Kid Cannabis (2014)

Director: John Stockwell

Writer: John Stockwell (Screenplay)

Starring: Jonathan Daniel Brown, Kenny Wormald, Aaron Yoo, Ron Perlman, John C McGinley, Corey Large, Bryce Hodgson

 

Plot: An eighteen year old high school drop out and his twenty-seven year old friend start trafficking marijuana across the border of Canada in order to make money and their lives are changed forever.


Tagline – Everyone wants to be a kingpin.

Runtime: 1 Hour 50 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Entertaining Story

 

Story: Kid Cannabis starts as we meet high school drop out Nate (Brown) who is telling the story of how he along with his partner Topher (Wormald) become involved in the drug trafficking business. We start at the beginning where Nate learns about the idea that trafficking the drugs across the Canadian border.

We follow Nate who works with Topher and crime boss Barry Lerner (Perlman) to start up the business and just how often the border patrol would pull him over to check whether he is smuggling anything illegal. This was just the beginning of what become a small empire created that changed their lives forever.

 

Thoughts on Kid Cannabis

 

Characters – Nate is a high school dropout working a dead-end job getting high in his free time. He learns about the idea of trafficking across the Canadian border, he uses his intelligence to plan an operation which will see him become an overnight sensation, he does start to get carried away with his new money which sees him needing to fight for his own dominance in the field. Topher is the older friend of Nate’s who can handle the transport with his enjoyment of the wilderness, he can lead the teams across the borders and keep the peace between Nate and the fellow runners. Barry Lerner is the local crime boss that Nate turns to for the investment to the idea, he gives the basic threats and the money rolling in which will keep him happy. John is the farmer in Canada making the product, the best the Americans can get their hands on.

PerformancesJonathan Daniel Brown in the leading role does make for good story teller, he doesn’t look like a drug smuggler which is why it is a more unique story. Kenny Wormald fills the lead runner role well, he makes us believe he is just as desperate as the rest. Ron Perlman and John C McGinley are both here just to have big names in the film, they are mostly just cameo like performances.

StoryThe story follows the high school dropout that built a drug business worth $68 million simply by trafficking the drugs across the Canadian border. This is based on the true story, which does show us through the eyes of the leader just how he pulled the operation off, while preaching about the laws on drugs within America. While it might be an interesting story, it is one we have seen before, it does promote breaking the law, which doesn’t seem like a good thing to be promoting, while relying heavily on the drug community to support the actions of these young men. We do also have too many pointless party scenes, which are clearly here just to put some boobs in the film and fill time.

Biopic/Comedy/CrimeThe does show the drug trafficking side of the people involved in the story, shows how their lives changed with an idea however illegal it turned out to be. It does use the comedy to make light of the situation which is fine because this doesn’t ever feel like it needs to be serious, while the crimes being committed show just how the people involved didn’t care about the punishment they could face.

SettingsThe film is set between the borders of America and Canada, it shows the different life styles that Nate would have had between his time making the money and the environment taken to do the drug smuggling.


Scene of the Movie –
The travelling.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The pointless party scenes.

Final ThoughtsThis is an interest look at the true story, it shows how the operation came about, how quickly it gathered steam and how the lives of the people involved were changed forever.

 

Overall: Interesting true story.

Rating

 

 

Love & Mercy (2014)

Director: Bill Pohlad

Writer: Oren Moverman, Michael A Lerner (Screenplay) Brian Wilson (Based on the life of)

Starring: Paul Dano, John Cusack, Elizabeth Banks, Paul Giamatti, Jake Abel, Kenny Wormald, Brett Davern

 

Plot: In the 1960s, Beach Boys leader Brian Wilson struggles with emerging psychosis as he attempts to craft his avant-garde pop masterpiece. In the 1980s, he is a broken, confused man under the 24-hour watch of shady therapist Dr. Eugene Landy.


Tagline – The Life, Love and Genius of Brian Wilson 

Runtime: 2 Hours 1 Minute

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Wonderful Look at a Great Musician

 

Story: Love & Mercy starts by taking us to two different stages of Brian Wilson’s life, first the 60’s (played by Dano) as he starts to isolate himself from the band as he works on the latest album for the band, one that gives them a different sound to what the Beach Boys were known for.

The second time is in the 80s where Brian has been struggling with his own health issues dealing with his psychosis, which makes him socially awkward at times, trying to start dating car saleswoman Melinda Ledbetter (Banks) with the watchful eye from therapist Dr Eugene Landy (Giamatti). We follow both the struggling times Brian goes through and how he deals with them.

 

Thoughts on Love & Mercy

 

Characters – Brian Wilson was one of the greatest musical minds of all time, following two different stages of his life in this film. The 60s version of Brian shows how the success has been making the band one of the biggest in the world, how he wanted to stop touring to work on the next album with a different tone to the music. In this time, we see how the drugs start to take over his life and his obsession with trying to find a new sound risks the success of the band and we see the early moments of his psychosis coming through. In the 80s version we meet a broken man, one that has been through the worst part of his life, but needing guidance and medication to get through the day. He is trying to have a relationship with his disease controlling what he goes through, we see the darkness take over at times. Melinda is a car saleswoman that meets the older Brian and the two strike it off as we see how she tries to get involved in the relationship while dealing with the Eugene figure. Dr Eugene Landy is controlling Brian’s life in the 80s, he has helped him turn his life around after the problems he faced in the 70s, his methods seem extreme and what he puts Brian through are exposed by the end of the film.

PerformancesThe performances here are brilliant throughout, Paul Dano as the younger Brian shows just how wonderful a performer he is, by using certain scenes for his singing skills. John Cusack is great in the older version of Brian showing us that given the right material he can shine. Elizabeth Banks is great in the supporting role looking just as confused and concerned to everything going on in Brian’s life. Paul Giamatti is great too and we know he can always hit the marks in this type of role.

StoryThe story here follows two moments of Brian Wilson’s life, the first is the one where he is trying to change the music and starts to get the first signs on his psychosis, the other is how easily he could become exploited by having someone try and control his life. The first part is a story we could believe happening to a wonderful musician, the second is a story that is hard to believe that someone would do that to someone. This story is set so the stories run side by side showing us how he can be fully functional at times, but how he can become distant and isolated at others. I know this is more about the personal battle Brian goes through, but I would have liked a little bit more on the history of the musical side of his career.

Biopic/MusicThe two moments, well years that we follow in Brian’s life include the 60s and 80s, they are part of the most interesting as it shows the biggest change Brian goes through and the biggest battle he must come up against. We do have moments of the singing, if you don’t know the Beach Boys songs you might struggle to understand what the biggest songs are.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to show us just which era we are going through, they show the lifestyles the characters would be going through without needing to throw in any main stream events.


Scene of the Movie –
Creating God Only Knows.

That Moment That Annoyed Me I would have liked to see how Brian ended up under the care of Eugene.

Final ThoughtsThis is a wonderful look at the musician Brian Wilson, follow two parts works too, instead of the full life moments. If you like the Beach Boys this is a must watch.

 

Overall: Beach Boys fans watch.

Rating