Kingston, Washington on the shores of Appletree Cove and Puget Sound, has absolutely very little to do with this film. We don’t see it. The film doesn’t take us there, but it is the essence of the production Apple Seed.
Apple Seed has nothing to do with Johnny Appleseed, but then again it is about planting and nurturing . . . ideas and people. There are a lot of things Apple Seed is not. A road trip? A buddy film? Self discovery? Taking the right path? I’m not really sure what the film is . . . besides too long and very enjoyable.
We meet Prince, a man who makes bad choices and always seem to be running away. and we meet others who also made bad choices, and some who just got swept away. We also see actors with familiar faces and names.
Prince is trying to restore an old Arizona hotel. The bank will not give him extensions for back payments, but it doesn’t really look like he’s done anything to improve it, anyway. He abandons the hotel and takes what few belongings he has and gets into his classic Mustang convertible. He meets Carl, who apparently has missed the train out of town. Prince offers Carl a ride, who is on his way to Nova Scotia, only because he likes the sound of the place. The price to ride with Prince is $400, plus hotel/motel accommodations, and restaurant stops. Carl agrees. Carl is played by Rance Howard “an American actor who starred in film and on television. He was the father of actor and filmmaker Ron Howard and actor Clint Howard, and grandfather of the actresses Bryce Dallas Howard and Paige Howard.” – Wikipedia
Prince is played by Michael Worth: “Born in Philadelphia, Michael came from a line of German sailors on one side and American Delaware Indians on the other. As a 10 year old Michael directed his first film entitled The Tire. It was shot with a Super-8 camera his mother bought him. He continued making short films into his late teens. During his early teens, Michael had a few small parts in film and television. Living with his dog in a truck for six months in Los Angeles to save money, he worked odd jobs and construction work, taking whatever small parts he could as he climbed the Hollywood ladder.” I don’t ever recall seeing Michael Worth before, but his bio reads like the character, Prince . . . he wrote and directed the film, too.
Here’s what Michael Worth says about himself, “Some of my greatest strides as a person have come from exploring myself through my writing or purging some demon in my acting. The beauty and power contained in these visions of light and human expression has been a huge source of fascination for me and I have only begun to wrap my head around all of its magic.”
We get to see the magic as Prince and Carl begin their journey. At a restaurant we see a waitress putting the final touches of beauty on her just baked chocolate cake. Aristotle wrote that pride was the “crown of the virtues”. The bible says that our labor should be worthy of our hire. This little scene is the essence of the Apple Seed. Carl talks to the waitress about the wonderful photos on the menu and about the cake. Each week she puts her heart into baking a chocolate cake and often people don’t give it a second glance. Prince stands off . . . alone just like in life . . . and looking into the open cash drawer. Soon Carl has commanded the diners’s attention and asks for a show of hands of all who would like a free slice of an incredible chocolate cake. He paid. The part of the waitress was played by Adrienne Barbeau. Barbeau was a sex goddess of the seventies. I always wanted to see more her . . .
Prince is a sad case. One night outside a bar, the seventy-plus year old Carl saves Prince from a major beating by two men younger than Prince.
Carl is the voice of reason. He saves people. He’s a preacher, but his gospel isn’t about Jesus or god, it’s just about reaching out and caring about people. Prince has never made the effort and continually suffers the consequences. Soon, the Ford Mustang becomes crowded with other travelers.
Although Carl has an interesting and loving relationship with people, he is not perfect. We see him meeting with his son, played by Clint Howard (Rance’s real son), who wants nothing to do with him. Carl has people to meet and wounds to heal. Robby Benson plays Sirom, a leader of Gestalt Theory, who reduced the number of passengers in the Mustang. Leaving the group is a sign of strength and growth. Benson is an American actor, singer, composer, teacher and filmmaker. He starred in several films in the 70s. He wrote a number of the songs in Apple Seed.
Jack Nicholson in “As Good As It Gets” says, “You make me want to be a better man.” Carl has that effect on people. Perhaps, not really better, but at least, kinder. Apple Seed was released in 2020 two years after the death of Rance Howard.
“When you travel with chickens; you cluck. When you travel with eagles; you soar.”
If you like people, and want them to be good people, then you will love Apple Seed.
Watch the trailer of Apple Seed – imdb.com/video/vi2823078169
The views expressed in this article are the writer’s own.