Monday, August 18, 2014

"Land Ho!" - The Mom's Movie Review

A year ago this week Aaron called to tell me he would be flying to Iceland in September to film a new movie. "Iceland?!?" I thought to myself with concern. Lots could go wrong in a place so remote, but in an effort not to question or meddle I just said, "Wow, that's great honey. I hope things go well in Iceland."

Aaron, Martha, and Earl Lynn who plays Mitch on a cold day in Iceland.

The filming over about 18 days went well and everyone returned safely in October. Aaron with his co-director Martha Stephens at his side, set to work in LA editing hundreds of hours of takes on one end of his dining room table while the music composer worked on the other. They met the Sundance deadline in November with a rough cut and were accepted for the festival scheduled for January 2014. According to the reviews, the film was a breakout hit with the Sundance crowds. Sony Pictures Classics snapped it up in a late night, middle of the festival negotiation. Voila - "Land Ho!" was destined for release in July 2014.

New York and LA got first dibs. Portland had to wait until August. Last Friday night the film opened here at Cinema 21 to a sold out crowd. Who would have known that a gentle soul like Aaron could make it in the competitive world of independent film. I'm so proud of my boy. Not just because his work has been recognized. My pride comes from knowing that he has stayed true to himself along the way. A shout out here for Aaron's wife Elizabeth who plays Janet in the film. She is just as charming in real life.

"Land Ho!" is a sweet, funny story about two older retired men (ex-brothers-in-law) at loose ends who want to "get their grove back" and reconnect with each other on a trip to Iceland. The two main characters are real and relatable. Mitch the loud, potty mouth Kentuckian might be difficult for some to appreciate, but he mellows over the course of the film. Colin, the Australian, starts out cool and closed down then warms as the journey progresses. Each encounter with fellow tourists and dynamic scenery adds a subtle dimension to the characters. As they move from the loud bars, trendy restaurants and galleries of Reykjavik into more and more remote areas of the island the other worldly place and banter between the two works subtle magic on both of them.

As you can see by the reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, this movie isn't for everyone, but the "mom" gives it two thumbs up. The theme song is still playing in my head (link to title track), the images of the lush Icelandic landscape scroll through my mind, and the characters continue to speak to me. What more would you want from a movie. Click HERE for a link to the website.

Monday, July 21, 2014

2nd Quilt - The Homestretch

I'm on the homestretch - the last three rows of twenty-four squares each and I'll be finished with the second quilt. It's been more than a year since the it was rolled onto the frame. Our son and daughter-in-law took less time to make a baby than I have to finish their wedding quilt. Maybe I'll make it before their second anniversary in November. Only 3,000 stitches to go.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Return to Locarno

Just announced - The European premiere of "Land Ho!" will be at the Locarno Film Festival in August. Here is a link to the announcement in "Variety."

What a setting - 8,000 seats in the open air Piazza Grande. WOW!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014


Several years ago before we moved from Bainbridge Island, black feathers appeared in my path too often to be a coincidence. I was going through some dark times at work with difficult decisions to make. I left my job, we moved away from the island, and the feathers stopped showing up.

Last week a friend wrote on her blog about finding feathers in her garden. This morning during my walk on Mt. Tabor a small brown striped feather with an orange spine left by a Norther Flicker caught my eye. On the way back home, seagull feathers blew across the walkway.

Feathers are thought to be symbols of a spiritual path and a sign of encouragement along the way. They could be a message to lighten up, to not take things too seriously, to look for joy.

I've been feathered at just the right moment.

Can't Get "Land Ho!" Out of My Head

I wrote about the title song for "Land Ho" written by Aaron's long time friend Keegan DeWit back in January when the movie came out at Sundance. I provided a link to a clip of the song online. Unfortunately in the fast moving world of the Internet, the linked article was deleted.

Happily this morning a new article about the song appeared on the site "HitFix." This time it is possible to hear the whole song. WARNING - this is one of those ditties that will play on a loop in your head. You can at least read the article by clicking HERE. Scroll to the bottom to hear the song. Enjoy!

Friday, July 11, 2014


Land Ho! launches today. Theaters in New York and Los Angeles have already started to screen the movie for audiences. Will it be a hit at the box office? Will "Boyhood" the other indie release this weekend, outshine the low budget film made by a small group of hardworking under paid film makers? My fingers are crossed.

I'm overwhelmed by the quantity of articles, interviews, and reviews zooming across the Internet. More than 50 "Tweets" in the last hour. One reviewer says the movie is "A balm for the harried soul." I could use that "balm" right now, but Land Ho! doesn't open here until August 15th :(

At trip to the news stand this afternoon netted the Friday, July 11th New York Times. There's no substitute for the feel of real newsprint in my hand and the pleasure of opening the arts and entertainment section to a half page ad for the movie followed by a half page review. I read the complimentary words on the page and know this is no longer just a dream for my film obsessed son. Real newsprint, real words, real achievement.

If you want to be overwhelmed, visit Land Ho! on Facebook for links to dozens of online articles including the New York Times, NPR, and the Los Angeles Times. The movie is even AARP approved.

Saturday, July 5, 2014


Less than a week until release of Aaron's movie "Land Ho!" in New York and Los Angeles. The Internet is starting to buzz. Interviews, clips, twitter messages, and Facebook activity keep me in touch with the excitement.

There is an great article and video clip on the New York Times website. Check it out HERE.

10 - 9 - 8 - 7 - 6 - 5 - 4 - 3 - 2 - 1 - lift off to Iceland :)