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Hunting Movies - Escanaba in da Moonlight Review
A Funny Hunting Film - Really?
You might ask who on earth could make a hunting film as a comedy and succeed.
The answer would be veteran Hollywood star and Michigan native Jeff Daniels. He co-wrote, directed and starred in the farcical Escanaba in da Moonlight—a hilarious take on a hunter's life in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
The Buckless Yooper
Daniels portrays the unlucky hunter Reuben Soady, aka The Buckless Yooper. (For those not in the know, a yooper is a term for people from the UP). Reuben comes from a long line of hunters. But at the age of 43, he is about to become the oldest Soady to never bag a buck if his luck doesn't change.
On the annual hunting trip with his father and brother, Reuben's luck changes in a big way, and the film takes a metaphysical twist into the realm of legends, possession, ghosts and the power of love. The cast of quirky characters includes a DNR officer who thinks he sees god and Jimmer Negamanee from Menominee who is apparently a regular guest on spaceships.
"If you're looking for heaven, it's north of the bridge." ~ Albert Soady
Albert Soady, Reuben's father portrayed by Harve Presnell, just oozes his own brand of Yooperisms handed down to him from great-grandpa Alphonse Soady, the clan's revered patriarch. Some of these gems include (accent and all):
- "Anyting free is worth saving up fer."
- "All good tings come to those who shoot straight."
- "If you don't know where to start, go back to da beginnin'."
- "Bring your gun up, put your finger on the trigger, take a deep breath to steady your nerves and shoot dat buck."
- "For dose dat don't know much about the Superior State, dere's a couple of tings that need to be explained. First ting is, in da U.P., we don't explain tings. Second ting is, we got some of the best huntin' and fishin' in da whole world."
- "Your mother had the tongue of a trout." I won't spoil it for you and tell you the context of that one. You'll just have to watch the movie.
A View from Escanaba
A Certain Type of Humor
There has been a joke going around Michigan since this film came out that Escanaba in da Moonlight isn't funny - it's a documentary. If you don't get that joke, you might not get the film. In fact the humor won't be to everyone's taste. It's definitely what you would call low-brow, boy humor (or grown men in deer camp humor for that matter).
I'm not from the UP but was lucky enough to be able to visit quite often as a youngster when my grandmother lived there, so I get it and appreciate it and still laugh hysterically when I see this film. It's meant to be a light-hearted if not exaggerated look at the culture of the Upper Peninsula and one man's journey to self-respect. I highly recommend it for those who love movies with an offbeat yet endearing cast of characters.
Curious about some of the other actors and Daniels' other projects? Check out these links.
Scenes from the film
- Kimberly Guerrero
Learn more about Kimberly Guerrero's career at her IMDB page.
- Harve Presnell
Find out about the career of actor Harve Presnell who played Albert Soady.
- Joey Albright
Learn more about this Michigan actor who played Daniels brother in the film.
- Purple Rose Theatre
The Purple Rose Theatre was founded by Jeff Daniels and is located in Chelsea, Michigan.
Jeff Daniels' son Lucas was in the film. He portrayed the annoying kid on the school bus yelling "Buckless Yooper" at Reuben.
What do you think?
Did you like Escanaba in da Moonlight
"It's like Christmas with guns!" ~ Remnar Soady
As mentioned in the film, pasties are a UP tradition, and us trolls (people who live below the Mackinac Bridge) love them too. Find out more about how this treat came to our area. There are also links to recipes and places to order them premade.
Pasty Recipe Instruction
- BuckFax.com | BuckFax is the official Website of Commemorative Bucks of Michigan
BuckFax is the official Website of Commemorative Bucks of Michigan
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© 2008 PatriciaJoy