Mike McCarthy is one of Memphis film pioneers. Starting in the 1990s, his feature films such as Teenage Tupelo, Superstarlet A.D., and Cigarette Girl forged a mondo, anything goes aesthetic from punk rock, trash cinema, and pop culture ephemera.
In the last few years, McCarthy has thrown himself into historic preservation, and his filmic output has migrated towards nonfiction. Destroy Memphis is his document of the years long quest to save Libertyland and the Zippin Pippin, Elvis' favorite wooden rollercoaster. It's a sometimes funny, sometimes sad, and always riveting story of grassroots civic engagement.
The film premiered at last year's Indie Memphis Film Festival. In today's time of protests, letter writing, and Memphis accelerating but often controversial development, this film seems even more relevant. The controversy at the heart of the film, what to do with the Fairgrounds, has only grown more murky and heated over time. Destroy Memphis will screen at Malco's Studio on the Square on Thursday, October 26 at 7:00 PM. It seems like a perfect time to, as McCarthy says, "Start celebrating our history, and stop tearing it down!"