Devil's Playground: SE
Wellspring // Unrated // $24.98 // February 4, 2003
Review by G. Noel Gross | posted February 23, 2003
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CineSchlock-O-Rama
Short Takes

Most are intimately familiar with the crisis sweeping America of girls going wild, but friends, there's something much worse afoot. THE AMISH!!! This white-hot Sundance hit explores the strict religious sect's tradition of "rumspringa" (running around) in which 16-year-olds are permitted to explore the temptations of the secular world before making a lifetime commitment to their faith. That's when both girls AND boys go W-I-L-D!!! Drunken barn soirees with Amish rock 'n' roll bands! Overnight "bed courtship" with the opposite sex! Cigarettes! Dirty words! Cell phones! Automobiles! MTV! Bowling! Outside the obvious yucks of teens carousing all hours of the night in horse 'n' buggies, it's a surprisingly engaging documentary, especially the roller coaster odyssey of preacher's son turned crank dealer Faron Yoder. And for those who enjoyed the piece on premium cable, director Lucy Walker's commentary (along with editor Pax Wassermann and producer Steven Cantor) serves as an excellent "Where are they now?" postscript, as well as detailing how they were permitted to delve so deeply into this devoutly camera-shy subculture. No breasts. Tribal dancing. Stockcar racing. World's Hottest Amish Chick award goes to Ms. Emma Miller. Reefer madness. Gratuitous Aphex Twin soundtrack. Drunken rassling. Porn ogling. Stay tuned past the credits for the Pennsylvania Dutch answer to Girls Jumping On Trampolines! This prodigal son says it all, "If I was living at home, I couldn't have 200 channels of Direct TV, stereo, Nintendo and a fridge full of BEER!!!" (2001, 77 mins, Fullframe, DD 5.1, Crew commentary, Deleted scenes, Trailer.)

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G. Noel Gross is a Dallas graphic designer and avowed Drive-In Mutant who specializes in scribbling B-movie reviews. Noel is inspired by Joe Bob Briggs and his gospel of blood, breasts and beasts.


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