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Cinnamon Schultz

“GOODLAND” My rating: C+

84 minutes | No MPAA rating

Shot in western Kansas by a Lawrence-based Rockhaven Films, funded largely by a Kickstarter campaign and featuring familiar faces from the local theater scene,  “Goodland” has more than a few attractions for Kansas City moviegoers.

It’s a great-looking film, filled with telling details of life out in the flatlands (writer/director Josh Doke is a native of Goodland KS) and features a nifty central performance by area actress Cinnamon Schultz as a sleepy-town sheriff.

Too bad, then, that Doke the screenwriter falls so far behind Doke the director.  It’s not just his often artless attempts to evoke folksy irony in the dialogue…this yarn dabbles in intriguing ideas which are left undeveloped. Halfway through we’re introduced to a crime subplot that is generic and, well, silly.

Individual moments of “Goodland,” though, are fine indeed.

The generally unremarkable duties of Sheriff Georgette Gaines (Schultz) are upended when a local farmer’s combine  largely dismembers a human body in his cornfield.

Gaines and her deputies recognize the dead man as a drifter who came into town a few days back, got into a drunken brawl and, after drying out in a jail cell, was escorted out of town and sent on his way.

He didn’t get far. The most simple explanation is that he got loaded again and passed out in the field (there’s a half-filled whiskey bottle nearby). But the sheriff smells something fishy; she believes he was dead before encountering that big ol’ Allis Chalmers.

All this dovetails with the arrival in town of Ergo Raines (Matt Weiss, a  founding member of K.C.’s Living Room Theatre and Fishtank Performance Studio), who says he’s shooting photos of small towns for a proposed book.

Ergo checks into a cruddy hotel where a teenage desk clerk (Sara Kennedy) all but throws herself at him. Apparently he’s got other things on his mind, and turns down her not-so-subtle advances.

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