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Festivale online magazine, November 1998
Homegrown movie review

Malcolm (John Lithgow) leaves his plush office with its wireless keyboard and hoard of taped journal entries, flying by helicopter to his marijuana plantation hidden in the forests outside San Francisco. His three 'farmers' (led by Billy Bob Thorton) enjoying their idyllic campsite complete with heavy wooden dining setting, go to meet him, only to watch him gunned down.

After a panicked flight with enough weed to cover their wages, it occurs to them that maybe their crop is still there. And so we have a sort of 'Drug Harvest Time at Bernie's'. The local community is filled with a down-home sheriff (Judge Rienhold) who sees marijuana as just another cash crop, but one that pays better, and an assortment of nature-loving, New Age hippies (including Kelly Lynch and Jamie Lee Curtis).

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It's all beadwork and natural wood and houses with floor-to-ceiling views of the unspoiled (except for the introduced weed) forest, and batik and navajo rugs, and smoke-doped dropouts who have turned a home industry into a million-dollar venture.

All this love and natural fibres and clean living is muddied by the American dream of capital wealth and rule-by-gunplay. It's an idyll punctured by bullets from growers and rippers and cops, and who shot Mal anyway?

This is a well-made film. It is beautifully photographed, the costumes and art direction are well-nigh perfect, and the story rolls along at good pace, well-characterised and internally consistent.

The problem with this film for some people is the subject matter. Does it ennoble the growing of mind-breaking drugs? Does it make law and order objects of fun and derision? Practically the only unlikeable character in the film is a cop. However, if the film is true to its subject, this is a remarkable and easy-to-watch window on one part of USAmerican society. I'll go an see it again, especially for the scenery.

Click here to buy films from one of the online stores in Festivale's on-line shopping mall Due for Australian release November 26, 1998

Ali Kayn

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Title: Home Grown (1998)
Written by: Story by Jonah Rashin & Stephen Gyllenhaal, screenplay by Nicholas hazan & Stephen Gyllenhaal
Directed by: Stephen Gyllenhaal
Produced by: Jason Clark, Tom Rosenberg, Siguajon Sighvatsson, Ten Tannebaum, Naomi Foner
Edited by: Michael Jablow
Director of Photography: Greg Gardiner

The Players: Billy Bob Thornton, Kelly Lynch, Jon Bon Jovi, John Lithgow, Jamie Lee Curtis
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Festivale Online Magazine
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ISSN 1328-8008
Published in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
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: Published in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia : copyright © Festivale 1998 All rights reserved
Filed: Jun-1998 : Last updated: 3-Nov-1998 : Last tested: 3-Jul-2014: Last Compiled: 3-Jul-2014
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