Hippies (2006) – By Jordan Garren

 Every now and then I get some real gems in the mail and that overshadow all the sub-par films I receive for reviewing purposes. I’m happy to say that S. Michael Phillips’ Hippies is one such gem, and has to be the most professionally done independent film I’ve seen in quite some time. In Hippies, a group of, well… hippies, hop in their tie-dye hippie-mobile and head to "Preservation Week" in Eugene, Oregon. This motley crew of "save the Earth stoners" are made up of Yancey (the angry and "fearless" leader of the group), Moonbeam (a hippie wanna-bee that actually buys into all of Yancey’s ideals until things go horribly wrong on their trip), Cinder (an old stoner that wanders throughout the forests of Oregon in oversized underwear, searching for a tree he saved back in his young hippie years), and the dynamic duo of Roach and Tre (two of the biggest stoners in cinematic history).

After they arrive in Eugene, Oregon (and after Cinder wanders off), the group of well-meaning hippies soon come under multiple attacks by local cops, run afoul of a crazed fast food restaurant manager, get into arguments with SUV drivers, and get banned from Preservation Week, simply because they come from California. (Hippies from Texas and New Jersey are also unwelcome at this Oregon-based event. Hahaha!) To make matters worse, Yancey decides that he and his friends can outdo the well-organized and snooty Oregon hippies, leading to a series of hilarious misadventures. However, while the majority of the film is a comedy, the ending is a bit on the depressing side. Once everything officially goes to hell, Moonbeam calls her dad and secures a flight home, leaving Yancey and his two stoner buds trapped in Oregon with no money and no way to get home. We last see this miserable trio trying to hitchhike back to Berkeley, California before the credits roll.

But the movie isn’t really over just yet because bloopers and outtakes play during the credits. Plus, after the end credits finish scrolling up the screen, there’s one last scene in this film. Cinder discovers the tree he saved in his youth, heads toward it, and gives it a big hug, allowing his underwear to fall off completely, thus exposing his bare ass! Hahaha! Hippies is a surprisingly entertaining movie and is at times quite offbeat. Throughout the film there’s a miniature "south-park style" cartoon that cuts in at random times starring a trio of stoned characters, including a talking shrimp, a talking stick, and a talking rock. (Pretty trippy stuff right there!) The acting in the film is way above par and the characters are all fairly likeable. Of all the charcters in the film, my favorites were Roach (Kevin George), Tre (Kurt Richter), and Cinder (Michael Roberts).

This trio of stoners have the funniest moments in the movie and could definitely give Cheech & Chong, and Jay & Silent Bob a run for their money. Cinder wanders aimlessly throughout the film in search of his deciduous brother while clinging to his oversized (and stained) underwear so they don’t fall off. Roach and Tre pretty much screw up all of Yancey’s plans because they’re completely stoned on a twenty-four hour basis. I think my favorite part of the movie is when these two morons sneak into a lab to "rescue" some pufferfish from possible experimentation. They wander around and gaze at all sorts of fish, not even knowing what they’re looking for, and end up stealing two large fish (salmon perhaps?). The funniest part of this is that after all the trouble they go through, the fish end up dying long before they can be released into a nearby stream. (DOH!) And to add further hilarity to this film, poor Roach ends up getting beaten up on a very consistent basis, even when he hasn’t done a damned thing!

Another great thing about this movie is its soundtrack, which is mostly made up of custom songs written and performed by Aaron Doughan and S.Michael Phillips. Half the time the music goes along with whatever is currently happening on the screen, and some of the tunes are downright catchy! Hippies was a pleasant surprise and I had a great time watching it, so I have no problem with giving this flick my stamp of approval! The DVD is currently for sale at the official No Points Productions Website (as well as Film Baby.com, Indie Flix.com, and Underground Film.org) and features a nice clean widescreen version of the film, but sadly, there’s nothing else on the disc. Still this movie is definitely worth a look, so if the opportunity to see Hippies presents itself, then by all means watch it! Also keep an eye out for the Special Edition DVD of No Points Productions’ other film Slay Bottle and the upcoming sequel to Hippies!