Front Row at the Movies
“Land Ho!” Offers
A Trip to Iceland
Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades
My friends George and John have a boat christened Grumpy Old Men. I’m not making any assertions about their personalities -- they named it!
That would have been an apt title for the new movie that’s currently playing at the Tropic Cinema, a story about two men taking a late-in-life journey that helps them come to terms with all that’s gone before.
Yes, “Land Ho!” is a bromance. And not since Walter Matthau and Jack Lemon starred in “Grumpy Old Men” and “Grumpier Old Men” have we seen a pair of older guys hang out together like this, quibbling, arguing, grousing about their sons, chatting, smoking pot, and having a grudgingly good time together.
Here, Colin and Mitch (Paul Eenhoorn and Earl Lynn Nelson) are former brothers-in-law who reunite to share an adventure. Lonely after his wife died, retired surgeon Mitch agrees to foot the bill for Colin to tag along with him to (of all places) Iceland.
“We shot a few pages, probably about 10-15 pages in Kentucky in May and we were in Iceland in October,” says Eenhoorn.
The scenery is great -- as the guys go from fording rivers in their SUV to splashing about geysers to traipsing across ice floes to exploring the moonless moors, to running around the beach in a 40 mile per hour sand storm.
The two old guys have great chemistry on screen together. Mitch and Colin are the polar opposites of each other, which creates the comedic tension.
“I don't think it would have worked with two loud-mouthed people,” agrees Nelson.
“Colin was a direct result of Earl Lynn’s character,” said Eenhoorn. “Colin became the quiet opposite.”
Paul Eenhoorn is 65. Earl Lynn Nelson is 72. But the actors don’t see this as a movie aimed at aging Baby Boomers. As Nelson says, “I believe that people are going to relate to our film and not just the elderly people because people in the 20s, 30s and 40s can lose their job, can get divorced or lose a loved one to death by accident or whatever and they still got to go on with life.”
He adds, “I don’t like to pigeonhole, ‘This is an old folks movie…’ This is for everybody. Life can be short. You don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow and you need to try to squeeze it for every little bit you got. Enjoy what life you have.”
That love-of-life attitude is why Nelson was tapped to star in this film by co-directors Martha Stephens and Aaron Katz. Turns out, Stephens is his cousin and he’s appeared in her movies before (“Passenger Pigeons” and “Pilgrim Song”).
“I know Martha and she knows me. And she knows I squeeze life for every nickel’s worth,” Nelson nods.
Eenhoorn got the role after the directors saw him in “This Is Martin Bonner.”
Aside from the grumpy old men angle, “Land Ho!” seems to be part of a new trend, guys traveling about, talking. Sort of like “My Dinner With Andre” on the go. Another upcoming talk-travel movie is “The Trip to Italy” with Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon.
My friends George and John sent me pictures of Grumpy Old Men plying through the Great Lakes. If they’d only filmed it, their adventures would be in keeping with this current cinematic zeitgeist -- grumpy, but with a heart.