Disclaimer: I do not claim ownership of any photographic material used unless otherwise noted. This blog is intended for purposes of film criticism, commentary, and humor. If you wish to start this journey from the beginning, start with the prologue here.
Oh, the horse head? That’s just something that happens when I become depressed. Look, I, uh… I’m not really feeling into reviewing anything today.
I don’t know. I’m just… Have you ever felt homesick? Have you ever gone on a long trip or moved to another place and found yourself missing your home? Your family? Your community?
Well… that’s not how human relations work – for the most part. Reviewing A Cool Like That Christmas and being alone for the holidays recently has gotten me a little down. It’s largely because, well… I grew up in the Inland Northwest. You know where that is?
It’s this gorgeous area between the Rocky Mountains in eastern Montana and the Cascade Mountains down the middle of Washington, with the northern part of Idaho in between. You could pass through hundreds of miles of valleys and mountains with these flowing rivers and evergreen trees in north Idaho and suddenly find yourself driving through rolling steppes and dry farmland in eastern Washington. I just… I really, really miss it. I mean, hell. Look at this!
Admittedly, the area does have a number of problems. Northern Idaho in particular has the largest concentration of white supremacists in the Inland Northwest and arguably the entire Pacific Northwest, largely due to the Aryan Nations making the region their home in the 1970s. In the 1980s and 1990s, a series of attempted bombings by white supremacists in Spokane and Coeur d’Alene lead to public backlash against their respective groups, although they still haven’t vacated the region entirely. As recently as 2011, a Neo-Nazi tried bombing the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Parade in Spokane.
Still, in spite of all that, I just really miss it.
I don’t feel like it.
In that case, I’m picking something to get me out of my rut of homesickness.
Today, I’m reviewing a 1998 film called Smoke Signals. It’s the first feature film to be directed, written, and co-produced by American Indians, with an all-American Indian cast. Considering how popular Westerns have been in American cinema, going back to The Great Train Robbery in 1903, it’s astonishing how the first all-American Indian film production took another 95 years to become a reality. Even African-Americans managed to direct, write, produce, and star in The Homesteader back in 1919.
Coincidentally enough, Smoke Signals was also set and filmed in my home region, the Inland Northwest. Perhaps seeing the landscape of my home will satisfy my homesickness, but is it a good film? Continue reading