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Humboldt County (2008)



Average Rating: 5.7/10
Critic Reviews: 8
Fresh: 6 | Rotten: 2

No consensus yet.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.5/5
User Ratings: 1,480

My Rating

Movie Info

An ambitious and straight-laced young man falls in with a group of stoners and aging hippies in this independent comedy drama. Peter Hadley (Jeremy Strong) is a medical student in his early twenties whose dreams of a residency at a prestigious teaching hospital are dashed when he flunks out of a class taught by his father (Peter Bogdanovich). Trying to blot out his awful day, Peter heads to a jazz club, where he ends up going home with Bogart (Fairuza Balk), the sexy singer with the band. The


Drama, Comedy


Danny Jacobs, Darren Grodsky

Jan 13, 2009

Magnolia Pictures - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (20) | Top Critics (8) | Fresh (12) | Rotten (8) | DVD (4)

Be prepared: Humboldt County is a slow starter. But what appears to be the cliched uptight nerd liberated by flighty sprite tale evolves into something deeper, darker, more resonant.

November 20, 2008 Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

An amiably paced, character-driven comedy-drama about a disenchanted student who finds himself among the unreconstructed hippies and second-generation fringe dwellers who farm marijuana in the Lost Coast region of Northern California.

October 18, 2008 Full Review Source: Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Possibly it might be of some interest with the right amount of buzz, but then so is a passing cloud.

October 18, 2008 Full Review Source: New York Post
New York Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

So much pot is smoked in the agreeable drama Humboldt County that you may come away from it with a contact high.

October 3, 2008
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Though the movie achieves that New Hollywood contact high only in fits and starts, this familial drama still leaves a pleasant buzz.

October 1, 2008 Full Review Source: Time Out New York
Time Out New York
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Humboldt County has an impressive cast and captures some of that era's fuzzy rebelliousness and humanism, but taken on its own the picture is finally thin stuff.

September 26, 2008 Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop Critic

the whole thing feels wrong and cheeky

October 20, 2008 Full Review Source:

It becomes an endearing journey, even with the shock of Bogart's sudden departure from the scene and the movie's change of pace.

October 18, 2008 Full Review Source: Cinema Signals
Cinema Signals

The characters are so well defined, the acting so top-notch and the cinematography so stunning, I was able to forgive what I saw as script issues.

October 18, 2008 Full Review Source: Film Threat
Film Threat

The movie's neither funny enough nor filled with enough dramatic tension to keep us invested in Peter's halting journey of self-discovery.

October 12, 2008 Full Review Source: Giant Magazine
Giant Magazine

Dud drama about a med-school failure from L.A. who finds himself amidst pot-growing hippies in a remote corner of the eponymous "Lost Coast" county.

October 8, 2008 Full Review Source: Film Journal International
Film Journal International

Humboldt County's doleful charm -- verdant, lovely, ominous, final -- leaves little room for idealistic dreams or even the promise of romantic redemption.

September 26, 2008 Full Review Source: Austin Chronicle
Austin Chronicle

For an idea of how Humboldt County plays, imagine a Lifetime original movie about a loveable but pathetic couple who passed their druggy lifestyle on to the next generation.

September 26, 2008 Full Review Source: Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Seattle Post-Intelligencer

The indie folk on the soundtrack teeter the film perilously close to another emo Gen-X flick about discovering who you really are, man, yet its quiet assurance hoists it to the top of genre.

September 26, 2008 Full Review Source: Boxoffice Magazine
Boxoffice Magazine

While the concept of the movie is tuned into all those warm, important questions of purpose, the execution lacks gravity, making the picture one long, slow spiral into melodramatic hogwash.

September 25, 2008 Full Review Source:

A culture clash movie pitting '60s free spirit internal exiles against the dog-eat-dog success obsessed youth of today, and that may similarly divide critics along these generation gap lines.

September 23, 2008 Full Review Source: NewsBlaze

Friction is of a schematic sort that all too often seems mainly intent on recalling spiritual predecessors Midnight Cowboy and Five Easy Pieces.

September 21, 2008 Full Review Source: Slant Magazine
Slant Magazine

The fish-out-of-water story shows the potential for a specific environment to transform an individual's consciousness, while never glamorizing or preaching the influence of marijuana. It's a gem of a film rooted in the reality of familial bonds and shifti

September 1, 2008 Full Review Source:

Audience Reviews for Humboldt County

"It was a little further out than he thought."

Humboldt County is a very disappointing film. It has a few scenes that are really good and every time one of them comes; I would think the movie was about to start getting better. But then the movie would fall right back into a 20 minute lull. I guess the main problem, besides boredom, is the fact that I really didn't like the lead, Jeremy Strong. It might actually just be the character, but either way, I hated him.

What saved the movie from being a complete waste of time were the performances by Brad Dourif and Chris Messina. Both were great and the only bright spots of the entire film. The movie was just so dry. It failed to really sell it's emotional climax at all. I really didn't care. The lead up is boring for the most part. Like I said, it does have a few moments where you may think the story and pace is going to pick up and become more interesting. But that was never the case. It was pretty much an exercise in mediocre storytelling throughout.
August 14, 2011
Melvin White

Super Reviewer

An uptight med student gets kidnapped by a bunch of dirty pot-growing hippies. No, really. Not that I have anything against dirty hippies, but these dirty hippies are also obnoxious and arrogant people who treat the uptight kid condescendingly. For some reason, the uptight med student likes the upheaval these unpleasant hippies bring to his life, and stays with them in the woods. The hippies all live in the woods like children, throwing random temper tantrums, but is that the point? Is Humboldt County a horror movie, revealing the ugly truth about escapism? Is it an indictment of the 60s generation? If the film had had a little more depth, had the characters not been so universally repulsive, the lesson might've had more impact. But these so-called "real" people are more self-centered and less empathetic than the worst stereotypical yuppy. As it is, there's very little to actually like here, outside of the under-used Peter Dogdanovich.
March 13, 2010
Mr Awesome
Devon Bott

Super Reviewer

Takes me back to high school days, hanging out with grown adults who give pot to kids. Brad Dourif is my hero.
February 8, 2009
Curtis Lilly

Super Reviewer

In "Humboldt County," Peter(Jeremy Strong) botches his final exam so badly that even his father(Peter Bogdanovich) is forced to fail him, making him lose out on a prestigious residency as a result. Finding solace in the arms and body of Bogart(Fairuza Balk), a jazz singer, Peter with nothing better to do decides to also accompany her north to her family home in Northern California. And then she promptly abandons him to the care of Rosie(Frances Conroy) and Jack(Brad Dourif). But once Max(Chris Messina) takes care of an irrigation problem, he will drop off Peter at the bus stop.

The problem with "Humboldt County" is not its wanting to attempt a fish out of water comedy which could still work under the right circumstances. Which this isn't. Because once Fairuza Balk and her goofy grin leave the premises, the movie falls flat, especially in the all-important character development department. Of course, that's what happens when you have a protagonist who is not even awkward or uptight(which would be bad enough for a prospective doctor) but totally unresponsive. That leaves Frances Conroy, Brad Dourif and the usually reliable Chris Messina very little to work with. But the second to last shot, an extended one, is rather lovely.
April 10, 2014
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

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