Find Your Film 114: ‘Shepherd,’ ‘Happening,’ and ‘Hit The Road’

Co-host Bruce Purkey also reviews the Emma Stone headlined feature "Easy A."


It was a big week for us over at Find Your Film. Eric Holmes has created a Tee Spring merch page for our podcast, Bruce Purkey has been creating mini-reviews to add to the program, and I am trying to keep track of all the movies we have to cover!! For now, it’s Happening, Shepherd, and Hit The Road!!

Tom Hughes and dog in “Shepherd” (Saban Film)

Shepherd centers on a lonesome, Scottish widower named Eric (Tom Hughes) who is understandably grieving over his late wife. With a dog in tow, he lands a job as a Shepherd in a remote location. Fighting off us own delusions, Eric has nightmarish visions of his wife, mother (Greta Scacchi) and a mysterious figure who looks a lot like the Grim Reaper!

During our recording, I mentioned that it was an Irish film due to my ignorance. Shepherd was shot in Scotland and Wales. I also mentioned one of the co-stars previously starred in The Witch, and Bruce Purkey mentioned actress Kate Dickie as being a recognizable face. Little did we know that we were talking about the same person!

I gave the movie three stars and Bruce liked it a bit more (3.5). We both recommend the feature. Eric stated that it was his type of feature but for some reason it didn’t gel for him, and he gave it two stars.

Interestingly enough, he was the one who was praising and defending the movie more than Bruce and I!! Although he two-starred the flick, he actually recommend cinephiles give Shepherd a shot, admitting maybe he wasn’t in the right mood when he watched the film.

In his defense, I am questioning my own 3-star rating (which in our book is considered a “mild recommend”). Shepherd, directed and penned by Russell Owen, is a slow burn of a film which may hit a bit deeper upon a second watch. 

Shepherd hits theaters today! Find Your Film review begins at 7:19:

It feels like IFC Films has a movie coming out every week, and most of the time their releases are first rate. The good news is that Happening follows suit, as this 1960s French drama is, for lack of a better word, riveting.

Adapted from Annie Ernaux’s semi-autobigraphical novel, Happening centers on Anne (Anamaria Vartolomei), a student who is pregnant. Focused on her studies, Anne does not want to be a mother, and since this is 1963, her dreams of a continuing education may slip from her fingers. Even the threat of prison and being shunned by her friends does not discourage her path, and director/co-writer Audrey Diwan gives us an up close and personal view of Anne’s journey.

Anamaria Vartolomei as ‘Anne’ and Sandrine Bonnaire as ‘Gabrielle’ in Audrey Diwan’s HAPPENING. Credit: IFC Films

Buoyed by an arresting performance by Anamaria Vartolomei and skillful storytelling by Diwan, the feature won the Golden Lion at the 2021 Venice Film Festival. Both Eric and Bruce gave the feature five stars (I gave it 4.5). 

Happening is now playing in New York and Los Angeles and expands nationally May 13. Review begins at 33:33:

Speaking of five stars, Bruce and Eric gave the highest praise to Iranian writer/director Panah Panahi’s Hit The Road. This Iranian road trip story centers on a family who drive along a countryside to accomplish an unknown task.

Rayan Sarlak in “Hit The Road” (Kino Lorber)

Riding in the vehicle are the middle-aged parents (Pantea Panahiha, Hasan Jajuni), their elder son (Amin Simiar), six-year-old son (Rayan Sarlak), and their sickly dog. Aiding its subtle and often times comedic storyline are beautiful visual compositions from Panahi and cinematographer Amin Jafari. This beautifully shot feature is worth a trip to the theaters, especially if you want a resonant tale about family bonds and sacrifice. I gave the feature 4.5 stars on the podcast, but gosh darnit I am changing that to five stars!! Forget my rating on the pod, and in fact please just listen to what Bruce and Eric have to say and mute me at once!!

Hit The Road opens today in Los Angeles at the Laemmle Royal, Laemmle Town Center 5, Harkins’ Mountain Grove 16 (Redlands, Ca), and Harkins’ Cerritos 16 (Cerritos, Ca). Review begins at 20:44.

Earlier, I mentioned Bruce is doing mini reviews, and he recently did a review of the Donald Cammell directed Demon Seed (starring Julie Christie). He also did a new segment where he images the plot of the movie before watching it. So for the upcoming movie Cordelia, he guessed the story without reading anything about the movie. I will be posting that coverage on our new Find Your Film site very soon!

I briefly mentioned in the podcast intro about posting a ton of the movie content over at Find Your Film. There will still be movie coverage on Deepest Dream, but that gives me the chance to do more TV, music, and videogame stories on this here site. With Find Your Film, there will be much more film coverage from Bruce Purkey, Anderson Cowan, and Eric Holmes.

Speaking of Eric, he has created a merch page where you can purchase T-shirts, a pint glass, hoodie, and sticker (done by Bruce!). I wanted Eric to create a Find Your Film shopping cart and Bruce’s son Andrew requested an FYF shower curtain. Since all us podcasters live on pennies, we may have to increase our net worth before taking on larger items!

Check out our Merch store here:

Closing the show is our “What’s in the Box” segment, as Bruce watches movies that are recommended by our CinemAddicts Facebook Group members. This week’s pick Easy A, courtesy from Angie Clark. The feature, directed by Will Gluck, is headlined by Emma Stone.

The video version of our episode is below, and it features the trailers to Shepherd, Happening, and Hit The Road!

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