The 2008 Independent Film: Humboldt County



This was the official website for the 2008 independent film, Humboldt County where a disillusioned medical student is stranded for a summer in a remote community of counterculture pot farmers. Iy is the last place in the world he imagined he would discover himself.
Content is from the site's 2008archived pages as well as from other outside sources.

 



Humboldt County (2008) Official Trailer

An ambitious and straight-laced young man falls in with a group of stoners and aging hippies in this independent comedy drama. Peter Hadley (Jeremy Strong) is a medical student in his early twenties whose dreams of a residency at a prestigious teaching hospital are dashed when he flunks out of a class taught by his father (Peter Bogdanovich). Trying to blot out his awful day, Peter heads to a jazz club, where he ends up going home with Bogart (Fairuza Balk), the sexy singer with the band.

The next day, Peter tags along with Bogart as she pays a visit to her family, and is soon stranded with her aunt and uncle as she heads back into the city. Jack (Brad Dourif) and Rosie (Frances Conroy) are former academics-turned-bohemian dropouts who live in a remote and idyllic community near California's redwood forests, where they support themselves by growing marijuana.

Also living with Jack and Rosie are Max (Chris Messina), Bogart's sometime boyfriend, and Charity (Madison Davenport), Max's young daughter. While Peter clearly doesn't fit in with Jack, Rosie, and their friends at first, before long he develops an appreciation and respect for their way of life as he ponders his future, but the risks of their profession become equally clear to him, and Max is looking for a big score so he and Charity can move on.

Humboldt County

The directing team of Darren Grodsky and Danny Jacobs on set.

Humboldt Country was the first feature film from the writing and directing team of Darren Grodsky and Danny Jacobs.

Rating: R (for drug content and language throughout)
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Directed By: Danny Jacobs, Darren Grodsky
Written By: Danny Jacobs, Darren Grodsky
In Theaters: Sep 26, 2008  Wide
On Disc/Streaming: Jan 13, 2009
Runtime: 96 minutes

 

TomatoMeter
CRITICS 60% | AUDIENCE 59%

CRITICS REVIEWS

 

User Review IMBd

********** Crafted Cinematography and Character Development

 28 September 2008 | by spammatt-1 
This was a surprisingly good movie - You should see it on a big screen. The filmmakers revealed as many shades of people as the landscape revealed shades of green. It is a slow- form character development movie about the transition of a man who is initially stuck in his own head. Not moralistic, not a stoner film, not what I expected. It carefully uses a unique place to interrupt your expectations about how characters should develop. This is one of those independent films which the power-house actors signed onto for the story and experience.

Although it relies on a few caricatures of Humboldt, it is carefully constructed and respectful. There are some amazing illustrations of the balance between wasting time and doing nothing vs connectedness and community. It is respectful of values that matter, while not cleaning up the messy parts. The cinematography is well done - a large part of living on the north coast is the incredible darkness. The houses with windows that are dark at night. It is definitely an element of the landscape which helps tell the story.

I wasn't expecting to write a review, but it would be a good use of your time to watch this movie. It is very much about waking up. Well done.

 

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Humboldt County

Humboldt County

2008, R, 97 min. Directed by Darren Grodsky, Danny Jacobs. Starring Jeremy Strong, Fairuza Balk, Peter Bogdanovich, Frances Conroy, Chris Messina, Brad Dourif, Madison Davenport.

Sep 26, 2008 | Rating: 3.5/5
Marc Savlov Austin Chronicle
Humboldt County's doleful charm -- verdant, lovely, ominous, final -- leaves little room for idealistic dreams or even the promise of romantic redemption.

