Movie Review: Actor-junkie faces withdrawal, a mistrusting wife and his sketchy brother — “To the Moon”

“To the Moon” is a psychological/psychedelic thriller that has a lot of trouble coming together and more trouble getting to its fairly obvious point.

Writer, director and co-star Scott Friend’s movie leaves “clues” hanging, drags out it supposed mystery and ends on a predictably perfunctory note.

A film star (Scott Friend, again) and his figure skater wife (Madeleine Morgenweck) show up at his grandfather’s hunting lodge with a mission.

Dennis has just been fired from his TV show. He has a drug problem, and sneaking off to big pine country “upstate” will help him kick, cold turkey. Wife Mia is his rock, the one who “won’t leave you.”

“I would kill for you,” she declares, out of nowhere. “You know that, right?”


Dennis is having just enough withdrawal symptoms to pass for “junkie,” and it’s causing hallucinations and nightmares.

But as Dennis starts his sober life walking the dog in the woods, he spies a monk in a red habit across the lake. The next day, they awaken to a bearded, yellow-jumpsuited kook doing a Maori Hakka exercise in the yard. Not to worry. Much.
“It’s my brother!”

Dennis isn’t thrilled to see him, and the babbled self-help nonsense that that passes for wisdom coming out of brother Roger’s mouth makes little sense. Dennis has heard this shtick before. Some of it, anway. But Mia? She seems impressed. I mean, the guys knows all about her crystals.

“I sensed that you’re full.”

Husband and wife close their eyes and chew a berry that their new guru says “will ease the withdrawal.” Is it some sort of “natural” hallucinogen? They trust this loon?

And thus begins Roger’s move-in/take-over of their withdrawal week. Is he having them on, with his dropping the phrase “in the hospital” (As a patient, or janitor?), leading them through “cleansing poses” and generally getting all up in their business.

Dennis can’t be sure of what he’s really seeing and experiencing — Roger coming on to Mia through a window, etc. — and what he’s hallucinating.

“He’s gonna ruin the whole trip. Just watch.”

There’s not a lot to grab hold of, here. The mind games aren’t that convincing or interesting, the interloper is more of an embarrassing goof, at first. Is there menace afoot? Enabler or figment of Dennis’ imagination, monkey on his back? The demon he must slay?

Just an opportunistic jerk/escaped mental patient here to bring his envied brother down?

The acting isn’t particularly convincing, which hampers any “buy in.” The writer-director-star isn’t exactly a poster boy for “in demand actor/TV-star.”

Whatever’s going on with those “monks,” whatever Roger’s real agenda is, whatever Dennis settles on as “This is my reality” or “Maybe it was all in my head,” “To the Moon” — as in “How much do I love you? To the MOON!” — keeps running into the same brick wall that the plot, the annoying/rarely emotional characters and blase dialogue and situations have built.

Who cares?

Rating: unrated, violence, drug abuse, sexual situations

About Roger Moore

Movie Critic, formerly with McClatchy-Tribune News Service, Orlando Sentinel, published in Spin Magazine, The World and now published here, Orlando Magazine, Autoweek Magazine
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