Wednesday, October 12, 2005

The Fundies of Hicksville

The Fundies of Hicksville


The Fundies of Hicksville is set in a futuristic dark age--after George Bush’s refusal to ratify the Kyoto Protocols precipitated a new ice age due to global warming, thereby wiping out civilization as we know it.

The Vatican has to consign all its Raphaels, Titians, and Tintorettos to the flames just to keep icicles from forming in the papal apartments.

But as the Prefect for the Congregation of the Faith is manning his ham radio, he picks up a faint, repeating, prerecorded signal issuing from the North American branch of La Fundación Xavier Zubiri.

The Vatican immediately dispatches a papal nuncio by the name of Marryin’ Sam to investigate. After several days drive across the Atlantic, followed by a Yak ride into the Smokey Blue Hills, the signal leads him straight to Hicksville, USA.

There he is shocked to see the barbarous state of the natives. To begin with, there’s not a single 5-star hotel in underground town, while the fleabag cavern in which he has to lodge doesn’t even have Dover sole on its dinner menu.

But what is worse, if possible, is the impiety of the locals. They call themselves “Fundies,” and actually use tarnip bread and Kickapoo Joy Juice at the Lord’s Supper. Yet even that fails to plumb the fathomless depths of their apostasy.

It takes several months for Marryin’ Sam to master their vulgar tongue, what with its abundance of Southernisms and all. But at last he begins to unravel the mystery.

The Fundies only have three books: a crumbling King James Bible, along with two “commentaries”: an equally dilapidated copy of Sentient Intelligence by Xavier Zubiri, and a yellowing, worm-eaten paperback of The Children of the Corn. There’s also a rusty radio on continuous replay.

Piecing it all together, it appears that when the Eastern Seaboard froze up, a member of the Fundación took refuge in the temperate caves of the Piedmont, where the locals later joined him. Upon further etymological investigation, Marryin’ Sam discovers that “Fundie” is a corruption of “Fundación.”

Not having access to communion wine or wheat wafers, the Fundies at first substituted corn pones and moonshine—and one must admit that moonshine definitely has a whole lot more “presence” than unfermented grape juice.

But after the Second Council of Appalachia, they settled on tarnip bread and Kickapoo Joy Juice—reasoning that that Joy Juice was more fitting for the Agape feast, while tarnips were easier to grow in the cold.

Oh, but it goes from bad to worse. In applying Zubirian hermeneutics--according to which being is posterior to reality, since actuality is posterior to actuity—to the Bread of Life Discourse, the Fundies had radically reinterpreted the Real Presence. For if there is no esse real, only realitas in essendo, then in transubstantiation the true bread and wine subsists under the species of the body and blood.

Marryin’ Sam is naturally aghast this heretical innovation, not to say inversion, and immediately sets about to reeducate them on the finer points of Zubirian metaphysics.

Unfortunately for him, his flock is distracted by more earthly concerns. For a feud breaks out between the Clampetts and the Abners smack in the middle of his catechetical lectures.

You see, Jed had arranged for his cousin Bo to tie the knot with Daisy Mae, while Uncle Abner, who wasn’t so Li’l anymore, had arranged for his second cousin Jethro to tie the knot with Moonbeam McSwine.

That’s afore Bo caught sight a-Moonbeam McSwine working her ample blandishments on the utterly defenseless Bo Duke down at kissin’ rock.

Well, blood was near to be spilt until Uncle Abner intervened. After consulting Deut 12:17, and comparing it with Stephen King’s novel, Bo and Jethro agreed to Marryin’ Sam as a mutually amendable peace-offering.

Acting is not what one really looks for in a film like this, but both actresses have the right constitution for the part, and the amendments aren’t half bad either. Breathtaking natural photography is another plus.

The only weak link is the stilted Zubirian dialogue. Surely no one talks like that in real life. At this point many of the moviegoers left the auditorium to refill their pop and popcorn. But when the priest met his fate, there was a standing ovation. Three stars.

Cast & Credits
Uncle Abner: Lorne Greene
Jed Clampett: Buddy Ebsen
Bo Duke: Tab Hunter
Jethro Bodine: Jim Nabors
Moonbeam McSwine: Dolly Parton
Daisy Mae: Pamela Anderson
Marryin' Sam: Fulton Sheen

Columbia Pictures presents a film directed by Steve Triabloke.
Screenplay by Al Capp.
Based on the novel by Will Rogers.
Running time: 120 minutes.
Rated PG-13 (for bodacious blonds, shameless colloquialisms, and a rather nasty auto-da-fe).

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