Is crime and punishment a cultural phenomenon in Florida

There are times in when reading about a subject just fails to give a person a sense of atmosphere surround the subject matter being studied. Film can be and has been a valid mechanism to such ends. The story of crime and punishment in Florida as been captured over the years with an incredible starkness that can not be ignored.

You can argue that these movie reflect phenomenon of the US but they are set in Florida. I will argue they reflect a Florida culture that may have national implications. I used the description of these movies from Wikipedia and a full background can be found there.

Cool Hand Luke ‘Newman stars in the title role as Luke, a prisoner in a Florida prison camp[2] who refuses to submit to the system. In 2005, the United States Library of Congress deemed Cool Hand Luke to be “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” and selected it for preservation in the National Film Registry.’

Gideon’s Trumpet ” Gideon’s Trumpet is a book by Anthony Lewis describing the story behind Gideon v. Wainwright, in which the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that criminal defendants have the right to an attorney even if they cannot afford it. In 1965, the book won an Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America for Best Fact Crime book.

A made-for-TV movie based on the book was released in 1980, starring Henry Fonda as Clarence Earl Gideon, José Ferrer as Abe Fortas and John Houseman as Earl Warren (though Warren’s name was never mentioned in the film; he was billed simply as “The Chief Justice”). Houseman also provided the offscreen closing narration at the end of the film. Lewis himself appeared in a small role as “The Reporter”. The movie was a Hallmark Hall of Fame presentation produced by Worldvision, and aired on CBS.”

Ulee’s Gold “Fonda plays Ulee (short for Ulysses) Jackson, a Vietnam vet, widower and grandfather. He is a beekeeper by profession, who raises two granddaughters (Biel and Zima) because his son (Wood) is in prison and his daughter-in-law Helen (Dunford), a drug addict, has run away. The son implores him to look for his wife and bring her home. Upon returning home with Helen, Ulee’s granddaughters see their mother going through withdrawal, and plead with their neighbor Connie (Richardson) to help her. Connie is a twice-divorced nurse who assists Ulee in getting his daughter-in-law through detox. The film shows Ulee holding the family together and attempting to protect them from two young criminals, associates of his son, who come looking for a hidden stash of cash.”

Ruby in Paradise Judd plays Ruby, the title character and narrator of the film. As the film begins, she is leaving Tennessee, landing in Panama City, Florida, a summer resort town she visited as a child. Although she arrives there in fall, at the beginning of the off-season, she gets a job at Chambers Beach Emporium, a souvenir store run by Mrs. Chambers (played by Lyman), overcoming the owner’s initial rejection of her employment application by telling her “I’ve done retail before, and I work real cheap.” Over the course of a year she keeps a journal (from which the film’s narration is taken) and contemplates her career ups and downs, her love life, her past, and her future.

The film is a character study, proceeding at a leisurely pace with Ruby’s introspective comments interspersed with routine scenes at the souvenir store or conversations with her friend Rochelle (played by Dean), or the men she dates (played by Field and Mitchum).

Spoken WordCoffee shops, university lounges, book stores, open mics, and public spaces are common venues for spoken word. Many venues hold “open mic” nights where a host will allow anyone to sign up and give a performance. Although it is often poetry, many spoken word artists use “open mic” nights to present any form of message, be it confession, a political essay, or a call for action.

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