Saturday, December 6, 2008


If you have movies On Demand through your cable provider, you should check out "Humboldt County." I think it's been playing in small film festivals and independent movie theaters in random cities, and I could imagine it potentially feeling a little dull in a theater, but it's perfect for watching at home.

I felt ambivalent about "The Wackness" when we first saw it in a movie theater, but we recently watched that at home, as well, and I liked it so much more. I think when you go out to a movie, you expect a more structured, emotionally intense experience. But usually when I'm watching a movie in my living room, I crave something quiet and laid back...a thoughtful, interesting movie that won't stress me out too much. "The Wackness" was much better in that context, and I think "Humboldt County" has that same pleasant, relaxed vibe that I prefer when I'm lounging on the couch with Ed.

Based on the poster, I was expecting a stoner comedy, but "Humboldt County" is something different and more interesting. The main character, Peter Hadley, is a tense, awkward, emotionally repressed medical student at UCLA with an extremely demanding father who also happens to be his professor. When he tells Peter that he's going to have to fail him, Peter freaks out a little. He sleeps with a mysterious woman who brings him to her home in Humboldt County and then abandons him there. The first part of the movie feels a little forced, but I think most fish out of water stories tend to struggle a little in the beginning, while the mildly convoluted scenario is being set up. Anyway, the real story starts once Peter gets situated within a community of pot-farmers on the gorgeous "Lost Coast."

The story is a little bit thin, but the acting is great and the scenery is beautiful. If you're in the mood for a cozy movie night, you'll probably enjoy "Humboldt County." The tone and pacing are similar to "Garden State," but "Humboldt County" feels smarter, more original, more authentic, and less smug and overwrought, in my humble opinion.

No comments: