Random Movie of the Week: Rolling Kansas

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Stoner movies are really tough for people to judge because some find it tough to take them for what they are.  These movies really have evolved into their own sort of subgenre in the comedy world that some will embrace or find absolutely appalling.  Also when people think about stoner movies the main stream classics such as Dazed and Confused, Hal Baked, Pineapple Express, Harold and Kumar, Cheech and Chong and so much more come to mind.  Each one offering something different to the genre, but in my opinion the best ones are the films that are the lesser known indie films due to their lack of star power which brings me to this week’s random movie, Rolling Kansas.

Rolling Kansas’ plot synopsis is as follows:  The Brothers Murphy (James Roday, Sam Huntington, and Jay Paulson) are all struggling with their own personal demons and troubles most revolving around money.  So in an effort to improve their situation, the brothers set out on a journey with two of their closest friends to find the magical forest of marijuana thanks to a map left to them from the deceased parents, the Hippies Murphy.  But of course this movie would not be fun if obstacles or weird encounters did not occur along the way from Texas to Kansas and back.  Here is the trailer:

Being an independent film it goes without saying that the humor in this movie ranges from very dry to at times to laugh out loud hysterical.  I found the characters pretty well drawn out.  They explored a lot of depth about each of the brothers without spelling it out for viewers by having characters say what they thought and felt.  Viewers will see that calling this movie a stoner movie is not really far considering weed is not smoked often in this movie and is not vital to the background or development of the characters.  Plus the people the stumble upon are greatly played and provide a lot of awkward, stitch-inducing laughs especially the introduction of Rip Torn as the wise Oldman.

Rolling Kansas is the directorial and writing debut of Thomas Hayden Church who many would recognize from his acting credits.  It has the slap stick feel of Super Troopers without being too over the top.  But the humor would not be effective if it were not for the young actors executing the lines.  Let us start with James Roday as Dick Murphy who most of us would recognize from USA Network’s Pysch.  It was a different sort of role for Roday considering he had to play the older, more mature member of the group that is trying to cope with his failing business, depleting marriage, and personal finance issues.  Sam Huntington delivered his lines with perfect diction that only he could as Dinkadoo Murphy.  If you have seen this movie you know what I mean such as “Kevin, where did you get these tools, off the bottom of a fucking lake?”  My friends and I all buckled over laughing at that scene.  The other noteworthy performance is Rip Torn as Oldman, a kooky yet prudent drifter.

Overall, Rolling Kansas is easily a 9/10 in my book.  Being an indie film do not expect much production value.  The same song is played throughout the movie which I kind of liked but I could see where it would bother others.  If anything else, this movie will introduce you to new nicknames for weed like “goofy boots.”

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