Leaves of Grass
Scott Hardie: “It ruled.”
Edward Norton creates two very different characters, a philosophy professor and his pot-farmer brother, in this genre-bending indie movie. But the film's real appeal is its thoughtful consideration of bigger issues: Love, faith, humanity, language, identity, courage. Various characters debate these topics openly and intelligently, like an Oklahoman version of Waking Life with a subplot about homicidal drug dealers. Its surrender to the necessity of plot is a weakness, especially during the obligatory showdown in a dark warehouse that feels phony, but most of the movie is refreshing food for thought; these characters have more on their minds than just the mundane details of their day. I discovered after seeing it that writer/director/co-star Tim Blake Nelson studied classical philosophy and even discussed it in press interviews, which is pleasant but not really a surprise.