" Get all the good you can outta 17 ‘cuz it sure wears out in one helluva hurry. "
— Paul Newman, Hud

MRQE Top Critic

Winsor McCay -- The Master Edition

A new DVD offers an opportunity to see films by a master of animation —Andrea Birgers (DVD review...)

Gertie the Dinosaur, born of Winsor McCay

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When two buddies embark upon a road trip in an ancient American station wagon, they seem to be on a perfectly staffed fool’s errand.

The flamboyant risktaker of the pair, Colton (played by Josh Alexander, who also produced and wrote the screenplay), wants to meet the actor Donald Sutherland, and has persuaded his pal Ben to drive him to Montreal, where Ben’s cousin is a maitre d’ at one of Sutherland’s favorite restaurants and can introduce him to his idol.

What the less-streetwise and more-booksmart Ben (Rob Bogue, a Campbell-Scott kind of everyman) doesn’t know is that Colton is carrying a large quantity of drugs to sell and some squishy plans about how to profit from them. What Colton doesn’t know is that Ben’s girlfriend has just accused him of being “repressed,” and a “sexual racist,” (to which he responds, appropriately, “I don’t even know what that means!”) because she wishes Ben were into rougher sex, which has thrown a wrench into their relationship.

Well-observed dialogue reveals the characters’ depth and shallowness. When Colton exclaims, “We’re Ernest Hemingway and Jack Kerouac!” we know that not only has Colton likely never read either of their books but also his exclamation is so far from the truth that the line drops dead between the two characters as soon as it falls from his lips.

By the end of their wild ride to Montreal, Ben and Colton see each other and themselves differently. Unfortunately, the brilliance of the opening scene, in which the obliviously awful Colton auditions for a part in a film, is never quite equalled in the rest of this solidly entertaining film directed by Bruce Van Dusen. But the combination of good acting, a clever soundtrack, sharp dialogue, and unexpected situations make this crew one to watch.