Omaha (The Movie)

on April 28, 1995 by Kim Williamson
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   A young Omahan named Simon (Hughston Walkinshaw), who has journeyed to Nepal to study Buddhism, returns to his hometown and finds the dysfunctional stress of living among small-town Americana driving him to chew on his Oriental prayer stones for comfort. The stones, insists former high-school flame and New Age convert Gina (Jill Anderson), are emeralds that could finance a new life for Simon. Two things stand in his way: Simon's belief that selling the religious objects would be sacrilegious, and Colombian thieves (Frankie Bee and Christopher M. Dukes) eager to change their own fortunes. An inventive resolution after an I-80 chase to Carhenge--a Stonehenge re-creation using old American cars near Alliance, Neb.--brings all something of a happy ending.
   A $38,000 production of Dana Altman (grandson of director Robert and nephew of cinematographer Bobby) and debut writer/director Dan Mirvish (co-founder of Sundance alternative fest Slamdance), "Omaha (the movie)" makes a few wrong turns. A literal one, having its Huskers head Lincoln-ward from Omaha via a roundabout Bellevue, allows for inclusion of Dutch-angle footage of Strategic Air Command headquarters—exemplifying the film's tendency to put its satire on autopilot. But this Great Plains fest winner, which has been reaping decent boxoffice dollars in heartland release, has an engaging way that could find it fans among specialized audiences in other regions.    Starring Hughston Walkinshaw and Jill Anderson. Directed and written by Dan Mirvish. Produced by Dan Mirvish and Dana Altman. A Bugeater release. Satire. Unrated. Running time: 85 min. Screened at Nebraska's Great Plains fest.
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