press coverage

Locally filmed 'Wooly Boys' feels genuine
Cynthia Dickison, Star Tribune
June 3, 2005

'Wooly Boys' (*** out of four stars; rated PG for language and thematic material) might be a kind of factory-second "Secondhand Lions," but it would be a mistake to dismiss this locally (and beautifully) filmed family drama.

Peter Fonda and Kris Kristofferson aren't quite in the same league as Michael Caine and Robert Duvall, but as a couple of sheep ranchers from the North Dakota Badlands, they have an easy, old-coot camaraderie. Fonda is Stoney, a stubborn cuss who is lured to Minneapolis in the belief that his semi-estranged daughter is sick. It's really he who is gravely ill, and when he wakes up in a strange hospital bed, his 16-year-old grandson Charlie (Joe Mazzello) is uneasily standing guard.

The boy's apprehension grows when Stoney's ranch hand and best friend, Schuck (Kristofferson), arrives to bust the patient out, and he finds himself dragged along on a wild journey involving a stolen hearse, a stolen horse and the FBI.

The clichés abound: the cantankerous old-timers, the spoiled rich kid, the cartoonish villains. But there also are moments of genuine tenderness that elevate "Wooly Boys" above the predictable.

And local viewers can have fun spotting Twin Cities locations, among them the Minneapolis skyline, the Woodwinds Health Campus in Woodbury and the Minneapolis Convention Center (which serves as the nicest bus station ever filmed). Several local actors also appear, most notably T. Michael Rambo as a hearse driver who is relieved of his vehicle and his clothes.

Although the film was made in 2001, it is just recently available on DVD (Lions Gate, $26.98), which has minimal features.

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