Everything must go
A year in the life of a dying shopping mall.
A year in the life of a dying shopping mall.
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"Thank you so much for shopping with us over the years."
The circle of life as reflected through the prism of a small-town shopping mall an hour from where I grew up. It's all here, but everything must go.
Documentarians truly are the prospectors of the film industry, and these two directors dug up some golden moments, all the while keeping it in service of a bigger picture. An old domino hound eagerly waiting to meet his maker. A little girl's confidence shaken by a merry-go-round. The silvery ghosts leftover from the days of blue-light specials. And then Isadore says "Kasey, you're gonna crash that plane" like a Gen Z Julie Delpy. Magnificent.
This is the fourth time I've seen this film, and I'm still finding new things. Jasper Mall is dead. Long live Jasper Mall.
1 (of a ghost) manifest itself (at a place) regularly
1.1 (of a person or animal) frequent (a place)
1.2 Be persistently in the mind of (someone)
1.3 Be persistently and disturbingly present in (something)
A place frequented by a specified person or group of people
Ghost stories are love stories, in a way. Ghosts are an expression of loss — a lost love, a lost time, or our own sense of loss in the present — and love is about loss, actual or eventual, too. Better to have loved and lost — with the loss implicit in the love. And of course, ghost stories are also stories of place. Ghosts haunt; they're bound to some…
EDIT: (pre-tl;dr - please seek out and support this excellent lil film!!!)
I realize how silly it's gonna sound, but I have one particular mall that is very close to my heart. Attaching any meaning, let alone sentimental value, to any of the still-standing structures of late-stage American excess is... dumb. I know. I know it's foolish to care about these things because these things don't care about you. I get it, but it's hard to watch JASPER MALL and not think of the Fox Valley Mall in Aurora, IL which has always been ever-present in my life, but especially when I was waaaay younger.
All of my family lives within spitting distance of the Fox Valley Mall, so whenever…
"That's the third time I've been pronounced dead."
I’ve been to this mall more times than I would like to admit. What a documentary.
Jewelry Doctor and the hairstylist being together was the biggest plot twist of 2020. (Edited, they’re not a couple but I like to remember the moments I thought they were.)
WHAT IS MIKE’S ACCENT? WHY DOES IT COME AND GO??
I always felt like shopping malls were like capitalism masturbating into a cup and inviting everyone in. Between the tacky stores, the kiosks, the random people getting back massages, the overwhelming food courts and free samples shoved in your face, it's a pretty exhausting experience going to a mall.
So the slow closing of them I never felt was a bad thing. But I went into this documentary with an open mind.
The good thing is it focuses on the little people who are on the lower rungs of capitalism. A small flower shop owner. A security guard who also mops the floors. Some older gentlemen who play dominoes to kill time and probably can't afford anywhere else to go.…
I'm a lover of modern ruins. I've watched endless videos on the ghostly wreckage of Detroit and collect books on abandoned Soviet Brutalist architecture. There's a bittersweet quality to massive structures, recently or semi-recently vibrant, that sit neglected and forgotten; they shift my brain to a strangely addicting, haunted liminal space.
I love dead malls most of all. I will lurk any weird, empty, half-dark mall I come across.
However, a dead mall isn't merely an avenue for oneiric bullshit reveries. It's a concrete indicator of real people losing real jobs. It's a sign that fleets of Amazon trucks are overrunning the planet. It's another small death knell for communal experiences.
Malls were once a bad sign for civilization (see…
Jasper Mall is (was?) in Jasper, Alabama, but it feels like a signature southern small town. Regulars frequent the largely empty space like they’re attending church. You’ve got the daily walkers, the domino players, and the hardworking employees—some of whom have been there since it opened in ‘81; the lady in the flower shop (mostly funerals, fewer weddings now), the jeweler (who also plays the electric guitar), and the teenager in housekeeping who saves up to go on cruises with his friends. He likes to keep moving.
Mike McClelland is the star of the show, who takes care of the mall as if it were his own home. Watching him work reminded me of someone tending a garden. Mike used to…
A quiet yet strangely poetic documentary.
Malls are places you have to move on from. They might be familiar, comfortable....but nothing gold can stay. Even if the gold is tarnished by piped-in muzak, the smell of fried foods, neon displays and stale recycled air. Even if it represents (for the tenants) low wages, diminishing customer interest and approaching elimination. The mall is an endangered species, its days are numbered.
There are still a remnant of people in this town that frequent the mall but they are mostly older, their futures behind them, as they cherish and cling to past memories.
The "superintendent" of the mall is a haunted, curious character who used to own a small zoo. But he gave…
Brief, vivid snatches of small-town life, against the backdrop of a dying mall.
I could have watched another three hours of this. Few things fascinate me more than rural desolation.
My wife and I used to tell the kids stories about how big a deal malls were to us growing up in the 80s. But we stopped when we realized that those stories just made us sound like geezers. Or aliens.
☆"Last week I had a $24 day, then I had a $16 day. You can't live on that."☆
A buzzy but still underseen doc -- that only came to my attention from Rich Juzwiak's Jezebel article yesterday -- the sneakily excellent elegy Jasper Mall by Brett Whitcomb and Bradford Thomason documents one dying space that once thrived but now faces imminent collapse, only exacerbated by the ramifications of the coronavirus pandemic.
Every mall is of course different yet also exactly the same. Filmed with patient observance of the rituals of one Alabama mall, shots of the stores opening may have different names than the ones you're used to -- Belk's versus JCPenney, MasterCuts versus SuperCuts, Yogurt Shop versus TCBY --…
Oh dear, middle America is so sad. This is like the antithesis to something like ‘Mallrats’ but I actually it think would be perfect as a double feature. It’s just really sad, to see something that was at one stage such a big part of a community just fall so far and become an afterthought. The characters that we see throughout are both lovely and pitiful, I know that sounds very mean and harsh but it’s true, watch it and you’ll see.
I actually enjoyed it, I do love these kind of everyman stories from the American heartland. Depressing and poignant and kind of beautiful in equal measure.