Blu-Ray Review: ‘Land Ho!’ Is An Enriching Tale of Mismatched Friendship

 

Coming out as a Blu-ray Combo Pack and on Digital HD November 4, Land Ho! centers on ex-brothers-in-law Mitch and Colin (Earl Lynn Nelson, Paul Eenhoorn) who take a spontaneous (and ultimately rejuvenating) trip to Iceland.

Mitch is a rambunctious and bawdy surgeon who’s never lacking in conversation, while Colin is much more reserved. Though Mitch’s behavior occasionally borders on abrasive, he means well, as the Icelandic journey was his way of shaking Colin out of his emotional rut.

Filmmaker Martha Stephens and Earl Lynn Nelson are cousins, and the genesis for Land Ho! came from her desire to cast Nelson in a lead role (he previously worked with her on Passenger Pigeons and Pilgrim Song) and place him somewhere that was out of his element.

As for Eenhoorn, his performance in the 2013 film This Is Martin Bonner inspired co-director Aaron Katz to cast him as Colin.

Land Ho! (Sony Pictures Classics)
Earl Lynn Nelson – Land Ho! (Sony Pictures Classics)

Land Ho!, which features a wonderful 1980s inspired score for Keegan DeWitt and provides beautiful, breathtaking shots of Iceland, is an inspired, bawdy, and altogether resonant look at two buddies who are having the time of their lives. It’s one of this year’s most pleasant cinematic surprises, and it’s definitely worth a look if you love road trip type features.

Land Ho! Special Features:

1. Deleted Scenes (12:18)

  • “At The Club” is an extended nightclub sequence featuring Eenhorn, Nelson, and co-stars Elizabeth McKee and Karrie Krouse.
  • “Balls” contains several cuts of Earl Lynn Nelson walking into a hotel room and exclaiming “balls.” “
  • Ghost Job” has Colin recounting a sexual experience he had with a ghost (hence the scene’s moniker).
  • Alternate Intro – The original title sequence of the film, which was originally named Lay of the Land. 

2. Los Angeles Film Festival Q&A w/ Earl Lynn Nelson, Paul Eenhoorn, Martha Stephens, Aaron Katz, and Elizabeth McKee (13:27) – The filmmakers and actors talk about shooting in Iceland for a huge portion of the Q&A, but the most memorable part of the session had nothing to do with filmmaking.  Earl Lynn Nelson, who refreshingly doesn’t hold back his thoughts, told the audience that, even at 72, he’s still a vital man, humorously adding that his “stinger” is still working.

During the Q&A, Earl Lynn Nelson explained why Land Ho! contains a relatable theme:

“I don’t know why people are (pigeonholing) this as an old people’s movie when this is a movie for everybody. You’re taking your life and going on with it. Live every day, because guess what, tomorrow might never come. And that’s my philosophy, and that’s the way I am, and that’s the way I live.”

3. Commentary with Paul Eenhoorn, Earl Lynn Nelson, Martha Stephens, and Aaron Katz – One interesting tidbit from the commentary is learning that the film, though mainly shot with two Red One cameras, also featured sequences shot with a DSLR camera (Canon 5D).

Land Ho! - Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Land Ho! – Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

 

During my interview with Martha Stephens and Aaron Katz, the filmmakers talked about the universality of Land Ho!: 

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