Documentary Review: ‘Red, White & Wasted’

Review by James Lindorf

Directors Andrei Bowden-Schwartz and Sam B. Jones follow a family of mudding enthusiasts from Orlando, Florida, in their latest film “Red White & Wasted.” For decades Orlando resident Matthew “Video Pat” Burns lived for the monster-wheeled vehicles twisting, sliding, and whipping up buckets of mud for approving, beer-chugging onlookers. Swamp Ghost was the greatest and last mudhole in Orlando. When access was cut off, Matthew and the other mudders were forced to reconsider their way of life in a city that didn’t seem to have room for them anymore. “Red White & Wasted” will make a splash during a limited theatrical run on September 11th before being released On Demand September 22nd.

If someone asked you what comes to mind when you think of Orlando, the most likely answer would be Disney, and the second most common answer would probably be Sea World. “Red White & Wasted,” much like 2017’s “The Florida Project” shines a light on the people and cultures living in the Magic Kingdom’s shadow. Unlike that beautiful A24 film Jones and Bowden-Schwartz do not have the complex characters for a great movie. Instead, they rely on shock value and taking viewers into a world they’ve never experienced.

The subset of Orlando residents that are highlighted in the film is exclusively white and politically polarized. The racism is upfront and ever-present, with the N-word being used multiple times. The S-word even makes a few appearances, and the references to illegals are too many to count. The bigotry doesn’t end there, with several instances of people being referred to as the F-word. If you can get past the racism, xenophobia, and sexual bigotry, you can learn a lot about Matthew. He makes a living by recycling scrap metal. It is challenging work, and things are tight. Still, it allows him to pay his bills, participate in his hobby, and raise his two teenage daughters who are dealing with health and boyfriend issues.

“Red White and Wasted” unapologetically immerses its audience into Florida’s redneck mudding culture and all the trespassing, drinking, twerking, nudity, and violence under the layers of mud. There is a chance that the film could hit like “Tiger King” did for Netflix earlier this year. However, none of the subjects are anywhere close to as entertaining as Joe Exotic. That and the bigotry will turn off a lot of potential viewers limiting its popularity and profitability.

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