Our Towns, The HBO Documentary

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Photo by Don Dunbar

May 29, 2021

Opinion: Biden’s American Families Plan could rewrite American politics

The Washington Post’s David Ignatius referenced Our Towns highlight of the value of community colleges in his April 29, 2021 column reviewing President Joe Biden’s American Families Plan. “The value of community colleges in giving students technical skills for the jobs of the future was explained powerfully in “Our Towns”, the superb HBO documentary based on a book by journalists James and Deborah Fallows,” said Ignatius.

May 03, 2021

Filmmakers discuss state of the US in documentary ‘Our Towns’

James and Deborah Fallows join Hoda and Jenna to talk about their documentary of the month “Our Towns,” which looks at the resilience of communities across America.

April 30, 2021

Too many Americans are forgotten or misunderstood. ‘Our Towns’ tries to change that.

Nicholas D. Sawicki reviewed the HBO documentary for America The Jesuit Review. “Our Towns,” he says, “recalls the America that was, captures an America that is and foretells an America that is to come—a past, present and future constantly in tension and in conversation with one another in the daily lives of Americans throughout this land.”

April 26, 2021

Washington Journal

C-SPAN Washington Journal’s Steve Scully interviewed James and Deborah Fallows on their HBO Documentary Our Towns on his Monday, April 26, 2021 program.
See the broadcast here.

April 21, 2021

‘Street’ smarts, ‘Towns’ team, Down East dispatches

Boston Globe correspondent Peter Keough reviewed ‘Our Towns’ the HBO documentary in his April 21, 2021 column. He writes, “… the stories they tell are inspiring, hopeful, and appeal to the values and experiences of all Americans.”

April 16, 2021

HBO documentary ‘Our Towns’ visits 6 American cities and finds unity, not division

Washington Post movie critic Ann Hornaday writes, ‘In “Our Towns,” … hot-button conflict and internecine arguments are left behind in favor of an examination of how communities are actually functioning throughout the United States…”

She concludes, “As an exercise in sincerity, fellowship and earnest inquiry, it might be the most subversive movie in circulation right now.”

April 16, 2021

Review: “Our Towns” Brings Human Dimension to the Forces Shaping America’s Communities

The Daily Yonder’s Adam B. Giorgi reviewed ‘Our Towns,’ the HBO documentary on April 16, 2021. His recommendation concludes, “it might help you feel a new sense of curiosity or connection regarding distant places on the map, to see the folks who live there not as part of the problem, but as fellow members of a nationwide community, proud of where they come from and ever in pursuit of solutions.”

April 15, 2021

Our Towns, w/ Deb & James Fallows, Jeanne Jordan & Steven Ascher

James and Al welcome the minds behind HBO’s Our Towns to investigate how things are going on the ground around our country.

April 14, 2021

There’s optimism and can-do spirit outside Washington: ‘Our Towns’ documentary shows it

Albert Hunt’s April 14, 2021 review in The Hill begins, “America, viewed through the prism of Washington and national politics, is a bitterly polarized country.” But, he goes on, “There is a different America, one that Deb and Jim Fallows discovered in four years flying, in their small plane, around the country. It’s one imbued with a sense of community, an appreciation for the quality of life, a willingness to change and innovate, and to directly confront real problems.”

Describing the Fallowses as “national journalistic treasures,” the documentary, he concludes “makes you feel good about America.”

April 13, 2021

HBO’S ‘Our Towns’ Tells How Americans Save America

Moundsville Blog’s John W. Miller says quotes James Fallows in the ‘Our Towns’ documentary, “My view of American history is that the country’s always been in trouble. “Wherever we go, people have a certain kind of stubbornness. Even when things are dark, they’re imaging a better future.”

That’s not always true, of course — reality is complicated, some of our towns will die out — but it often is, and those bright lights, all those people working, deserve a big screen.

April 13, 2021

‘It was just so fascinating’: behind a film exploring America’s small towns

The Guardian’s Adrian Horton reviewed ‘Our Towns,’ the HBO documentary on April 13, 2021. ‘Our Towns’ showcases “how communities and individuals and the whole nation respond to crisis” – a theme as timely and, at best, revelatory and generative in 2021 as it was at the project’s outset, she concludes.

April 13, 2021

Stream It Or Skip It: ‘Our Towns’ on HBO Max, a Documentary About the Struggles and Successes of Smalltown America

Decider’s John Serba reviewed ‘Our Towns,’ the HBO documentary and recommends readers “stream it.” Describing the film as, “the a/v version of spousal journalism duo Deborah and James Fallows’ bestseller, Our Towns: A 100,000-Mile Journey into the Heart of America,” the ‘Our Take’ section reads, “THIS IS NOT A POLITICAL DOCUMENTARY. I emphasize this statement because you may be relieved to hear it.”  

April 13, 2021

‘Our Towns’ Filmmakers This West Virginia Morning

On this West Virginia Morning, we have a conversation with the filmmakers behind a new HBO documentary airing Tuesday night about life in small-town America with a stop in Charleston.

April 12, 2021

Featured on MSNBC’s Morning Joe

MSNBC Morning Joe’s Joe Scarborough interviewed James and Deborah Fallows about the release of their new HBO documentary ‘Our Towns’ live on his Monday, April 12, 2021 show. James spoke about the country as a vast source of tried and tested ideas and willing participants that can be shared. Said Scarborough, the Fallows are “my nominees for lives lived well.”

April 12, 2021

HBO’s Our Towns Documentary Examines American Struggle and Spirit

The Erie Reader’s contributing editor, Ben Speggen, reviewed ‘Our Towns,’ writing, “the documentary, filmed before the pandemic, acknowledges the looming, global crisis of the day without letting it strangle the stories.”

He concludes, “the ‘hey, we should try that in our town!’ is the story that America remains in the hands of Americans, an ever-evolving, ever-growing group of people with many, like those showcased here, working on its faults and celebrating its splendor.”

April 08, 2021

The Wall Street Journal Recommends ‘Our Towns’ the HBO Documentary

The Wall Street Journal’s John Anderson writes in his review of ‘Our Towns’ the HBO documentary, “The viewpoint is clear: What’s happening everywhere is, in fact, happening everywhere. Drug problems, space problems, housing problems, race problems. No one escapes these. But in smaller towns, things may be more manageable. And making life tangibly better seems more achievable, with a combination of resilience and community.”

Anderson concludes that although the presumption that the “real” America exists in the so-called heartland is not a new, the idea that the differences between the problems of major cities and smaller towns is really a question of scale, is.

March 31, 2021

‘Our Towns’ HBO Documentary Recommended by LifeSavvy

LifeSavvy’s Shea Simmons recommends Our Towns in her March 31, 2021 column. She concludes, “If you live in or come from a small town, or just enjoy documentaries on American life, you should definitely add Our Towns to your watch list.