quite bald already when lost.  The bones get an amber glass enclosure, suitable for a museum, particularly in North Carolina.

The official site is here.  The original distributor is Orchard, but Paramount handles the DVD. 
First pic, Tyron street in Charlotte, mine, 2011. Second, mine, and shameful. 

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