He is no fool who gives what he can’t keep to keep what he can – Just before a big time white executive makes a trip to a nice little cliche’ of a small farm town and hears the old story of Speared from the minister there his life is stuck on the fast lane. Later, taken out of space and time, in front of a church, a county fair style picnic going on, at least everybody here at this place seems to act fairly nice. His car broken down, nobody, not even the perfect people give the man a ride from the church picnic to the bed and breakfast style hotel. Everything about the town and the film more than borderline corny, at least Maggie who swings on the brand new, un-old nowhere near real life small town country porch swing wears clothing, absorbed of bright colors and a faux-mink coat in the middle of a hot summer day while also barefoot – As if the film here not so pat as compared to some small town country life, everybody who lives in this town smiles, is happy & friendly and has a surprisingly good attitude. Of course, most only hope and pray for such a realistic town friendly image. Some critics who also watched the film gave a variety of secondary opinions, such as, not one black person appeared in the film.
A few noted that no such portrayed utopian town exists anywhere on earth to date. Others noted that they could better empathize had the man who showed up on the scene been a black man who played Mr. Decker that it could have worked out a whole lot better. In short, at least films such as Driving Miss Daisy provide some diversion from the traditional past norm of all white towns.
At the Cook Boy’s Ranch, blonde-haired, blue-eyed Daisy (Miss Cook) hangs some young boy shirts on a clothes line clipping them by old-fashioned wood clothes pins. The sports agent from the big city wants to take one of the boys away, a five-million dollar contract. “You’re kind of like Superman here to save the day – Sean has a lot of gifts,” she explains. She informs the man of the young ball bat boy’s gift for poetry writing, and among other things his high grades. “He’s prayed about it a lot. Do you ever pray Mister Decker….Mister Decker, when you’re in a hole, you pray.”
“It’s a tradition,” she explains and shoos Mister Decker, big-time executive away, as young Joe and all of the other boys run out to ring the church bell. “Well, it’s kind of like Mayberry,” explains Mister Decker to his assistant Claire on the telephone that night. “Claire, they asked me to pray,” he tells his African-American not so big city assistant, as she obviously shares some of the same beliefs of the old-fashioned country people. “Well I think you should,” she shares. “Thank you, Lord,” she adds privately. The preacher of the town is actually normal. A refreshing motif for a religious film, although he relates that old religious cliche’ story told about the speared missionaries. So despite a lot of the cliche’ of the small town, perhaps in some ways a small town really is a lot like the way John Mellencamp sings about being born and raised in a small town – According to a recent article in the Macomb Daily, even Mellencamp himself said, “He used to feel at home playing the biggest arenas and amphitheaters that could hold him during his Rock and Roll Hall of Fame career.
Nowadays, however, the small town guy likes the smaller places.”
Decker starts to get the same ideas after awhile. But not right away. “Big city sports agent being wooed by our little town,” suggests the child ministry worker to the high falootin’ agent. The man who represents all of the top athletes as C.E.O. tells Scooter, her not so little brother he wants to sign Sean on for a lot of big money. But he gets told again that Sean wants to become a doctor. “Maybe that path is paved in dollar bills or not.” He tells Mr. Decker that the boy showed up as an angry, broken ten-year old, used to taking care of himself. The greatest hurt the boy experienced was the hurt of being forced to hear people say sorry over and over, but not ever giving him any love. At the farm home of the girl and her brother, the small amount of boys got real down home as opposed to just some manufactured, plastic, business-like love. “Baseball, huh. What a game,” comments Scooter. The parents of Scooter were also real, and not manufactured missionaries. Decker mentions to Scooter that with his baseball expertise he could have stood at the helm of the mound at Yankee Stadium. Scooter in turn tells Decker that the small farm, only a shack or two for a barn or two is his Yankee Stadium. Sadly, the band who sings praise & worship at the end of the story seems more in love with themselves than the God they sing about. The film does get a lot of kudos and four stars for the part where Decker complains that Scooter and his sister and the boys just seem like people who just kind of disappeared off of the face of the earth. But, at least the Cooks are living the right kind of good life.That last scene does make you think one more thing too – If he married her and they moved to the fast life of L.A., that they would retain that small town faith is really hard to say. Rated PG.