I don’t know if you noticed, but we live in a divided country. Economic tension. Political tension. Racial tension. Jeremy Dylan Lanni offers a little morality tale that takes us right into the heart of the tension with Anywhere, U.S.A. He asks the simple question, “What would you do?”
Anywhere, U.S.A. opens outside a mid-western diner in Anywhere, U.S.A. It like any All-American café you would find in middle America. Customers are white, including a truck driver, a middle-aged couple and a father and young son. Also in the diner is an African-American serviceman getting a quick meal. In the back, the owner’s daughter works as a server along with her Persian boyfriend—the busboy.
“Can cooler heads prevail before someone does something they’ll regret?”
The mood in the diner is tense but calm. Where is the tension coming from? Consider, the middle-aged couple is leery at the Persian busboy flirting with their server. Or the trucker attempts to relate to the serviceman. What about the upset father who lost his promotion to the “chink.”
In a War of the Worlds-type twist, news comes there was a bombing on the Golden Gate bridge. Soon, the whole diner turns on the Persian busboy. Can cooler heads prevail before someone does something they’ll regret?
“…I’ve seen this story before, specifically during the last presidential election.”
Filmmaker Lanni paints a strong picture about over-reacting and jumping to the wrong conclusions in this seven-minute short film. He has made a very good-looking film. His film is, if anything, a conversation starter.
So let’s start a quick conversation. Sadly, I feel like I’ve seen this story before, specifically during the last presidential election. I get that Lanni is trying to warn us about racial and religious prejudice and passing our prejudice to the next generation. When it comes to stories involving identity politics, It’s just a little cliché to make the white people your villains. Let’s keep talking about racism. But let’s find new and meaningful ways to talk about at the same time.
Anywhere, USA (2017) Written and directed by Jeremy Dylan Lanni. Starring Jared Warnick, Calum Dench, Kevin McCorkle, and Keith Stevenson.
2.5 out of 5 stars