Reviews & Praise

Making a film with a pot-grower as the central character was ground-breaking and caused quite a sensation even in the supposedly progressive San Francisco Bay Area. The video below is excerpted from an interview with correspondent Frank Kracher of KGO Channel 7 News...


...The interview and a great review in the SF Chronicle brought people to the theater. This was the beginning of our national tour.

San Francisco Chronicle

Friday, September 13, 1991

Comic Perils of a Pot Farmer by Mick LaSalle, Chronicle Staff Critic

The Moneytree is an independent feature about a young marijuana grower in  Marin County coming to a crossroads  in his life - no, but keep reading anyway. This peculiar  picture, which opens today at the Kabuki, has something.

It was directed by Alan Dienstag, who apparently was a beat poet in North Beach in the '50s. His first feature shows a nice assurance, an ease in its storytelling that is not at all sloppy.  Read more...

More Praise

The Moneytree is firmly planted in the here and now. Freedom of choice is not an idea that grows out of style.
— Andrew Leonard, The Daily Californian
While The Moneytree is about growing marijuana, the producer and star insists it is more about hypocrisy in our society than about drugs. Moneytree is a rich film made on shoestring budget.
— John Scalzi, The Fresno Bee
The Moneytree, a very entertaining and very home grown film out of Marin County, has the veneer of a movie about a marijuana farmer, but it is actually a thought provoking, sometimes dramatic, often funny story about basic freedoms.
— Robert Farmer, Sac This Week
Alan and Chris Dienstag decided back in 1977 at a hash-enhanced wedding in Tangiers that they would create a movie together.
— Ari Krawitz, UCSD Guardian
Low in budget, high in spirits, Alan Dienstag’s largely improvised The Moneytree is worth infinitely more than slick but soulless Hollywood junk such as Stephen King’s “Sleepwalkers” or the Silly “Brenda Starr.” Sure, it’s rough around the edges, but it has the breath of real life and a genuinely sweet and endearing sensibility. It’s funny, it’s scary, and it even makes you think and feel.
— Kevin Thomas, LA Times
The Moneytree traces the picaresque life of a young Northern California man who grows marijuana for a living.
— Bill Mandel, SF Examiner preaching thankfully takes a back seat to the art of making a great movie. The Moneytree joins the ranks of recent independent pictures which have blown the doors off the ponderous studio offerings. While the slim budget shows in places, there were also some scenes that renew the sense of wonder lost by watching one too many expensive bombs.
— Marcel Levi, Sagebrush University of Nevada, Reno
The last big score... It’s been a popular conceit in Hollywood caper films for years. Bogie talked about it in “High Sierra.” So, too, did Steve McQueen in Sam Peckinpah’s rousing “The Getaway.” And now along comes David, the Mill Valley drug dealer of The Moneytree...
— Glen Lovell, San Jose Mercury News
Father-son team cultivates a potent political message...
— Robert A. Masullo, Sacramento Bee
...the appeal of The Moneytree has little to do with making a point. Its appeal is in the power and uniqueness of its individual scenes and in the way they create a funny portrait of one man’s world - ‘funny’ in both senses of the word, because it’s also strange and, at times, even haunting.
— Mick LaSalle, SF Chronicle Staff Critic

Click here for a full listing of media coverage of the original release....