Mag Fest 2020: THE PLANTERS

This quirky comedy is dry as the desert and twice as fun

Watching The Planters, a new film starring and directed by Alexandra Kotcheff and Hannah Leder, feels like experiencing an alternate reality wherein Wes Anderson directed Napoleon Dynamite. I don’t want to live in a world where that isn’t a supreme compliment.

Set in a tiny desert town so meticulously quaint the audience half expects the camera to pull out and reveal a special-effects model, The Planters explores the friendship of Sadie Mayflower (Leder) and Martha Plant (Kotcheff). Almost diametric opposites, Sadie is all sweet, raspy, high-voiced optimism, and Plant sees the world for the shitburger it is. The fact that Sadie seems to have multiple personalities just adds to the excitement.

Make no mistake, this is a comedy. Like the best of Bottle Rocket, The Planters takes throw away lines and imbues them with a cleverness so sharp it can slice right through a funny bone. Many plot points–like Plant being the world’s worst air conditioning saleswoman–are good, but it’s the delivery of Kotcheff and Leder that seals the deal.

I save this for last because it is both amazing and inconsequential to the enjoyment of the movie: Kotcheff and Leder shot the entire thing with no crew. Well, none other than themselves. Lights, camera, obviously all the action. It was them, making it happen in a DIY style so elegant it disappears behind the work. Brava.

This film makes its Mississippi premiere on Saturday, February 29th at UEC Hollywood Premier Cinemas in Starkville, MS.

To view the full lineup of films and purchase tickets, visit

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