15. Sun Don't Shine
Director: Amy Seimetz
Stars: Kate Lyn Sheil, Kentucker Audley
Everybody's got baggage. Some folks just have the kind that can get you the death penalty in Florida. In the unconventional road trip movie Sun Don't Shine, Crystal (Kate Lyn Sheil) and her boyfriend Leo (Kentucker Audley) drive tensely from Jacksonville to Tampa trying to keep a trunk full of trouble secret so they can lighten their load, literally if not mentally, in the Everglades.
Carried by Sheil and Audley's stellar performances, which are believably trashy, self-defeating, and hopeless, Sun Don't Shine feels like a crime documentary following two people who, as criminals, are fish out of water (a theme that is paralleled charmingly in scenes at a real-life roadside mermaid attraction, about which filmmaker Amy Seimetz made the 2008 documentary short We Saw Such Things). As Crystal's dim-witted inability to recognize the stakes, and her jealousy of a woman Leo seeks help from, threaten to ruin them both, their bond and the fantasy of happily ever after begins to melt under the stifling sun.
A native Floridian, Seimetz does a magnificent job capturing the flavor of central Florida. Watching her marvelous film, you can practically feel the dirt caking on your face, then streaking down muddily as you sweat in the kind of oppressive heat that causes blood to boil and leads people to do very bad things. —JM