- Screenshot from Hank Patterson and the Mystery of the CuttyRainBrown
- In his new movie, Hank Patterson runs into his yoga instructor ex-girlfriend, a crazy hitchhiker and, possibly, a CuttyRainBrown trout.
Hank Patterson has become a name as famous as Simms, Orvis and Trout Unlimited in the fly fishing scene. What started as a quirky short film by local actor/videographer Travis Swartz and his fly fishing friend, Reese Ferguison has grown into a successful series of online videos—some with nearly six million views—chronicling Hank's hilarious attempts to become a world-renowned fly fishing guide. Now, Hank has netted two feature films.
Ticket sales to the premiere of Hank's newest film, Hank Patterson and the Mystery of the CuttyRainBrown, at the Linen Building on Jan. 30 were so successful, a second screening was added later in the evening—and it also sold out. In all, more than 600 people crammed into the Linen to learn about the mysterious CuttyRainBrown. Among them was Ferguison, who has been battling brain cancer for the past few years, and had to stop starring in the Hank Patterson films.
The movie follows Hank—the overconfident, not-so-smart fly fishing guide—as he treks across Idaho trying to catch the elusive CuttyRainBrown trout, which may or may not exist. No amount of beer, milkshakes or sexy yoga instructors can impede Patterson on his quest.
Sitting by a campfire, a bottle of beer in hand, Hank says into the camera, "This is a mystery I need to solve with my smart brain and my fly rod."
Hank's crew is made up of Nick—masterfully played by local actor Nick Garcia—the gum-smacking boom mic guy with close ties to nature; Hank's frumpy cousin, Wally; an intern; and producer Christian Lybrook (Crawlspace, The Seed), who followed Hank on his first feature-length journey around Montana.
They are joined, at one point, by a murderous hitchhiker (Josephine Decker) with a mysterious past, who is on her way to L.A. to star in the popular reality TV show, America Has Talent. Decker is a rising star in the New York independent film scene: Two of her films made it onto the New Yorker's top 10 films of 2014. Decker met one of the producers of the Hank Patterson movies at the Tribeca Film Festival in the spring of 2015 and, on the spot, she promised to fly west to be part of Hank's next film.
Together, the group plunges into streams and rivers around Idaho, following clues to the whereabouts of the CuttyRainBrown and constantly coming up short. Along the way, they run out of money, fake Cousin Wally's death and feel pressure from their sponsors to make a good film. Once the young, beautiful—and possibly insane—hitchhiker realizes her ride is traveling away from California, she leaves the gang, but not without taking a hostage.
Hank Patterson's Reel Montana Adventure, told Boise Weekly this film angled to have a stronger plot than the first, which followed Hank as he traced the life of Norman Maclean, author of A River Runs Through It, Hank's favorite movie.
"The first film was shot more like the YouTube episodes where Hank is flying by the seat of his pants. It's unpredictable and a lot of fun but at the end of shooting, we had 18 hours of footage that we had to figure out how to weave together," Lybrook said. "This time, we spent a lot more time up front working on storylines and how we wanted to shoot particular scenes. It makes for a more cohesive vision, a smoother-post production process and, hopefully, a really fun ride for the audience."
However, it felt as though Reel Montana Adventure had a stronger and more engaging plot line than CuttyRainBrown, which is a mixture of funny but somewhat disjointed scenes thinly strung together on a solitary mission. Some of the plot points—such as the kidnapping—felt abandoned or forgotten and could have been played out more. Ultimately, CuttyRainBrown ends with what is, by far, the most intense reeling scene in cinematic history. (To find out whether Hank actually finds and catches a CuttyRainBrown, you'll have to watch the movie.)
For better or worse, CuttyRainBrown stars the same cocky, abrasive Hank Patterson, who offers up fly-fishing fundamentals, such as the following nugget of wisdom:
"For those of you who don't fly fish, catching a fish is a very minuscule part of fly fishing. Seventy percent is drinking beer, 80 percent is drinking more beer, 90 percent is just casting. Sixty-seven percent is telling people you caught four fish when you only caught three. One percent of fly fishing is catching fish."