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Mud slinging 

"Mud," the third feature-length film from Little Rock native Jeff Nichols, was released in town last Friday. Here's what critics, the film's actors, and Nichols himself are saying.

"A newly minted American classic. ... In three features over the course of six years, Mr. Nichols has offered a vision of American life that is regional, though never provincial. But 'Mud' suggests that there's nowhere he can't go. It's a movie that holds out hope for the movies' future." — Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal

"Nichols' next film will likely be even better — and so will the one after that. Because this isn't just a movie. It's the firm confirmation of a career." — Stephen Whitty, New Jersey Star-Ledger

"Mr. Nichols's screenplay is perhaps a little too heavily plotted, especially toward the end, when everything comes together neatly and noisily, but he more than compensates with graceful rhythm, an unfussy eye for natural beauty and a sure sense of character and place. ...A good story is not just about some crazy stuff that happens but also about the voice that does the telling. And Mr. Nichols's voice is a distinctive and welcome presence in American film." — A.O. Scott, New York Times

"It's a film about getting your heart broken and how we recover from that. It's also about ... a dying way of life in the South.

"As the whole United States gets a little more homogenized and everybody gets cable TV and everything gets pumped in from the rest of the world, whatever was unique about the South, it changes. That's not to say it totally goes away, but it's definitely changing. You can go from one town to another and there's a Best Buy and a Home Depot and a McDonald's and it all kind of looks the same. There's a character development that happens — everyone begins to talk the same, sound the same, and listen to the same music. And that culture becomes less unique." — Nichols

"Having grown up in Tennessee, I don't read a lot of Southern writing that's very authentic. I thought [Nichols] did an incredible job of telling a story about two young boys in the contemporary South." — Reese Witherspoon

"I've got my own philosophies about life, and about how to go about life and approach it. ...'Just keep living' is a bit of a compass for me...Mud, he's a little more astrologic. He's stepped in piles of crap so many times in his life he now believes it's good luck. ...There have been characters I've met, most of them probably in the rural South, that had little bits of knowledge like Mud, but nobody as fully committed, with a full constitution like Mud. If he ever came to the so-called mainland and got off of the proverbial island and was reined in by civilization, I don't think he'd survive. He's really getting his knowledge from the stars, from the rivers, from Mother Nature." — Matthew McConaughey on the character, Mud, that Nichols wrote with McConaughey in mind.

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Speaking of Jeff Nichols, Mud

  • Jeff Nichols, 'Loving' and the space in between

    November 17, 2016
    In a strictly technical sense, "Loving" is about the 1967 U.S. Supreme Court case that overturned anti-miscegenation laws, removing restrictions against interracial marriage in the United States. That's a little misleading, though, at least insofar as that description conjures up images of courtroom drama. Nichols strips all that away, making "Loving" exactly what its name implies: a love story. /more/
  • 'Loving' screening raises $10,000 for Tiger Foundation benefitting Central High

    November 15, 2016
    Little Rock native Jeff Nichols brought his new acclaimed film "Loving" to the Ron Robinson Theater last night ahead of the movie's wide release on Friday. The ticketed event raised $10,000 for the Tiger Foundation, a nonprofit that benefits Central High School, Nichols' alma mater. /more/
  • Jeff Nichols returns to Little Rock for Arkansas premiere of "Loving"

    October 24, 2016
    Director Jeff Nichols returns to his hometown Monday, Nov. 14, for the first Arkansas screening of “Loving,” Nichols’ depiction of the story of Richard and Mildred Loving, the couple whose civil rights case resulted in the U.S. Supreme Court’s invalidation of all race-based legal restrictions on marriage. /more/
  • The trailer for Jeff Nichols' 'Loving' looks great

    July 14, 2016
    The latest from Little Rock's Jeff Nichols hits theaters Nov. 4. It's Nichols' telling of the story of Richard and Mildred Loving, whose marriage led to the landmark civil rights case Loving v. Virginia, which ended laws preventing interracial marriage. Ruth Negga's performance as Mildred Loving generated Oscar talk after the film debuted at Cannes. /more/
  • Filmmaker Jeff Nichols shows 'Loving' at Cannes. Good timing.

    May 16, 2016
    Here's Vox with a report on the premier at Cannes of "Loving," the feature film treatment by Little Rock native Jeff Nichols of the case that brought an end to laws against interracial marriage. The theme has many parallels in current times, which Nichols talks about. /more/
  • Jeff Nichols' "Loving" up for Cannes Film Festival Award

    May 11, 2016
    Jeff Nichols' "Loving," a film depicting the landmark civil rights case that overturned anti-miscegenation laws, is up for the Palme d'Or at this year's Canne Film Festival. /more/
  • Nichols' 'Loving' to compete for Palme d'Or at Cannes

    April 19, 2016
    Little Rock-born film director Jeff Nichols, whose stature as a young auteur has been steadily growing with the success of films like 2012's "Mud" and his most recent sci-fi offering "Midnight Special," will get another chance to put a very big feather in his cap next month. His latest film, "Loving," has been selected to compete for the prestigious Palme d'Or at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival in France. /more/
  • 'Midnight Special' subverts the superhero-industrial complex

    March 31, 2016
    It's the latest from Little Rock's Jeff Nichols. /more/
  • Behind the scenes of Jeff Nichols' 'Midnight Special'

    March 4, 2016
    WIRED magazine has a great new profile of Little Rock filmmaker Jeff Nichols out this month, written by the always-perceptive Amy Wallace. Aside from being probably the best and most comprehensive piece written on Nichols to date, it takes us behind the scenes of his forthcoming "Midnight Special" and even offers new insights on previous works, from "Shotgun Stories" ("He wrote the script in his father’s furniture store, “surrounded by mattresses,” and edited it in his laundry room") to "Mud." /more/
  • Jeff Nichols to direct 'Aquaman,' according to leaked emails

    December 15, 2014
    The revelations from last month's massive Sony hack have so far included embarrassing financial statements, embarrassing emails and many other categories of embarrassments. Sony employees hate their own movies, for instance, and Channing Tatum writes weird emails. And now even Arkansas is involved, however tangentially, with the news that Little Rock native Jeff Nichols might be attached to direct the "Aquaman" movie. /more/
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