Rolling Kansas

Institute History

  • 2003 Sundance Film Festival


Abandon all preconception, dudes who enter here. What appears at first to be a stoner comedy reveals itself less "up in smoke" and excitingly more complex, largely stemming from the ensemble of fresh, nuance-driven performances that comically collide in one brief vision of a better world.

Of course there's also a yellow brick-weed road ahead as the heroes take a crazed journey to claim the magical forest of marijuana their parents left them a map for. This sharp ride is led by the JCPenney perfection of Dick Murphy, whose fatal flaw is perhaps only that he cares too much. Johnny Cashed drug-dealer brother Dave, brother Dink (so angry at being trapped in a wheelchair he can't control his temper), giant narcoleptic friend Hunter who carries the lad, and perma-grin friend Kevin round out the crew. The jive is contagious when Rip Torn as an aging hippie shaman, and Kevin Pollak as a bulldog DEA agent, suddenly appear.

Credit actor-turned-director Thomas Haden Church, who not only put it all together but ends up creating an ageless world of Super-8 saturation where big dreams, big fears, big friendship, and big sky all blend together perfectly without even one toke.

— Joseph Beyer

Screening Details

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