‘Iron City Blues’ film can’t even win Goober award

Having a slow day down at the film development office? Here’s a formula that never fails: pick some backwoods Southern town, hint that outsiders aren’t welcome there–“you ain’t from around here, are ye?”–and send some outsider in to check things out.

The latest version of this tiresome stuff is Iron City Blues, a documentary that depicts–well, let’s go to the press release, along with a little commentary:

After years of hearing urban rural legends about a lawless old mining town with a sky-high murder rate, (uh, when your population is only 368, all it takes is one killing to game the stats) blues musician Big Mike Griffin rides to Iron City to learn the truth for himself. Unlike nearby McNairy County which was home to Sheriff Buford Pusser in “Walking Tall,” Iron City has remained lawless and untamed. To Big Mike, it was the perfect subject for a blues song.

Along with a former Marine as a guide, Big Mike rides through Tennessee’s backroads to the heart of Iron City. (Blink and you’ll miss this “heart.”) There, surrounded by buildings ravaged by fire and years of decay (we couldn’t afford to film in Detroit), he interviews a fascinating collection of locals who seem to actually enjoy living their lives on the edge of anarchy. (As do most residents of peckerwood towns from coast to coast.) The resulting song, a high-energy blues anthem infused with southern rock (invoke Lynyrd Skynyrd here), is as much a celebration of Iron City as it is an ominous warning to outsiders.

Cue the banjo music, folks, it’s Deliverance 23!


Today’s Tennessean has a article about the film and how it is playing in Iron City. That’s not what concerns me. What I hate to see is yet another stereotypical, redneck view of Tennessee trotted out to the world. Yes, I’m sure there are some bad dudes in and around Iron City who make threats about outsiders. Those same mouthy characters live in Dogpatch towns in Maine and Wyoming, too, but no one ever makes movies about places like that.

The press kit for Iron City Blues has a “Director’s Statement” in which Scott C. Jackson breathlessly states “Even though we were traveling with Big Mike Griffin, who stands nearly 7 feet tall, and Jason Neese, who is a former Marine, I still took every precaution while filming in Iron City.” From the looks of Big Mike, the biggest thing anyone had to fear was getting him more than 10 minutes away from a cardio unit.

The irony is that Iron City Blues won an Honorable Mention award at the George Lindsey Film Festival. Lindsey, as devotees of the Andy Griffith Show can all testify, played Goober on that long-running show. There’s the one-liner blurb for this movie: By goobers, about goobers, and for goobers.

14 Responses to ‘Iron City Blues’ film can’t even win Goober award

  1. Michael Jobe says:

    Thank goodness!!!!!!!! I thought it was me. This really is a bad movie, and I mean bad as in no good, terrible, sucks and many other adjs. Yes and once again the hill billies are trotted out there. I know these people are in all states, but why do they pick out the South? The reason no law man is in Iron City is they can’t afford one and one is not needed.

    You might be a red neck if you beleive all the stupid stuff out there about the South!

  2. Anthony Killen says:

    Im From Iron City An All That Guy Did Was Go Get Some People Who Arent From Iron City To act Like They Were From There The Worst Thing That Ever Happen There Was When A Few Corrupt Cops Got Shot Thats All Every Now And Then People Get Shot At But Thats Cause There Thieves

  3. Casey says:

    That movie was so untrue. Yes, we don’t have any law and damn sure don’t need any or want any for that matter. However, they had a real reliable source giving the tour of Iron city, Jason Neese who isn’t even from Iron city and was discharged from the Marines with a DISHONORABLE discharge. And by the way the cops weren’t shot only shot at to scare them to be exact the lights were shot off the top of the cop car.

    • Jason L. Neese says:

      That was an honorable discharge, with the Navy Bronze Cross for a tour in Beirut Lebanon is 1983. Get your facts straight.

      • eddie Leggs says:

        There is no such medal or award as a Navy Bronze Cross. There’s a Navy Cross and a Bronze Star but no Navy Bronze Cross. Also you are NOT in the official government registry for either medal.

        Wanna try again?

      • S. Goodman says:

        I’m a friend of Jason Neese. I saw this stuff yeterday and called him. He hasn’t even seen this website. Those were not his comments above. He laughed at all this. He was asked to ride in this movie by Big Mike. They’re friends. He didn’t write it, direct it or anything else. He just rode in it as a friend. He was honorable discharged from the Marine Corps. I do know that. He has a handgun carry permit and has done some work with the Muscle Shoals Police Dept. and the State of Alabama Corrections. You can’t do any of that with a bad discharge. Just taking up for my friend.

