More Heartland: Gifts of Life
Photo left: Robert Guthrie as Charlie Silver Cloud III. From Expiration Date.
Two more films on my screening list at the 2006 Heartland Film Festival were Expiration Date and The Ultimate Gift. Each film focuses on a young man following some sort of “list” of things he is compelled to do (for very different reasons), and along the way makes some realizations and, because of those realizations, also falls in love. The last shot of both films (before the end credits) is a kiss between the protagonist and his new girlfriend.
In Expiration Date, Charlie suspects his upcoming death because both his father and grandfather were killed by milk trucks on their 25th birthdays and he meets his quarter-century mark in 8 days.
As he goes about taking care of last-minute preparations, he runs into some ostensible stumbling blocks, namely a seemingly goofy young woman named Besse (Sascha Knopf) and her dog, Roadkill. It appears that she may be headed for the pearly gates, too.
Writer-director-producer Rick Stevenson is a big supporter and promoter of the Seattle filmmaking community, and this film was shot and takes place in Seattle.
Photo left: Abigail Breslin (left) as Emily and Ali Hillis as Alexia in The Ultimate Gift
Where Expiration Date makes you chuckle, The Ultimate Gift makes you cry. Jason Stevens (Drew Fuller) is a young man in need of a new lease on life. Through his death, his grandfather helps him accomplish it.
But to his eldest grandchild, Jason, he leaves a challenge or more accurately, a series of challenges for in Jason, Red saw the potential for something more. In undertaking those challenges, Jason encounters a number of unexpected ones, not least of which is meeting Alexia (Ali Hillis) and her young daughter, Emily (Abigail Breslin).
While Red Stevens may be dead, his presence is constant through the living will that he recorded for his grandson. His longtime friend, attorney, and business partner Ted Hamilton (Bill Cobbs) and his assistant, Miss Hastings (Lee Meriwether), guide Jason through this obstacle course. He must learn what it means to be a generous human being and appreciate the many intangible gifts of life.
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