Mississippi Mud House kicks off movie series with "Miller's Tale"

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The owners of The Mississippi Mud House decided to try something new.

Friday will be the first run of Movies at the Mud House. Cape Girardeau's newest coffee house/entertainment venue will be screening the director's cut of "Miller's Tale," written, produced and directed by Steve Turner of Schrader Turner Films. A question-and-answer sesssion with the cast and crew will follow the screening.

"No one else is doing it. We thought we'd try it," said Timexx Nasty, co-owner of the Mud House and member of local rock outfit Drivin' Rain.

The owners plan to host regular screenings of local independent films. Nasty said anything from St. Louis to Memphis, Tenn., will be considered.

"When people hear 'local films,' they think of a kid with a camera," Nasty said. "But this one is professionally made. I saw it at Wehrenberg a couple of years ago, and it was really good. I think it's a dark comedy, but I guess it depends on who you are."

Steve Turner is the mind behind "Miller's Tale," which he describes as an "action-thriller."

"Basically," Turner said, "it's about an English professor with a neighbor, Miller, who has a somewhat suspect past."

Turner said David Ward, played by Bart Elfrink, is a meek and mild English teacher who learns about the death of his neighbor's wife, compelling him to offer his condolences. But when Miller asks David out for a drink, the story takes a dark detour.

"The twist is, the good and settled English teacher is enthralled by this lifestyle," Turner said. This "lifestyle" includes excursions into a violent, backwoods world of drugs and worse.

J.W. McCrary plays cop-turned-weirdo neighbor Miller Giley. While McCrary is from Cape Girardeau, his talents have taken him to Hollywood where he has performed alongside many of the screen's top stars. A notable appearance was in 1993's "A Perfect World" starring Clint Eastwood and Kevin Costner.

This first night of Movies at the Mud House will be a double feature with a short film, "Day Labor," following the feature.

"In the short film genre you can't really get into character development or plot development," Turner said. "It's really more of a place to make a quick point. In the case of 'Day Labor,' it's based on different parables from the Bible."

"Miller's Tale" is unrated but everyone involved says it gets an "R" for strong language, violence and on-screen drug use.

Admission is $3. The screening starts 7 p.m. Friday at the Mississippi Mud House, 811 Broadway.

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