“American Movie” was an amazing documentary by director Chris Smith. His latest, “Home Movie” is as highly entertaining as his previous work, filled with quirky characters completely at home and happy with their sometimes bizarre, chosen lifestyle. The film is quite literally about unusual homes and the proud owners who occupy these unusual spaces. We meet Bill Triegle who lives on a houseboat in the Louisiana Bayou — his backyard is the water. He makes his living raising alligators and gathers food by fishing in his own yard. Ben Skora is a genius with electronics and looks like a retired James Bond villain. Ben’s home has been outfitted with revolving rooms, doors that close like an iris and a working robot butler. New Age couple Ed and Diana Pedan have refitted an abandoned missile silo into their dream home and live underground. Linda Beech lives in Hawaii in a tree house powered by a waterfall. Bob Walker and Francis Mooney are extreme “cat people” who have completely redesigned their house to accommodate their many felines. They tell us that by creating a complex series of tunnels and catwalks throughout their living space, their home has dropped in value by more than $30,000. But the monetary value of their home is not what’s really important to them, because they are happy having chosen to live by their own rules and not those imposed by some realtor. It’s touching to see these people’s lives reflected in their living spaces. They are all supremely happy doing things their own way.
My personal favorite is Ben Skora, the electronics genius. He can fix anything and electronically outfit any device no matter how meaningless. Ben proudly walks us through his home demonstrating a button that activates a hand coming through a wall to deliver soap, or a switch turning a room so that the kitchen miraculously appears or a chair that jets him from room to room. He even built a ski slope on his roof and swooped down into the snowy streets. Watching these eccentrics is both inspiring and pure joy.