In a perfect world, childhood friends and Humboldt County co-directors/writers Grodsky and Jacobs would be at the forefront of a cinematic revolution that would blast wide the doors of onscreen unself-consciousness and herald the return of some seriously deep, green, sticky-sweet American introspective filmmaking. Alas, the world is ever more imperfect, and of late we've seen everything from Zach Braff's smart heartache Garden State to the Duplass Brothers' paranoiac love song Baghead attempt to define what it means to be young and free in a world that seems, day by day, moment by moment, increasingly old and shackled and utterly, irreversibly mad. Certainly no one has graduated to within striking distance of Mike Nichols and Elaine May, much less Hal Ashby or even Roger Corman's countercultural biker broadsides.

But the green, unassuming beauty of Humboldt County comes seditiously close and manages it with less histrionics, fewer obvious plot twists, and more sublime, generation-spanning performances than most anything outside of the real Humboldt County, Calif. (America's No. 1 producer of marijuana, medical and otherwise, should you wonder). Strong plays an emotionally gut-shot med-school washout who is cast adrift, aloft, and ultimately alive by an extended, cannabis-farming family led by genre stalwart Dourif and Six Feet Under's Conroy. His screen debut is one of the most genuinely affecting twenty something touchstones since Benjamin Braddock went off the deep end. High praise indeed, but he's buoyed by a terrific ensemble cast (Bogdanovich surprises; Balk, as ever, entices), and his slow-burn turn makes a devastating case for the path least expected. His Hippocratic character, shorn of scalpel and in desperate need of a lifeline, recalls Bud Cort's moribund Harold in Harold and Maude. They're both maudlin, dire, and borderline necktie parties, and they both represent their respective decades.

But Humboldt County's doleful charm – verdant, lovely, ominous, final – leaves little room for idealistic dreams or even the promise of romantic redemption. People, places, and things are broken here, and a pall hangs over every stoned smile. It's like the Sixties never happened, or maybe happened too much. (Humboldt County had its world premiere at the 2008 South by Southwest Film Festival.)

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Sep 26, 2008 | Rating: 2/4
Walter V. Addiego  San Francisco Chronicle Top Critic
Humboldt County has an impressive cast and captures some of that era's fuzzy rebelliousness and humanism, but taken on its own the picture is finally thin stuff.
Comedy-drama. Written and directed by Darren Grodsky and Danny Jacobs. With Jeremy Strong, Fairuza Balk, Peter Bogdanovich, Brad Dourif and Frances Conroy.
 (Rated R. 96 minutes. At the Lumiere in San Francisco and the Shattuck Cinemas in Berkeley.)

The makers of this comedy-drama set in Northern California's off-the-grid pot-growing paradise have said they are trying to revive the spirit of the '70s American film renaissance that gave us the likes of "Five Easy Pieces" and "The Graduate." "Humboldt County" has an impressive cast and captures some of that era's fuzzy rebelliousness and humanism, but taken on its own the picture is finally thin stuff.

Peter (Jeremy Strong), a troubled UCLA medical student with a cold fish of a dad (Peter Bogdanovich), beds a wild-child nightclub singer (Fairuza Balk) named Bogart, and is more or less kidnapped by her and driven up north to her family's marijuana farm.

Humboldt County - the "Lost Coast" - is where the hippies of the late '60s made their last stand, and straitlaced Peter is startled by Bogart's dope-loving kin: Scraggly-haired Jack (Brad Dourif), a former UCLA physics professor; his Earth-mother wife, Rosie (Frances Conroy); and their son Max (Chris Messina), who's spent too much time dodging Drug Enforcement Administration officers. Also on hand is Max's free-spirited daughter, Charity (Madison Davenport).

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Nov 20, 2008 | Rating: 3/4
Maureen M. Hart Chicago Tribune  Top Critic
Be prepared: Humboldt County is a slow starter. But what appears to be the cliched uptight nerd liberated by flighty sprite tale evolves into something deeper, darker, more resonant.

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Oct 18, 2008
Joe Leydon Variety Top Critic
An amiably paced, character-driven comedy-drama about a disenchanted student who finds himself among the unreconstructed hippies and second-generation fringe dwellers who farm marijuana in the Lost Coast region of Northern California.

