The Guatemalan Handshake (2006)



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Movie Info

A demolition derby driver (Will Oldham) has vanished into the darkness following a massive power outage, setting into motion a bizarre series of events that will profoundly effect everyone from his pregnant girlfriend to a troupe of roving boy scouts and a ten year old girl named Turkeylegs. Later, as Turkeylegs sets out to track down her missing friend, cars kick-up dirt while driving in circles, a woman attends her own funeral, and an orange vehicle repeatedly changes owners. The one night, at a massive demolition derby, the lives of everyone involved are sent spiraling in different directions.


Katy Haywood
as Turkeylegs
Ken Byrnes
as Mr. Turnupseed
Will Oldham
as Donald Turnupseed
Kathleen Kennedy
as Ethel Firecracker
Cory McAbee
as Spank Williams
Andy Nadler
as Barnard
Jim Ligons
as Curtis
Sam Myers
as Lunchmeat
Andy Sheffer
as Neckface
T.J. Bream
as Leonard
Christopher Morse
as Insurance Man
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News & Interviews for The Guatemalan Handshake

Critic Reviews for The Guatemalan Handshake

All Critics (7) | Top Critics (3)

On the index of quirk, this winsome indie scores quite high.

Jun 8, 2007 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

Although Rohal's goal seems to be a rich character study, the movie works best as a celebration of small-town Americana that persists well into the 21st century.

Feb 9, 2007 | Rating: 2.5/4

A frustrating example of convention-defying filmmaking that tries too hard to be different.

Jan 31, 2006
Top Critic

This sweet nothing has invention and personality to spare, not to mention marvelous mysteries, quirky connections and cockeyed running gags.

Feb 8, 2007 | Rating: B | Full Review…

Deliberately quirky almost to the point of distraction, this offbeat comedy is an enjoyably puzzling film.

Jan 10, 2007 | Rating: 3.5/5 | Full Review…

An entertaining and visually exciting film. It has an oddly meandering pace that is riddled with quirky characters in weird situations.

Nov 21, 2006 | Rating: 3.5/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Guatemalan Handshake

After her boyfriend goes missing a pregnant woman with dozens of sisters all from different mothers enters a demolition derby against her Guatemalan father... and that's just one of many plotlines running concurrently in this bizarre rural community. How to describe this unique movie: maybe it's like what would happen if Wes Anderson rewrote GUMMO as a quirky comedy?

Greg S
Greg S

Super Reviewer

In "The Guatemalan Handshake," Donald(Will Oldham) disappears during a power outage. Two weeks later, his girlfriend Sadie(Sheila Scullin) asks to stay with his father(Ken Byrnes) when she shows up with a broken arm and pregnant after her father(Ivan Dimitrov) kicks her out of the house.(She is not lying when she says she has dozens of sisters as the family car is a school bus.) Wanting to move on, Sadie is introduced to Stool(Rich Schreiber) at the local roller rink where she accidentally breaks his nose. "The Guatemalan Handshake" is an odd comedy with a sense of humor that is occasionally unkind towards its peculiarly named characters. Otherwise, it does tend to celebrate these outsiders' uniqueness. In the end, the movie is salvaged by its offbeat charm.

Walter M.
Walter M.

Super Reviewer


Although it tries hard to be strange, it certainly is. Reminded me of Gummo, but slightly less white trash, and the with the cast of Vernon, Florida. Fun characters and pace.

Curtis Lilly
Curtis Lilly

Super Reviewer

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