6.7/10
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Old Joy (2006)

Unrated | | Drama | 26 January 2007 (UK)
Two old pals reunite for a camping trip in Oregon's Cascade Mountains.

Director:

Kelly Reichardt

On Disc

at Amazon

5 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Daniel London ... Mark
Will Oldham ... Kurt
Tanya Smith Tanya Smith ... Tanya
Robin Rosenberg Robin Rosenberg ... Waitress
Keri Moran Keri Moran ... Lawnmower
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Autumn Campbell Autumn Campbell ... Diner Patron
Steve Doughton Steve Doughton ... Diner Patron
Lucy ... Herself
Matt McCormick Matt McCormick ... Weed Salesman
P.C. Peri P.C. Peri
Darren Prolsen Darren Prolsen ... Homeless Man
Jillian Wieseneck Jillian Wieseneck ... Diner Patron
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Storyline

Two old pals reunite for a camping trip in Oregon's Cascade Mountains.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

26 January 2007 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Antiga Alegria See more »

Filming Locations:

Oregon, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$300,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$3,310, 27 August 2006, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$255,352, 6 May 2007
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The third film written and directed by Kelly Reichardt. See more »

Goofs

The trail to Bagby is much more improved than the hike they went to the springs. You don't actually traverse any logs like they do. Friends of Bagby have made bridges over any areas that would be hard to cross like that. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Kurt: [on answering machine] Hey, it's Kurt. I'm calling you, I'm in town, and I'm just hoping you're around. I don't know if you're there or what. Pick it up, man. You will not regret it.
Mark: Hey, Kurt... So you're here?... Where you staying?... Yeah, thanks, the rumors are true... Nah, we didn't what to know... Oh yeah, whatcha got, lay it on me... Sure, I can be in to that... I could use some time in the woods, absolutely...
See more »

Crazy Credits

A disclaimer says that the Bagby Hot Springs does not allow nudity or the consumption of alcoholic beverages. See more »

Connections

References Jesus Christ Superstar (1973) See more »

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User Reviews

 
The Big Chill Out
15 January 2007 | by howard.schumannSee all my reviews

Two friends in their early thirties meet to renew their previous friendship on a camping trip in the gorgeous Cascade Mountains of Oregon. Kurt (Will Oldham) is a balding free spirit, while Mark (Daniel London) is a working man who is about to take on the responsibility of being a father. Both men seek to recreate the magic that once brought them together but their connection is now so tenuous and their worlds so divided that it seems as if there is no longer anything to hold onto, even memory.

Kelly Reichardt's superb Old Joy is a film of rare beauty unburdened by typical male-bonding clichés, more the "big chill out" than The Big Chill. While it is the story of male friendship, it is not about plot or even character but a film of mood and atmosphere that tells its story with gestures, expressions, and silences punctuated by the ambient sounds of nature. On their drive through pristine countryside to the music of Yo La Tengo, Mark listens to Air America talk radio bemoaning the state of the Democratic Party and talks about how his father decided to leave his mother when he turned seventy but nothing is said about what the two shared together in the past.

When Kurt fails to find the turnoff to the Bagby Hot Springs near Oregon's Mount Hood, the two (three if you include the dog) spend the night at an abandoned campsite, prompting Kurt to remark that "there are trees in the city, and garbage in the forest, so what is the difference?" At the campsite, Kurt relates his experiences of recent trips to Big Sur and Ashland which he calls "transcendent" and "life-changing" and about how he took a course in physics but knew more than the professor and volunteers his theory that the universe is enclosed in a tear that is falling and has been for millennia, but Mark seems to hardly notice.

He only perks up when he receives phone calls on his cell from his pregnant wife (Tanya Smith) who had only given grudging consent to the trip, sensing that the pot smoking Kurt was not a good influence. The next day they reach the springs and enjoy a moment of peace in the hot tub but it is interrupted by Kurt's telling Mark how much he misses him and how something is wrong with their relationship which Mark denies but the sense is that something has been lost forever.

Nothing really happens in Old Joy. There are almost no peak dramatic moments but almost every scene has subtle undertones of meaning. A sense of loss permeates the film, the loss perhaps of a time when people were connected and fighting for a cause meant human involvement rather than the distancing of today's radio talk shows or anonymous Internet message boards. When the aging hippie shares a Chinese proverb that "Sorrow is nothing but worn out joy", it feels as if the film becomes a metaphor for the joy that seems to be wearing out in an age approaching its zero point.


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