DVD Review: Roadie

STUDIO: Magnolia | DIRECTOR: Michael Cuesta | CAST: Ron Eldard, Jill Hennessy, Bobby Cannavale, Lois Smith
BLU-RAY & DVD RELEASE DATE: 3/20/2012 | PRICE: DVD $26.98, Blu-ray $29.99
BONUSES: HDNet featurette, photo gallery
SPECS: R | 95 min. | Drama | widescreen | stereo | English and Spanish subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie  | Audio  | Video  | Overall

In the independent drama film Roadie, Jimmy (Ron Eldard, Super 8), a longtime roadie for the rock band Blue Oyster Cult, is unceremoniously dumped by the band and is forced to move back in with his mother (Lois Smith, Please Give) in Forest Hills, Queens, as he plans his next move—if indeed he has a next move.

Roadie movie scene

Ron Eldard (l.) and Bobby Cannavale lend an ear to the rock'n'roll in Roadie.

That Jimmy’s been the band’s equipment hauler for some 26 years and not their manager is something he doesn’t want anyone to know, so he begins “exaggerating” his past upon arrival. This doesn’t mean much to his aging mom, but it does seem to put him in a more respectable light with his old girlfriend (Jill Hennessy, Small Town Murder Songs), who’s been married to Jimmy’s long-ago nemesis (Bobby Cannavale, Win Win) for years while still hoping for a singer-songwriter career. and  The truth is bound to out come over the course of Jimmy’s first day and night back home (which comprises the majority of the movie), but not before the three former high school friends replay all the anger, joys and frustrations that marked their teenage years. They always seem to get unleashed so easily when one returns home…

Co-written and directed by Michael Cuesta (TV’s Homeland), Roadie’s themes are similar to the recent Young Adult—a 40ish year old adult returns home, realizes that the game of life is more-or-less at the 50-year-line and that professional options and personal fulfillment aren’t nearly as realistic to attain as they were twenty years earlier. Unlike Young Adult, Roadie doesn’t aim for satirical laughs or even uncomfortable ones. Rather, it presents its characters as straight-forward people who don’t carry around any complex agendas save for enjoying what they’ve got one day at a time, be it partying in a local motel room or sucking down some beers at the town watering hole. Only Jimmy, the most complex character of the bunch, lives a lie as he inflates the realities of his both past life  and his potential future, which doesn’t look like its going to include any more rock-n-roll road adventures.

With its deliberate pacing, rambling dialogue and location-specific references (veteran Long Island rockers The Good Rats frequently pop up in the script and on the soundtrack), Roadie smacks of indie flavor, personality and, yes, pride. It’s performances, though, led by Long Island native Eldard, make it a tastier choice than a lot of the others floating around out there.

The DVD’s sole supplement is an HDNet featurette offering an enthusiastic look at the film.

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About Laurence

Founder and editor Laurence Lerman saw Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest when he was 13 years old and that’s all it took. He has been writing about film and video for more than a quarter of a century for magazines, anthologies, websites and most recently, Video Business magazine, where he served as the Reviews Editor for 15 years.