GO FURTHER (director: Ron Mann; screenwriter: Solomon Vesta; cinematographers: Ron Mann/Robert Fresco; editor: Robert Kennedy; music: Guido Luciani; cast: Woody Harrelson, Bob Weir, Ken Kesey, Steve Clark, Dave Matthews; Runtime: 78; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Dan Victor/Ron Mann; Home Vision Entertainment; 2003)
“Joyful counter-culture activist film.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Ron Mann (“Grass”/”Comic Book Confidential”/”Twist”) directs this joyful counter-culture activist film that has actor/activist Woody Harrelson and his band of “eco-activists” take a 1300 mile road trip from Seattle to Santa Barbara, down the Pacific coastline in 2001, on a high-tech bio-fueled bus (run by hempseed oil). The aim is to promote organic living as a sensible alternative to the present chemically engineered foods sweeping the nation that’s led by the agribusiness (such as Tyson, Monsanto, Smithfield–the multicorporation bottom-line gigantic monsters that control what the farmer grows and almost everything you eat).
The good-hearted and idealistic actor speaks at several college campuses, visits some organic farms, and a lumber yard that practices needlessly clear-cutting the landscape. Woody is determined to change the hearts and minds of the public, which is the reason for the bus tour. Every convert to living a more environmental aware life is viewed as a victory and gives him hope that change is coming. The political activist bus ride is a throwback to the idealistic one the Merry Pranksters did with author/activist Ken Kesey in 1965 in their psychedelic bus named “Further.” The documentary includes a visit to Kesey’s Pleasant Hills farm in Oregon. Kesey died later that year.
Woody’s bus has on its side rainbows, unicorns and “the white roots of peace.” Some of the activists tag along by bike. What they all seem to be promoting is a raw-food vegan diet, which I hate to bust their bubble but it might not suit everyone.
For comic relief, an obnoxious loudmouth 30-year-old Los Angeles production assistant named Steve Clark converts from a junk food-addict and chain-smoker to a raging loony against the injection of hormones in the food supply, as all it took was a hug from Woody, a sweet avocado chocolate mousse pie, hemp burger and an apple shake. If that’s all it takes to make the planet better, then there is indeed hope.
Though this might not be the deepest agitprop film on sustainable organic living, it was nevertheless a fun film that in a friendly manner laid enough healthy eating info on us plus such counter-culture things as solar energy, bio-fuels and yoga. But it seemed to be preaching to the choir, and I doubt if it will be viewed as much more than an entertaining love letter to the counter-culture.
REVIEWED ON 9/29/2009 GRADE: B
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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