Title:  Great Lakes

Release Date:  2002

Nationality and Language: USA, English

Running time: 100 min

MPAA Rating: Not available (suggest PG-13)

Distributor and Production Company:  Friction

Director; Writer: James Byrne

Producer: Sara Klee

Cast: Jeff Gilson, Hedi Jo Langseth  

Technical: apparently MiniDV, widescreen

Relevance to HPPUB site:



This was previewed at the Oak Street Cinema in Minneapolis on 12/6/2002. The title is a bit of a pun, and (not totally to my surprise) the film plays as a manipulative comedy mixing “Fargo” with “Lake Wobegan” and “The Trouble with Harry.”  Langseth (her character just out of jail) and Gilson (his character a drifter) play an “everyman” couple on the run in a spoofy road movie filmed along the Minnesota North Shore, and Lake Superior.  She is trying to pick up her mother’s cremated ashes, to disperse them into Lake Superior, where as he just starts with a voyeuristic fixation on caskets. It goes from there. The shots of the Lake and of Duluth Harbor, among many others, give the film a big look. The screenwriting, though, is what is so interesting. The characters constantly come up with little one-liners, worded just off center to come up with a very original comic effect. Gilson (from Heterosapiens) looks like he could play a James Bond, but instead plays a rather barebones, sinewy yet humble character whose comedy delivery flows way underneath actors like Mike Myers, Adam Sandler, and Jim Carrey. (No, Gilson would never seek a “fatter role”; he looks biologically incapable of that—Oh, the lines about sexual competence kept coming back, as did the other one-liners as the one about unemployment eligibility [uttered as he grovels on the floor of the funeral parlor, almost underneath a casket], “does this count as an interview?”  Maybe the funeral parlor lists jobs with the Minnesota Workforce Center!)  Okay, maybe Gilson’s acting style reminds one of the male frat boy exhibitionism of an Owen Wilson (Behind Enemy Lines, Shanghai Knights). All of the characters are psychologically masculine (most of all the women), so there is some explanation for the lack of any real tension.  It’s all manipulation and entertainment, not teaching. Put Gilson and Langseth together on the stage of the Saloon (in Minneapolis) for some erotic dancing and strip-mining; heterosapiens are welcome there.


For more information (esp. about awards and film festival appearances) see





Related reviews:


Return to hppub movies

Return to hppub movies, books, plays strike page

Return to hppub home page


Email me at Jboushka@aol.com