  4. I lived in Iron City TN. back in 1970. Back then, I was known as Bobby Wright. I ran around with the Purser boys and I did raise some hell. Iron City was a rough place back then. My Step-Dad moved us to St. Joe, where my Mom was shot and killed and my Step-Dad (Joe Wright) was shot by Charles Balentine(died in Levenworth). I must say that Iron City is a little rough, but the Wright boys, Jimmy and Joe along with Mitchell Simpson and Abe Gable did their damage. I will come back to Iron City to visit the site where my old house used to be (across the creek, next door to to the Pursers, my old house in Iron City has long since burned down). I have not viewed the movie yet, but I am sure that it can’t be accurate. Anyone with info about Joe Wright, Dana Wright, Abe Gable, Mitchell Simpson, Charlie B, Tracy Odem, Mary or Kay Chandler, or Mrs. Richardson (3rd grade teacher at St. Joe Tn. school). Please email me @ rhuffmam10@ivytech.edu. I do remember the persimmon trees on the hill at the Iron City school playground. Thanks, Bob Huffman

    • Janie Sledge Coke says:

      Well Iron City Blues was a really stupid movie and I BOUGHT the this. Grew up there in 60-70″s and this dang movie just makes the place look bad and makes all that live there look like back wood hicks. Awful!

  5. craig aston says:

    i live in iron city. third av. to be exact. and yes, iron city aint got no law but we dont need any.most of the movie is untrue. some things are true. like the mines but the only reason people get killed down here is because those people are theives.

  6. Tina says:

    I lived in Iron City my whole life up until just last year, and was even in the movie, I didn’t like it and it was suppose to be a history fact about Iron City, not a joke which it turned out to be. I was also very disappointed and upset that some of my family was targeted on (no names were mentioned) the things that were said were not true and should not have been put in the movie, facts should have been gotten before they were published in a movie, and it is true that the source is not even from Iron City. I lived on my own for many years and never feared for my life at one time. For a fact, trouble came from out of town just to give Iron City a bad name. The movie didn’t even publish all that was said, the good stuff that was said and history that was mentioned was cut out, only the bad was left, which of course, is what they wanted it to be all about, I would have not been a part of it if I had known that it was going to be such a big joke. Most of the people that live in Iron City are very good people, not everyone is a thief, thug, murderer or white trash that the movie made us out to be.

  7. Alex says:

    I well tell you the truth about this movie it was a poor excuse of facts about this small town,but luckily for this town it was done by a small time artist that know one listen to anyway.Wished one thing, wished people could of seen big Mike lay down his cycle and seen how the community that he feared to come an do a article about came to his rescue.Iron City is a great place to live, if you like small town living its where everyone knows everyone and if you fart in your pants one day you will have shit it in them by the next day. This small town living ask anyone who has lived or living in a small town.The said fact about this Town is that it once was a booming town back when the mining was going it had a College a bank Movie Theater and even Hotels .Whats is so sad is when the mining went, the town went.Now it has a small store with a canoe rental inside of it and one small country restaurant with the best food you ever put in your mouth and on the out skirts of town there is a small package store.There are two casket factory’s in this town ,but like the mining they are playing out.If you want to see how scary Iron City really is come and take a relaxing trip town a creek,stop and get a relaxing beverage to take with you as you float and then stop in at the restaurant and get the best meal you will ever put in your mouth.Make sure you wave when you come threw town or people will call you a stuck up person.Oh yeah you do want to watch out for one thing when you come to Iron City and it is your speed limit the law there are very board and this is how they make a living stopping out of towners to collect ticket money to help pay there salary.

  8. Michael Jobe says:

    it’s me again. I showed several people (in TN) the movie, and most thoughht of it as a joke. This is another slam on Tenn. I am sure Iron City was picked because it is a Tenn town.Big Mike only did this for the money with no reguard for the people of IC. If he wants to look there are towns all over Tenn that are proud of there town and (like IC) southern roots, and i am sure he can get his big ass kicked in any of them, not because the people are bad but because the people are tired of the put downs. Big Mike is a big coward!

  9. TNgirl72 says:

    I grew up in Iron City and that video made me sick. Big Mike went around asking for the worst things possible. Why didnt he mention when he turned over on his bike that he could not pick it up and some good ole Iron City boys helped him. And for the ex marine Mr. Neese could have said no I’m not doing a movie like this…but he didn’t!!! So shame on you! I don’t care if you are buds with Big Mike.. Don’t disgrace another town.. I would not do Saint Joe or Loretto tags way.. Just saying! Yes bad things has happened there just like anywhere else! And people that loves this video should be ashamed of themself.. Get a brain.. It maked us look like fools, and studios hillybilly hicks..
    Very disappointed in this movie or whatever you call it. (Crap)
    Look for all the good in a town like the year the F5 tornado hit.. 1994.. Everyone came together even if they hated each other and helped. Big Mike and the Ex-marine.. Should have been there that day! Shame shame on those that made this movie!!

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