Talking Tall

Movie Information

Talking Tall will be shown for one show only on Thursday, May 3, at 9:30 p.m. at Asheville Pizza and Brewing Company, 675 Merrimon Avenue.
Genre: Documentary
Director: C. Eric Scott, Joshua P. Warren
Starring: Virato, Matt Mittan, Joshua P. Warren, J. Scott, Trent Lackey, Angela Moore
Rated: NR

If this documentary about some of Asheville’s talk radio personalities had been trimmed by about 10 minutes, chances are good I’d have given it another half star. Even if I was ready for the film to call it a day sooner than it did, some of the choicest bits in it were toward the end, suggesting to me that the overall film was good—just that there was a little too much of it. I have to admit I’ve never heard any of the personalities in question. (I’ve met Virato a couple times, but have never heard him on the air.) As a result, I came to the film relatively unbiased and ready to see what Talking Tall was all about.

The film is the brainchild of directors C. Eric Scott and Joshua P. Warren. The latter is, in fact, one of the talk-radio personalities in the film, though it’s a testament to his overall interest in the whole talk-radio form that he doesn’t turn over the lion’s share of the footage to his program. Instead, the clear stars of the film are Virato of the Virato Live! show and Matt Mittan of Take a Stand. That’s not surprising, because they provide the best material, especially Virato, who is definitely the most colorful of the subjects—and the one most prone to do (and probably initiate) outrageous things. (Catch the scene where he leads the camera crew into the church.)

Most of the talk here is good—even the more maddening variety—but the cleverest thing Scott and Warren have done is to realize that a film about talk radio could quickly turn into nothing more than talking heads doing that which they do best: talking. That’s all well and good, but even when you break it up with Virato walking around town and Matt Mittan fishing, it’s not exactly exciting filmmaking. To make up for this, the film takes the generally successful approach of cutting away to more cinematic evocations of what’s being discussed. This works better sometimes than others—the marijuana brownies segment, frankly, doesn’t work at all—but it keeps the film visually interesting. All in all, it’s a solid, entertaining effort that sheds some light on the diversity of local talk radio. I did leave thinking that maybe I’d have liked more of Angela Moore’s The Hillbilly Psychic, but wonder if I’m not better off just thinking about the concept than exploring it. And I think I want to know what the devil Virato was going on about in reference to “non-genital sex.” Then again, maybe I don’t.

— reviewed by Ken Hanke

About Ken Hanke
Head film critic for Mountain Xpress from December 2000 until his death in June 2016. Author of books "Ken Russell's Films," "Charlie Chan at the Movies," "A Critical Guide to Horror Film Series," "Tim Burton: An Unauthorized Biography of the Filmmaker."

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2 thoughts on “Talking Tall

  1. Orb Dancer

    After 15 years of study of all types I can get my hands on of the paranormal; well Thank GOD for you souls,let the truth be told !

    Thank You,
    Orb Dancer


  2. “Non-genetal” sex is sharing the energy with no contemporary definition of sex. While it is not celibacy in the traditional sense, many in western society would see it as this. It is energetic rather than physical.

    The old form of “genital sex” makes babies, gives AIDS and other STDs, and leaves stains. The new form, sustains love. Called “Tantra” by some, and “bramacharya” by others

    I enjoyed being in the film, “TALKING TALL,” it was really fun to shoot.

    Next catch my narration of “Anyplace, USA” (Sundance 2008 selection),

    But Ken Hanke should listen to my radio show. Some say it is addictive…really! Saturdays, 10:06 AM to 1 PM on 880AM The Revolution.

    See you in the movies….

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