Go Further

Hemp activists are caught in the middle of an amusing tug-of-war.  Hemp is something that can easily be grown and used in a variety of products including paper and fuel.  It is a renewable source of energy, and therefore extremely attractive to anybody with a green streak in them.  Hemp is also pretty much the same thing as marijuana, which casts a shadow over what would otherwise be a good idea.  The ironic thing is that people cannot smoke the hemp grown for use in consumer goods.  It is not powerful enough to make anybody high.  Yet, the stigma of marijuana casts a shadow over this potentially useful product.  One of the purposes of Go Further was to demonstrate that hemp was a viable alternative to gasoline.  Woody Harrelson, Ron Mann, and a bunch of their friends decided to take a road trip down the western coast of the United States, promoting various environmentally friendly issues in a fun, publicity easy manner.

Harrelson (She Hate Me, Anger Management) is an outspoken advocate on many green issues.  Amusingly, he arrives at a lumber company, and they seem ready for some sort of attack.  He wants nothing of the sort, since it will not further his causes.  Harrelson and director Mann (Grass, Dream Tower), have painted their bus bright blue, and are bringing with them an environmental lawyer, a yoga instructor, and a raw food chef.  Along the way they (some biking) will lecture at colleges, espousing their various ideas.  There is one glaring problem in Go Further.  It looks and feels like somebody's vacation home video.  There many shots of the members having fun, laughing, or not doing much at all.  There is not much information to be gleaned in the way of what people can do to live better.

It may surprise many that Harrelson can be very eloquent and well spoken, especially after his stint as the dim-witted Woody on Cheers.  Mann provides few too clips of Harrelson speaking about the virtues of organic food, or the viability of hemp as an alternative to oil.  Mann spends too much time on superfluous material, and the main takeaway from this film is that milk consists of "blood and pus."  One of the trip members was Steve Clark, a friend of Harrelson's.  At the beginning of the trip, he was a self-proclaimed "junk-food addict," but over the course switched to a more natural, organic diet.  He felt better and said there was a change in his health, but unlike the definitive accounts in Super Size Me, everything here is anecdotal.  It was much more fun to watch Clark try to pick up on a student.

With the all of the various people on the bus, there is a wealth of information that never makes it to the screen.  Benefits of yoga and organic cooking go completely by the wayside.  The specialists are not interviewed, instead the viewer is treated to inane commentary by Clark.  There should be a lot more of Harrelson on screen, talking, and explaining his viewpoints.  Mann and Harrelson also enlisted the help of some great musicians for some very brief clips (it is wonderful hearing Billy Bragg and Wilco).  Natalie Merchant, Dave Matthews, Michael Franti of Spearhead, Bob Weir, and Anthony Keidis all stop by.  Although their songs may be relevant, nobody really says anything of substance here either.  The result is that newcomers to these ideas will walk away unconvinced, leaving the film to preach to the already converted.

Mongoose Rates It: Not That Good.
1 hour, 40 minutes, Not Rated but contains language and some drug use, a PG-13 or R.

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