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Oct 18, 2008 | Rating: 1/4
Kyle Smith New York Post Top Critic
Possibly it might be of some interest with the right amount of buzz, but then so is a passing cloud.

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Sep 26, 2008 | Rating: 2.5/4
Mark Rahner  Seattle Times Top Critic
A relaxed, sweetly amusing little indie effort that'll make you want to hang out with its inhabitants, except with better snack food than they have.

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Oct 8, 2008
Doris Toumarkine  Film Journal International

Dud drama about a med-school failure from L.A. who finds himself amidst pot-growing hippies in a remote corner of the eponymous "Lost Coast" county

 

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AUDIENCE REVIEWS

** Jason M
Nov 15, 2009
Was not very good even super high!

+++++

**** Lyric B
Sep 30, 2009
This was actually a very good movie.

+++++

*** ½ Eric P
Sep 19, 2009
This movie was really good, I'm giving it a 7, great cast, the actors were really entertaining and it was really funny.

+++++

**** ½ Ken W
Sep 17, 2009
Emotional and touching. A wonderful tale of self discovery set in a place I have longed to visit, see, and experience for myself. The world needs more movies like this.

+++++

*** Noah L
Sep 13, 2009
You know those charming indie films where a guy is put out of his element right Ina crossroad of his life and then he has some downs but then learns something about himself by a bunch of outsiders? Yeah that's Humboldt County for you. It's entertaining and Brad Douriff is his usual amazing self so it's hard to dislike this movie. It just brought so little to the table that's it's basically a compentent movie you can watch on a Sunday morning, be entertained and then forget completely you ever saw it.

+++++

*** Adam R
Aug 09, 2009
Started off a little uneventful but by the end it turned into a quite good story. It is worth watching.

+++++

½ * Brian C
Jul 27, 2009
Wow this movie was bad! Jeremy Strong turned in one of the weakest performance I've ever seen by a leading actor. His performance was the least engaging and believable in a movie filled with roles and performances that totally missed the mark.

+++++

*** ½ James B
SUPER REVIEWER
Jul 15, 2009
A quirkly little film about self-discovery. Yeah there is a bunch of pot farming and smoking, and most of that is amusing. But the heart of the film is about making choices in life and not being afraid of the consequences. Beautifully shot in northern California.

+++++

*** ½ Felimon H
Jun 16, 2009
Great little movie with some heart..

+++++

**** Jason R
SUPER REVIEWER
May 19, 2009
This is a really great film, the simplicity of it all and the acting is so spot on and fantastic. Frances Conroy gives a really great performance opposite an equally great Brad Dourif. The story is simple and yet very complicated as well as we see the lives of a family of pot growing, free-spirited Californians enter in and out of a world of love, happiness, paranoid delusions and tragedy. I really recommend Humboldt County it is film making at it's finest and features acting of the highest caliber (no pun intended).

+++++

**** Steve S
Apr 12, 2009
this movie is definitely a sleeper. took a bit to get me interested, but i thought it was a very compelling dramedy. the character of peter, at the beginning of the film, is completely withdrawn and mousy, but by the end kind of comes out of his shell, and develops into the person he was destined to be. punctuated by fine performances by brad dourif, frances conroy and chris messina, this film is almost inspirational in it message that through the haze, we may be able to see our lives and impact on each other and the earth much more clearly. also check out the beautiful poster.

+++++

 

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** ½ Stephanie D
Apr 08, 2009
Nerdy resident intern learns his instructor-father is going to flunk him out of his residency, overwrought, he hitches a ride with a free spirit and ends up in a commune of pot growers. Some funny moments but not enough to recommend. C-

+++++

*** ½ Dnld S
Apr 05, 2009
This movie is one of those gems that you wondered why you never herard of it when it was released. Excellent cast. The ending was a little bit predictable but the performances from the cast make it an enjoyable film. Oh, the soundtrack is very too.

+++++

***** Rodrigo G
Apr 03, 2009
It's different from what I'm normally used and I loved it.

 

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