LAND HO – Review by Susan Granger

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C.S. Lewis once wrote: “You are never too old to set another goal or dream a new dream.” So when a pair of curious, 60-something ex-brothers-in-law set off on a road trip, they’re determined to reclaim their youthful exuberance and enthusiasm. Read on…

Married to two sisters, Mitch (Earl Lynn Nelson) and Colin (Paul Eenhoorn) were once close friends. But when Mitch and his wife divorced, they drifted apart. Then Colin’s wife died. So Mitch, a retired doctor, is determined to enhance what’s left of his life with another adventure – and he convinces reluctant Colin to accompany him on a wild, wintry exploration of Iceland. While garrulous Mitch gladly forks over the cost of first-class tickets, a posh hotel and extravagant restaurant dinners, introspective Colin prove to be a troubling travelling companion – until they take off in a huge Hummer and meet Nadine (Alice Olivia Clarke), who takes a fancy to Colin while she’s photographing – and swimming in – the hot springs at Landmannalaugar.

In this case, the backstory is almost as interesting as the narrative. Jovial Dr. Earl Lynn Nelson, who really was an ocular plastic surgeon in eastern Kentucky, became intrigued when his second cousin, independent filmmaker Martha Stephens (“Pilgrim Song”), came up with the buddy-comedy concept and teamed up with her University of North Carolina film school classmate Aaron Katz (“Cold Weather”). Working as co-writers/directors, they recruited Australian-born actor Paul Eenhoorn, along with cinematographer Andrew Reed, and took off for scenic Reykjavik and its primordial environs. While the sensitive plot points were scripted, many of the scenes are improvised – like the candid dialogue when they’re viewing explicitly sexual paintings in an art gallery as the artist stands nearby or impatiently waiting for a landmark geyser to blow. Their collaborative effort became a hit at the Sundance, Tribeca and Los Angeles Film Festivals and was picked up by Sony Pictures Classics.

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Land Ho!” is a resonant 6, serving as both a charming comical confection and an enticing Icelandic travelogue.!

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Phi Beta Kappa, with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.