Journey to Planet... HUH?
Quirky and kind. How's that for a recommend! Journey to Planet Sanity, produced by Wunderkind Pictures, written, directed and starring Blake Freeman, sets out to do something (and does it) many of us have wanted to do for years; bust charlatans. There is something downright distasteful to the point of being evil about pseudo psychics. And there is something just stupid about people who talk about alien invaders they have seen crawl through their husbands earlobe. No one said that in Journey to Planet Sanity. But people did lay down some pretty weird and disgusting stuff in the movie, all in the name of psychic guidance.
The idea for the movie was a timely happenstance. Blake Freeman who has done reality TV and docudramas was noodling a new movie idea, possibly having to do with art and the marketing/mythmaking surrounding it as a business, when he fell for the pizza delivery guy.
Blake, nice southern boy that he is, got to chit chatting with Leroy the 68 year old delivery guy excitedly proclaiming the good luck in Blake's $88.88 food delivery bill. According to numerology, and Leroy, those numbers were phenomenal. After chatting further, Leroy revealed he had a keen interest in Alien Invaders and spent much of his hard earned money on fortune tellers.
Intrigued beyond curiosity, Blake pays a call on Leroy at his home and catches him wearing his protective hat which he explains to Blake he wears so the Martians can't read his thoughts. He is a very sweet character, our Leroy is, and no one watching wants to call him crazy or write him off. Least of all Blake. He decides to make a movie instead.
It's a buddy movie. I'm thinking Jack Lemon and Walther Matthau go myth busting through the wild west, from LA to Vegas to the Grand Canyon and back again visiting healers, rain men and Martian translators at every port of call.
It is mesmerizing, the stuff we humans believe in. Seriously. There are people making lush livelihoods on the gullibility of others. Without giving anything away, and taking my word that I am open and embrace most beliefs and many metaphysical ideas, I have to say that the extremely good looking young brother dressed in yogi whites who reads one's future by studying a log of a person's poop while it floats in a bowl of water, couldn't fool me for a second. He was really great looking though, so I wondered if this guy thinks because he's so good looking that he can sell anyone their own shit and they'd buy it? I mean no one, NO ONE, could actually believe this, pardon me, crap.
This movie will make you LOL many times, shake your head and walk away smiling. It is a parade of characters that just keep coming, and the bond between Blake and Leroy is engaging and endearing.
Busting myths, pulling the rug out from under one, ripping the wig off the bashfully bald can be hard and painful to watch. Done in a mean spirited manner it can be both ugly and arrogantly judgmental. Journey to Planet Sanity takes a kinder, gentler approach in its debunking, so the audience sees it for the sham that it is. The beauty part of this movie is that it doesn't take away Leroy's beliefs and leave him broken with nothing to believe in. With Blake's help Leroy finds something new and tangible to believe in; himself. And we are left feeling good about the buddy system and enlightened, albeit saddened as well, about the vast and varied amount of quacks out there preying on the vulnerable.
Both quirky and kind the movie begs the question; Where is Planet Sanity anyway?
Production companies: Wunderkind Pictures, GoDigital
Cast: Blake Freeman, LeRoy Tessina
Director-writer: Blake Freeman
Executive producer: Michael Fancer
Producers: Danielle R. Crane, Alwyn Kushner, Tim O'Mara, Blake Freeman
Director of photography: Ryan Purvis
Editor: Paul Cain
Rated R, 87 minutes.