6.8/10
6,513
64 user 101 critic

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
5 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

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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 ... Self
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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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film is part of the Criterion Collection, spine #1008. See more »

Goofs

Early in the film, they are on Hwy 30 near the St. Johns Bridge, driving in the direction of Astoria, which is AWAY from the hot springs they are going to. Then suddenly, inexplicably, they're in Colton, and heading towards the hot springs. 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...
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Crazy Credits

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

Connections

Referenced in At the Movies: Venice Film Festival 2013 (2013) See more »

User Reviews

 
Meticulous but slight American indie garners excessive praise
21 September 2006 | by Chris KnippSee all my reviews

In Kelly Reichart's Old Joy, two thirty-something males who live in the Pacific Northwest reunite for a day-and-a-half trip by car and on foot to a hot spring in Oregon's Cascade Mountains and discover some hours of peace and mutual solitude. It seems that the years have separated them. Once great friends, they haven't been in touch for a while. They aren't the same guys they were and perhaps haven't much in common any more. The stocky, balding, bearded, single Kurt (Will Oldham) is a semi-hippie living marginally who smokes a lot of grass. Mark (Daniel London) is thin and married and both he and his pregnant wife work hard at their jobs. But Reichart is too unemphatic, and her understated dialogue is too naturalistic, for this implied discovery of lost friendship to have any drama, or for the differences between the two men to have any clear point. This is good film-making, but it seems almost at cross purposes with itself.

The colors are rich, the camera is precise, the sounds are finely recorded. The trip is meticulously observed. Reichart sees her little piece of ivory through a magnifying glass. The way Mark and Kurt talk seems authentic and true. They don't present back-stories, because it wouldn't be natural for them to do so -- though Kurt acknowledges Mark's daring in having a child; he says he's never done anything so "real." Mark's wife, glimpsed before the trip and overheard in cell phone conversations, seems neurotic, insecure about this dip back into Mark's pre-marital world. She may understandably feel jealous of the way, when Kurt calls and suggests the trip, Mark comes hopping.

They take Mark's better car, an old Volvo station wagon, and Kurt's directions lead them astray so at night they have to camp by what looks a bit like a dump, not really knowing exactly where they are. There's nothing to give away here. The two guys make the trip. They make it with Lucy, Mark's dog, up to the hot spring the next afternoon. And the rustic shelter set up there for bathing is as Kurt had promised, simple and lovely. Kurt has said there's not much difference between city and country now but this peaceful place belies that notion, except that when they return, their parting is quick, and Kurt is soon out and about by himself in a sleazy part of town and Mark is heading home with an Air America political talk show tuned in again just as it was when he headed out to get Kurt.

The irony is that all this meticulous observation reveals very little. When it's over, we don't know much about who these two men are. We don't know how they knew each other when younger or for how long; We don't know what Mark's job is. And it is not clear that they find each other boring, because they haven't said a lot to each other. Mark has talked a little about his father, and Kurt has told a long story at the hot spring about shopping for a notebook and a dream he just had that provides the title. In his dream a woman told Kurt that "sorrow is nothing but worn-out joy." Is the joy of Mark and Kurt's old friendship worn out and turned to sorrow? NYTimes critic Manohla Dargis, who wrote this week that this is "one of the finest American films of the year," says that at their parting, "from the way Kurt looks at Mark, it seems clear he knows there won't be another reunion." Seems, perhaps; but it isn't really clear. And this is the weakness of Reichart's understated method: it's so subtle, and in its construction so minimal, it risks not really saying anything. Nature and the urban world speak clearly in Reichart's film, but there's a substratum of feeling and experience that finds no voice.

Shown at various film festivals, including San Francisco, and released in Portland, Oregon in August and New York City (Film Forum) in September 2006.


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

26 January 2007 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Old Joy 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

Gross USA:

$255,923

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$301,047
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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