Box Elder (film)

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Box Elder
Box Elder.jpg
A comedy about dudes, bros, and dude-bros.
Directed by Todd Sklar
Produced by Todd Sklar
Brock Williams
Credit Cards
Written by Todd Sklar
Starring Alex Rennie
Nick Renkoski
Chad Haas
Todd Sklar
Cinematography J. Rockwell Seebach
Edited by Kamau Bilal
Distributed by Range Life Entertainment
Release date
  • March 3, 2008 (2008-03-03)
Running time
91 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Box Elder is a 2008 American independent film. It was written and directed by Todd Sklar, his first feature film. The film stars Alex Rennie, Nick Renkoski, Chad Haas, as well as Sklar.


Box Elder follows best friends and roommates, John Scott (Sklar) Alex, Nick, and Chad (Haas) through their final years of college at the University of Missouri. The loose narrative structure is anchored by John's breakup with his girlfriend Laura (Hina Abdullah). The four dudes party, eat sandwiches, and repeatedly ignore their scholastic responsibilities.


In the Spring of 2008, Sklar and a number of cast and crew from the film toured the film from city to city, mostly focusing on college campuses and art-house cinemas.[1] Sklar, via his distribution company, Range Life Entertainment, entered into direct 50-50 revenue-sharing deals with the majority of the theaters at which Box Elder screened.[2] According to the filmmaker at numerous post-screening Q&A sessions, Sklar will be bringing Box Elder, along with a number of other films, back on the road and into theaters in the fall of 2008.

Critical reception[edit]

A review on film blog, Row Three, provides an analysis and review of the film, giving it 4 out of 5 stars and calling it, "a witty and funny story that exceeds expectations."[3]

During the film's engagement at the Gene Siskel Film Center in Chicago, Time Out Chicago gave the film 3 stars and said it, "plays like a cross between Richard Linklater’s Slacker and TV’s Seinfeld."[4] The Chicago Reader gave a brief review, praising, "the dialogue has actual wit in addition to the usual ironic gloss and Sklar's vision of college is the fond fiction we all like to remember in adulthood."[5]

A review by found the film to be humorous at times, but that otherwise the film was "flat and chaotic".[6]

"Metromix"[1] also reviewed Box Elder and gave it four out of five stars. The film was praised for its painstaking efforts to accurately portray a believable college lifestyle.


Actor Role
Alex Rennie Rennie
Nicholas Renkoski Nick Becker
Chad Haas Bradley Fletcher
Todd Sklar John Scott
Hina Abdullah Laura Glaser
James Ponsoldt Robby "Couv" McGouven
Brian Sturgill Matt Vaggey


"Get Real" by Hockey Night
"Charm School" by Bishop Allen
"Untitled" by Hockey Night
"Mazatlan" by The Plastic Constellations
"This Western Lot" by The Plastic Constellations
"I Need You" by The Rationals (The Kinks cover)
"Stand Up (Let's Get Murdered)" by P.O.S
"Monster Mash" by Bobby "Boris" Pickett
"Bad Kids" by The Black Lips
"It's Us" by The Plastic Constellations
"Gusto" by Ha Ha Tonka
"Manpark" by Lifter Puller
"Cold Hands" by The Black Lips
"Set You Free" by The Black Keys
"Back to the Lake" by Guided by Voices


  1. ^ August, John. " Self-distributing an indie-feature". Retrieved 2008-07-06. 
  2. ^ Flasher, Eli. "The Great American Bromance". Minnesota Daily. Archived from the original on 2008-04-08. Retrieved 2008-04-03. 
  3. ^ James, Andrew. "Indie Review: Box Elder". Retrieved 2008-04-08. 
  4. ^ Gronvall, Andrea. "Box Elder Review". Archived from the original on 2008-07-25. Retrieved 2008-05-15. 
  5. ^ Jones, J.R. "Box Elder". Chicago Reader. Retrieved 2008-05-15. 
  6. ^ Zima, Lauren. ""Box Elder" Movie Review". Archived from the original on 2012-07-11. Retrieved 2008-06-16. 

External links[edit]