Written and directed by Justin Schwarz, The Discoverers is a family drama about loss and redemption with humorous moments spread throughout the film. Griffin Dunne portrays Lewis Burch, a history professor who works for a paper mill university by day and moonlights as a security guard by night. He has written a 500+ page book about the Lewis & Clark expedition and he hopes to present his book at a swanky writer’s conference in Oregon.
Professor Burch uses this opportunity to create a family trip for his son and daughter. The son is a pot smoking womanizer and the daughter, Zoe (Madeleine Martin), is having the worst birthday ever. Along the way, Burch is forced to take a detour to his parent’s house, which leads to more personal trauma.
The family trauma is real, but how the family deals with the drama is unreal. The deluded grandfather (Stuart Margolin) finds solace by recreating the 19th Century world of the American discoverers Lewis & Clark. The Burch family join Grandpa in this world minus cell phones, vegan meals and other modern conveniences. The results are painfully, but tastefully, amusing.