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Promised Land

3.2 out of 5 stars 32 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Four hot young stars - KIEFER SUTHERLAND, MEG RYAN, JASON GEDRICK and TRACY POLLAN - star in this intimate look at rites of passage in small-town America. With high hopes of even higher dreams, basketball star Davey Hancock (GEDRICK) eagerly anticipates high school graduation and continuing his legacy in the challenging "adult" world of college. But the future holds many surprises and no guarantees for Davey or for his classmates - the all-American cheerleader Mary (POLLAN) and the off-beat "Senator" (SUTHERLAND). Mary is college-bound, but discovers deeper ties at home. Senator is adrift, until he meets the wild-tempered Bev (RYAN), who fills his life with dangerous excitement. As these four young adults hurtle through life's unpredictable turns and harsh realities, they discover that adulthood on the edge of the American Dream is a far cry from the "promised land" they had come to expect.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Jason Gedrick, Kiefer Sutherland, Meg Ryan, Tracy Pollan, Googy Gress
  • Directors: Michael Hoffman
  • Writers: Michael Hoffman
  • Producers: Andrew Meyer, Andy Paterson, Dennis Bishop, Mark Bentley, Rick Stevenson
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Lions Gate
  • DVD Release Date: October 21, 2003
  • Run Time: 102 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000C3I9R
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #78,434 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Promised Land" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
I got a copy of the film 'Promised Land' from a friend. It is set in a small midwestern town where high school basketball is king. Sounds rather like Indiana, doesn't it? This gave the initial appeal to me, as films like this can help me understand the people in the area better -- at least, this is my hope, since I am not an Indiana native.
The actors are all very young. The film stars a very young Keifer Sutherland (Danny) and Meg Ryan (Bev) as a rather unlikely couple. The real 'star' of the film, the one who gets top billing, is Jason Gedrick (Hancock), whose career has been rather less prominent than Sutherland's or Ryan's. Tracy Jo Pollan (Mary) also stars in one of her few starring film roles. Pollan is now much better known through her marriage to Michael J. Fox.
The plot is a rather simple one. Four characters -- a high school basketball star (Hancock), a cheerleader (Mary), a dropout (Danny), his wife from a western state (Bev)-- all get tangled together in a final blow-up in the small hometown. The film opens during the all-important last moments of a basketball game. Of course, our guys win; the basketball star announces he's leaving for college, and the dropout announces he's leaving town. The cheerleader is left behind, but has hopes of her own.
Fast-forward two years. The basketball star is back home, working as a policeman. We slowly discover during the course of the film that he didn't make it as a college basketball star, and couldn't stay in college any other way. Mary, meanwhile, has gone off to another college, but has come home for the Christmas holiday, and as Hancock tries to rekindle old feelings, probably largely derived from hoping to recapture feelings of past glory, she feels pressured.
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By A Customer on July 7, 2001
Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
Alas, the whole is less than the parts. Promised Land is a beautifully filmed, well acted, heartbreaking story with an absolutely fabulous score by the always excellent James Newton Howard. Its just that the material--the story itself--isn't worthy of such gorgeous cinematography and fine performances. Storywise, its pretty much junk but what raises it up are some really (visually) beautiful scenes.
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Format: DVD
A story of people whose lives didn't soar as they hoped. Some fine young actors, an only mildly inspired script. Based very loosely on an event in Idaho in 1979, set and filmed in Utah with support from Robert Redford and his Sundance Institute.

RIP Nickle, who kept that broken angel wing.
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Format: DVD
SPOILER (clearly marked) BELOW!

Promised Land is competently directed and well-written (the dialog is great, although the story is neither particularly interesting nor believable), but it's mainly a character-driven, actor's movie. What the characters do is uninteresting, but how they do it is fascinating.

Jason Gedrick, Kiefer Sutherland and Meg Ryan are fantastic in the leads. Most of the other actors are at least competent, although their roles are far less well-developed.

Gedrick's has-been high-school basketball star is totally convincing and amazingly complex and sympathetic, far more interesting than such people are in real life.

SPOILER HERE!!!!
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
Sutherland's sweet, nerdy, needy, clueless loser reminds me of Plato (Sal Mineo) in Rebel Without a Cause - a character so profoundly disabled emotionally that dying young is not only inevitable but a blessing. He's like a person born with no skin.
+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
END OF SPOILER

Meg Ryan is fascinating as his miserable, destructive and self-destructive wife - a bad influence but not really a bad person.

These three actors (and the brilliant writer who created the roles) turn familiar stereotypes (The Washed-Up Jock, The Loser Nerd, The Crazy B!tch) into full, rich, multidimensional human beings.

But these three characters are more than human beings, because real human beings are just as simplistic and flat as the stereotypes they inspire. These are great movie characters, BETTER than real people.

That's why we watch movies instead of real people: great movie characters are lots more interesting. The three lead characters make this otherwise mediocre movie a delight to watch.
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Format: Amazon Video
Did not watch it all the way through it was boring and not real to life experiences.
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Format: DVD
Promised LandThis movie is deeper than it appears. I first watched it for Kiefer Sutherland (love that man!). I didn't really care for the movie, itself, after my first viewing. Upon watching it again I discovered the deeper meanings behind the characters and American life. Promised Land is really the American Dream propaganda we were all brainwashed into believing we could attain. This movie reveals that through its characters and also demonstrates what happens when we never reach the Promised Land. The actors in this film were able to portray how each was affected by not staying on the road to Oz, through fate or choice, in a realistic way. The director wove his tale and drove home his point without over doing it or becoming too preachy. I can see why this film did not become more popular. It's hard to admit to ourselves that we were (and still are) brainwashed into believing in a happiness someone else defined. This would be a great film for high school and college philosophy students to analyze and for the rest of us to inspect our lives and our motivations.
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