‘Crazy Like a Fox’


Whether you find the protagonist of Richard Squires’s comedy-drama—an eighth-generation Virginian (Roger Rees) whose family farm has been hornswoggled away by hissable yuppie scum—a dangerous Confederate crackpot or an exemplar of principled defiance likely depends on which side of the Mason-Dixon Line you see the movie. A regional-festival crowd-pleaser from 2004, the film careens from slapstick to save-the-farm melodrama as Rees’s down-home Don Quixote takes up residence in a cave, while plotting against his mustache-twirling carpetbagger landlords (Paul Fitzgerald and Christina Rouner). Played out against idyllic fishing holes and picturesque farmland, the movie’s take on Southern-versus-Northern values could hardly be more stacked or slanted—the villains are named Sherman for God’s sake. But its heritage-obsessed firebrands will seem familiar to anyone who’s attended a zoning hearing south of Maryland. So will Mary McDonnell’s long-suffering wife—who, like many women married to bullheaded Southern men, has mastered the firm but soothing tone of a hostage negotiator.

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