Film Analysis | Film Reviews | Massachusetts

Growing Up in Everett, Massachusetts

1 Jan , 2002  

Written by Chris Cooke | Posted by:

A review of Zachary Stratis's film 'Midburb.'

Zachary Stratis couldn’t wait to escape his hometown of Everett, Massachusetts. Everett was a dirty, treeless, factory-laden nowhere. Whenever he found himself in more genteel company, he felt self-conscious by his origins, forced to poke jokes at his hometown to maintain a sense of dignity.

Now, however, he finds himself drawn back. His documentary "Midburb" shows us why. We meet an odd assortment of characters: There’s Lenny, the singing bus driver and Rosie, who’s driven a cab since World War II. There’s the heart surgeon of upholstery and a co-worker who stores upholstery tacks in his mouth. Has he swallowed any before? You betcha. We meet a grocer who appeared on Johnny Carson to show off his talent for catching grapes in his mouth. He once caught a grape thrown from the 788-ft. tall John Hancock tower. We hear a variety store owner wax about he good old days when he "went further into slush."

Then there’s the guy with the 1,200-lb statue of a horse in his front yard and a urinating fountain in the back, moaning all the time about his 20-minute commute to his farm in Reading. There are dandelion gatherers in Everett, girls with big, big hair, and a woman who recycles her laundry water for a load or two. It seems the less there is to do in a town, the more folks have time to cultivate their peculiarities.

It turns out Stratis didn’t always hate Everett. When he was young, he loved it. And given the motley crew in "Midburb," it’s no wonder. "Midburb" doesn’t delve too deep into Stratis’ love/hate relationship with home. It’s most successful when it eases up on the introspection and lets us fall in love with the oddballs we see. Perhaps Everett isn’t such a bad place after all.

Information about ‘Midburb’ can be obtained by contacting

Information about 'Midburb' can be obtained by contacting