‘The 11th Green’: If high enough, you’ll like Ike talking aliens with Obama lookalike
Trippy indie film also works in Campbell Scott, time travel and the bedroom habits of Mamie Eisenhower.
We often hear there are no new movie ideas, but I beg to differ, seeing as how I’ve just screened a film in which an Obama-esque president time-travels a half-century into the past to communicate with former president Dwight D. Eisenhower and an otherworldly being who looks and sounds like Spicoli from “Fast Times at Ridgemont High.”
Suggestion: If you’re the type of individual inclined to ingest a marijuana edible now and then, a perfect time to do so would be about 45 minutes before watching “The 11th Green,” a trippy and mind-bending deadpan indie gem from writer-director Christopher Munch, which not only features the aforementioned scenario, but also includes a semi-steamy love scene between the 76-year-old Eisenhower and his wife Mamie, and I’m pretty sure that in the pantheon of film and television depictions of Ike and Mamie, this is the first time we’ve seen them rolling in the hay.
Joma Films presents a film written and directed by Christopher Munch. No MPAA rating. Running time: 109 minutes. Available for online viewing at facets.org.
“The 11th Green” kicks off with a disclaimer saying we’re about to see “a likely factual scenario of extraordinary events,” after which we see a very unlikely, completely bat-bleep crazy piece of revisionist history, set in two universes some 50 years apart. In “the recent past,” as the film puts it, Campbell Scott’s Jeremy Rudd is an anchor for a progressive, conspiracy-laden newscast called “The People’s Digest,” where he calls out government officials for withholding the truth from the masses and makes statements along the lines of, “Anti-gravity planes and discs have been a reality for more than half a century.”
Cut to a golf course near San Bernadino, California, and the decidedly 1970s-looking home of one Nelson Rudd, a retired Air Force general who was the security liaison for Eisenhower and is also Jeremy’s estranged dad. When Nelson drops dead in his kitchen, Jeremy makes the trek to California to tend to his father’s affairs, which are being handled by Nelson’s longtime assistant and confidante, Laurie Larkspur (Agnes Bruckner). The fact Jeremy brings his golf clubs on the trip is a clear indication he’s not exactly devastated by the loss of his father.
With a score straight out of a Douglas Sirk movie setting the melodramatic tone, we journey back to 1967, as former president Dwight D. Eisenhower (George Gerdes) and his wife Mamie (Kathryn Leigh Scott) settle in at their home overlooking the 11th green at the Valhalla Heights Country Club. Cue the scene prior to a dinner party in which Ike eyes Mamie’s provocative outfit and says there’s “plenty of time to mount an offensive” before the guests arrive. Holy cow!
On the surface, Eisenhower is the familiar closed-off, dignified former four-star general and president we’ve seen portrayed in dozens of movies. But when Ike drifts off to sleep, he has lucid dreams that look like something out of a hipster animated film — and he also makes a paranormal-type connection with “The President” (Leith M. Burke), who exists in the 21st century, has a home in a Hawaii and carries a distinctive look and speech pattern reminiscent of the 44th president of these United States. Across time and reality, these two men debate whether the time is right for the world to know the truth about aliens: that ever since America deployed atomic bombs over Japan, friendly invaders from outer space have maintained a presence on Earth to watch over humans and make sure we don’t destroy ourselves.
For real. Well, at least for the reality of this movie.
I won’t divulge any more so you can experience the cool madness of “The 11th Green” for yourself. Suffice to say it’s out of this world.