- Cast: Zac Efron, Dennis Quaid, Heather Graham, Clancy Brown, Kim Dickens, Maika Monroe, Chelcie Ross, Red West, John Hoogenakker, Sophie Curtis, Ben Marten, Meighan Gerachis, Jesse Dabson, Summer Shelton, Guy Massey, Laura Atwood, Tim Grimm, Stephen Louis Grush, Christopher Borek, Bob Hungerford, Dan Waller, Troy Roush, Wilbur Bastian, Anthony Moseley, Paula Thompson, Joey DeBettencourt, Matthew Petersen, Jerry Christensen, Matt Kozlowski
- Director: Ramin Bahrani
- Writers: Ramin Bahrani, Hallie Elizabeth Newton
- Producers: Ramin Bahrani, Pamela Koffler, Justin Nappi, Teddy Schwarzman, Kevin Turen, Christine Vachon
- Co Producers: Declan Baldwin, Andrew Levitas
- Associate Producers: Matthew Vose Campbell, Summer Shelton, Ben Stillman
- Executive Producers: Mohammed Al Turki, Ron Curtis, Eric Nyari, Brian Young
- Art Direction: Jonathan Guggenheim
- Casting: Douglas Aibel
- Costume Design: Tere Duncan
- D.O.P.: Michael Simmonds
- Editor: Affonso Gonçalves
- Makeup: Zsofia Otvos
- Music: Dickon Hinchliffe
- Production Design: Chad Keith
- Set Decoration: Adam Willis
Henry Whipple (Dennis Quaid) is an ambitious farmer who wants his son Dean (Zac Efron) to help with the family business. Unfortunately, Dean is a rebellious teenager who is determined to be a professional race car driver rather than have a career taking care of the family farm. But when an investigation is launched into their business, the situation causes the Whipple's livelihood to be at stake.
- Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
- Filming Locations: Illinois, USA
- MPAA Warning: Sexual content including a strong graphic image, and for language
- Production Budget: $4.5 million
- Production Companies: Black Bear Pictures, Treehouse Pictures, Killer Films, Noruz Films, Big Indie Pictures
2013 Guide Analysis: "Iranian-American filmmaker Ramin Bahrani is considered one of the real rising stars of the indie filmmaking scene with his first three films - 2005's "Man Push Cart," 2007's "Chop Shop" and 2008's "Goodbye Solo" - widely regarded as a hat trick of impressive and affecting features. So when this project was announced, it's not unfair to say it generated a bit of a shock amongst some film news writers out there.
On a much bigger scale than those previous films, this swaps out a focus on the experience of immigrants coming to the United States for the complete opposite - a look at multiple-generation farming business families in heartland Iowa. Dennis Quaid plays an ambitious farmer who wants to expand his empire, but becomes caught up in the genetically modified foods debate with a rival company. Zac Efron stars as his rebellious son who is much more keen on becoming a race car driver and escaping this small town life.
Playing the Fall film festival run of Venice, Telluride and Toronto a few months back, reviews were quite strong with Quaid and Efron's performances, the layered characters, and the various moral complexities explored within the script scoring a lot of praise. The melancholic undertone and slightly heavy-handed old-fashioned approach met a more mixed response. More than a few have compared it to a 50's melodrama which some will appreciate and others won't.
While not jingoistic, the film is certainly one big patriotic slice of pure farmland Americana which could very much limit its international appeal. The Venice screening of the film became somewhat infamous as a small, but vocal group of detractors booed the movie. Subsequent reviews from international critics also haven't gushed over the film the way U.S. critics have, mostly because the film points out rather than criticises the ultimately destructive nature of the "Expand or Die" mentality of American business."