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What might have been

February 4, 2009 - Kevin Sweeney
The hubbub about the movie “New In Town” has started to subside in New Ulm. But the movie reviews around the country are continuing to pop up on the Internet, and frankly, they aren’t good.

I saw the movie with my wife last week, and we thought it was a cute little movie, the kind of romantic comedy that my wife likes to rent on DVD when I’d rather watch something like John Ford’s “The Searchers.” Yes, you can guess the outcome of this movie well in advance, but it’s not too bad.

Movie critics, however, are a sterner bunch. They see dozens of movies each month, and they want something NEW AND DIFFERENT. They apparently hate clichés like the plague, and “New In Town” is definitely full of them.

That’s what makes me wonder what might have been, if the moviemakers had actually filmed this movie in the town it was supposedly set in. What if they had taken the trouble to find out what a New Ulm accent is really like, instead of dredging up those old “Fargo” accents the critics hate so much?

I think the movie would have been much more likeable and realistic if they had people saying “New Ullum,” for instance. What if they had studied someone like Jerry Herzog, for example, a speaker of real, authentic New Ulmese? What if, instead of using the name “Gunderson” for Siobhan Fallon-Hogan’s character, they had used that venerable New Ulm name “Wilfahrt?” Come on, you know it’s funny. There is no shortage of good, New Ulm names that sound a little funny, if not naughty. How about “Windschitl?” How about “Schlumpberger?”

Think of the fun they could have had with “Hermann the German.”

And what’s all this tapioca business? If the ladies in New Ulm know how to make anything, it’s sauerkraut. Sauerkraut to save the day!

Yes, the makers of this movie really missed a bet by not getting the real flavor of New Ulm, and they are taking their lumps now because of it.


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