Movie Review: ‘Summerland’

Review by James Lindorf

It has been 45 days since IFC Films released its World War II drama “Summerland”. Superchill Films decided that it was far too long for the world to go without a new movie titled “Summerland”. Their Canadian indie film is an LGBTQ+ coming of age story directed by Lanykboy, a directing duo comprised of Noah Kentis and Kurtis David Harder (Spiral). “Summerland” will be available on VOD September 14th on iTunes, Vudu, Google Play, and Amazon.

“Summerland” is a fictional music festival that in the world of the film rivals Cochlea and Summerfest. Best friends Bray (Chris Ball), Oliver (Rory J. Saper), and Stacey (Maddie Phillips), are determined to make it from Spokane to the show in Utah, no matter what it takes. The road trip’s driving force is Bray and his plans to meet Shawn, a boy he met on an online Christian dating site. There is just one little problem; Bray has been Catfishing Shawn by pretending to be Stacey, who also happens to be Oliver’s girlfriend. Bray knows he could be getting himself into some serious trouble. Still, he believes that Shawn is questioning his sexuality and that their connection is special enough to make Shawn realize he isn’t straight.

“Summerland” is part stoner comedy with weed, ecstasy, shrooms, and who knows what else fueling their shenanigans. Stacey and Bray are along for the ride when it comes to the drugs, but Oliver, who prefers to spend more time inebriated than sober and pushes the pair to try more things. His drug use is often his main priority, which leads to many fights between him and Stacey. With everything there is to learn about the three main characters, one thing that you will be left guessing about is their ages. They look old enough to be in college, and they have no problem buying alcohol with no mention of a fake ID. You also don’t see many high school foreign exchange students violating their student visas by dropping out of school. However, when the guys go to pick up Stacey, she appears to be at a high school, and there is even a school bus that goes by. Luckily their ages don’t have much impact on the film’s plot. It isn’t critical to know if they can gamble, get into a nightclub legally, or rent a car because most of the movie takes place in an RV. The trio travels over 1,500 miles from Spokane to San Francisco to Vegas before finally making it to their destination. The RV serves as their temporary home but also a special place for them to bond.

Behind the drugs and jokes, “Summerland” has a lot of heart as it encourages you to embrace who you are. To find love for yourself before finding someone else to love. There isn’t a well-adjusted character to be seen, and they each of their unique hang-ups, which means that there is someone for everyone to connect with no matter what you may have going on in your own life.

Rating: NR
Genre: Comedy
Directed By: Kurtis David Harder, Noah Kentis
Written By: Chris Ball (IX) , Dylan Griffiths, Kurtis David Harder, Noah Kentis
Starring: Maddie Phillips (Teenage Bounty Hunters); Rory J. Saper (Find Me In Paris), Dylan Playfair (Letterkenny), Noah Grossman (Smosh) and Chris Ball (INCONTROL)
On Disc/Streaming: Sep 14, 2020
Studio: Superchill Films

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