Every other Friday is game night at my friend Matt’s house. Sometimes, if we don’t have enough people over to play, we’ll sit around his basement (the “Subterranean Fun Pit”) and shoot the bull, and watch movies on his home theater. Most of the time, we watch films that just are not up my alley, like The Apple or, well, something else that I have blocked out from my memory. Sometimes, though, he shows us something that’s pretty dang cool, that’s very enjoyable, and that I want to see again. This past weekend, he showed us one of his favorite films, one that was shot in his homeland of New Zealand. It’s the story of a chubby young man who befriends a cranky old man, and they go on an adventure in the wilderness with their dogs. No, it wasn’t Up, it was Hunt for the Wilderpeople.
Based on the Barry Crump book, Wild Pork and Watercress, Hunt for the Wilderpeople tells the story of a rebellious young Ricky (Julian Dennison), who has been passed around the foster system until he finds a home with a foster “Aunt” Bella (Rima Te Wiata) and her husband Hec (Sam Neill). After a tragedy, and a misunderstanding, Ricky and Hec start living in the forest with their dogs Zag and Tupac, evading the police, the military, hunters, and Child Protective Services, who are trying to bring them in. It is a funny, touching story about a kid who thinks he’s a gangsta, living in the wilderness with an old man who’s used to taking care of himself out in the middle of nowhere, and how they handle these crazy situations they’re thrown into.
The movie was directed by Taika Waititi, whose work I’m not very familiar with. In fact, until it was brought up while watching the film, I was unaware he was the director of the Team Thor short films, or the upcoming Thor: Ragnarok. Yeah, I know, I have never watched Flight of the Conchords, and I am a horrible person for it. This doesn’t matter, but I am now a bit more excited to see Thor, because I’m really interested to see what he does with it. The cast was fun, with Sam Neill playing the part of crotchety old Hec very well, as Julian Dennison was fun to watch as a young punk who has it in his head that they are going to go out in a blaze of glory. Rachel House also stood out as the borderline-psychotic CPS agent, Paula, who will stop at nothing to bring the pair in, and get Ricky placed in a proper home.
As I said, I found the movie to be pretty entertaining. It had comedic moments, and it had moments where I looked over at Matt and yelled, “I thought this was a COMEDY!”It had fine acting, it had wonderful scenery, and it had a character named “Psycho Sam” played by Rhys Darby. All in all, it was a fantastic film, and I definitely recommend it.
Hunt for the Wilderpeople has a run time of 101 minutes, and is rated PG-13 for thematic elements including violent content, and for some language. It is available on Amazon as streaming, DVD, or on Blu Ray, all accessible via this Affiliate Link. If you get the time, I strongly recommend you check it out, and a huge hat tip to my buddy Matt for turning me on to this!
Before I sign out, yes, Grant is still with us! He’s just wrapping up the spring term at IUPUI, and he’ll be back in the next couple of weeks!
I’ll see you tomorrow, on Tuesday Tidbits!