Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB
USA/Japan, 1996. Lakeshore Entertainment, JVC Entertainment Networks, Largo Entertainment, Lemon Sky Productions. Screenplay by Tom DiCillo. Cinematography by Paul Ryan. Produced by Thomas A. Bliss, Marcus Viscidi. Music by Jim Farmer. Production Design by Therese DePrez. Costume Design by Ellen Lutter. Film Editing by Camilla Toniolo.
Unhappy company man Al (John Turturro) is facing the advancement of age and can’t decide what to do to unwind. Upon having one of his big engineering projects in the middle of Tennessee get cancelled, he decides to rent a car and throw caution to the wind, maybe drive around and look for a little inspiration.
Along the way, he meets the very independently-minded Buck (Sam Rockwell) who lives in the middle of clearing, wears a Davy Crockett costume and steals garden gnomes for a living. By the end of his adventure with Buck, not to mention encounters with unhappy phone sex operator Floaty (Catherine Keener) and a really psychotic mechanic (Dermot Mulroney), Al learns a little more about himself and what’s been keeping him back.
Tom DiCillo’s style is surreal and dreamy, and the performances are all fine, especially Keener as the vulnerable Southern belle in the making. Rockwell is endearing in a role that would normally be irritating, and Turturro is at his least annoying. Annie Corley also stars as Al’s bewildered wife.
Toronto International Film Festival: 1996