Kid Cannabis (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)
July 8, 2014 by Dennis Amith
“Kid Cannabis” is pretty much a young stoner film, but one that is fascinating because it’s based on a true story. But while the film is straightforward as Mark Binelli’s original “Rolling Stone” article that this film was based on, the film never rises to the occasion of being anything more than a stoner film.
© 2014 Kid Cannabis Films, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
TITLE: Kid Cannabis
FILM RELEASE: 2014
DURATION: 110 Minutes
BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, Subtitles: English
COMPANY: Well Go USA Entertainment
RATED: Not Rated
Release Date: July 8, 2014
Directed by John Stockwell
Screenplay by John Stockwell
Based on an article by Mark Binelli
Produced by Michael Becker, Gordon Bijelonic, Corey Large
Executive Producer: Mia Chang, Alison Lee, Alan Pao, Bic Tran, Datari Turner
Line Producer: Joe Di Maio
Music by Irv Johnson
Cinematography by Peter Holland
Edited by Jon Berry, James Renfroe
Casting by J.C. Cantu
Production Design by Chad Krowchuk, Daren Sasges
Set Decoration by Candise Paul
Costume Design by Ashley Jephcott
Jonathan Daniel Brown by Nate Norman
Kenny Worlmald as Topher
Aaron Yoo as Brendan Butler
Ron Perlman as Barry Lerner
John C. McGinley as John Grefard
Corey Large as Giovanni Mendiola
Bryce Hodgson as Scuzz
Alex Arsenault as Dustin Lauer
Jeffrey Ballard as Patrick Groves
Giacomo Baessato as Eddie Mendiola
Merritt Patterson as Nicole Greffard
Amanda Tapping as Nate’s Mom
KID CANNABIS is the true story of an Idaho teen dropout who builds a multimillion-dollar marijuana ring by trafficking drugs through the woods across the Canadian border. But his pursuit of the high life – complete with girls, guns, and vicious rival drug lords – may leave this ex-pizza boy in way over his head.
Back in 2005, Rolling Stone writer Mark Binelli wrote a story about Nate Norman, an unpopular, overweight young man from Idaho who wanted to make money by traveling to Canada to obtain the expensive marijuana known as “B.C. Bud”.
Suffice to say, Norman became wealthy, became popular with women, partied hard, smoked a lot of weed made a lot of friends and enemies and literally became a drug kingpin.
Despite living a happy life for a short time of parties, women, money and plenty of weed, his downfall was his network being busted but also the death of his rival, Brendan Butler.
Inspired by Binelli’s article, filmmaker and writer John Stockwell (“Blue Crush”, “Into the Blue”) would work on the screen adaptation of Nate Norman’s story.
The film would star Jonathan Daniel Brown (“Project X”, “Bad Milo”), Kenny Wormald (“Footloose”, “Clerks II”, “Center Stage: Turn It Up”), Aaron Yoo (“21”, “Disturbia”, “Friday the 13th”), Ron Perlman (“Hellboy” films, “Drive”, “Sons of Anarchy”) and John C. McGinley (“Scrubs”, “Platoon”, “The Rock”).
“Kid Cannabis” revolves around Nate Norman (portrayed by Jonathan Daniel Brown), a young man who loves weed but tries to make ends meet as his mother is working hard as a waitress and he tries to contribute by working as a pizza deliveryman.
Nate and his buddy Topher (portrayed by Kenny Wormald) try to get into the party hosed by the wealthy and cocky Brendan Butler, who happens to be a big supplier of weed to people in the area.
Seeing the success that Brendan has had and also delivering a pizza to a client who talked about “B.C. Bud”, high grade marijuana grown in Canada, Nate and Topher are wanting to get the weed and possibly selling it in the U.S.
Meeting some of the growers of the weed such as John Grefard (portrayed by John C. McGinley) and learning how much business there is in selling B.C. Bud to the United States, Nate begins working with drug kingpin Barry Lerner (portrayed by Ron Perlman) and eventually starts to make a lot of money.
Hiring his friends to be his close network of smuggling weed from Canada to the United States, Nate eventually becomes a wealthy drug kingpin which angers his rival Brendan Butler, who now wants to rob or even kill Nate.
But the weed business starts becoming riskier and dangerous for Nate Norman and what was supposed to be a simple plan, becomes troublesome and dangerous with lives endangered and someone is murdered.
“Kid Cannabis” is presented in 1080p High Definition (1:85:1 aspect ratio). The film looks great during the outdoor scenes, skin tones look natural and I didn’t notice any artifacts, banding or any problems with the video.
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
“Kid Cannabis” is presented in English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1. The majority of the film is dialogue and musically-driven. The dialogue for the film is crystal clear and as one can expect from the hip hop tracks, the beats feature strong bass and sounds great! But there are moments of ambiance during crowd scenes and and also a few action sequences that involve gun shots. But for the most part, the lossless soundtrack for “Kid Cannabis” is good.
“Kid Cannabis” comes with a theatrical trailer.
When it comes to stoner films, “Kid Cannabis” is quite effective in not being a moronic film about people smoking weed.
The fact that the film is based on an actual true story about a guy who managed to run his own empire and make a lot of money in short amount of time was rather intriguing but as one would expect, there were some consequences.
While those who participated, have rehabilitated or went on to find work, for the young Idaho drug kingpin, his description of what took place in his life during this time and how he feels about it now, while locked up in prison, it was more like a dream adventure that he would never trade for the world.
And the film helps understand why Nate would feel this way. His life prior was pizza delivery guy who was trying to make ends meet with his mom who slaved a way from work. What Nate knew was weed and what he was interested in was weed, naturally weed was the only avenue of making big money.
Yeah, he was able to smoke great weed but I think it’s the lifestyle of having people follow him and him being the leader, the kingpin. And along with that, he was able to pay for a new house for his mother, he was able to score with other women and he had power.
But knowing the people that he ran with and seeing how these decisions would lead to his undoing along with his money making network, I suppose for him, the experience was his greatest memory of his young adult life.
Actor Jonathan Daniel Brown did a great job of portraying Nate. While I’m not sure if they are alike, the point of the film is seeing the unexpected rise of this guy who really had no outlet to anything else but hearsay from other drug dealers. And Brown’s acting made you believe in the character.
The film was rather fascinating to see Ron Perlman as the drug financier and also seeing John C. McGinley as an ex-government grower, they added more credibility to this film and also made the film much more enjoyable.
While “Kid Cannabis” fairs well in its depiction of today’s young stoners and you want to see how far Nate Norman would go as a drug mover, the film didn’t do well to make you care about the other characters. The other characters were rather forgettable and each time they graced the screen and the plot would shift to them, you just felt these scenes were wasted because they were not characters to even care about. So, I felt that I was wanting to see more focus on the character of Nate.
As for the Blu-ray release, it’s a barebones release. While picture and audio quality were very good, there are no special features but a theatrical trailer.
Overall, “Kid Cannabis” is pretty much a young stoner film that will appease fans who appreciates these type of films. “Kid Cannabis” is quite fascinating because it is based on a true story, but while the film is straightforward as Mark Binelli’s original “Rolling Stone” article that this film was based on, the film never rises to the occasion of being anything more than that.
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