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Movie Review: The Loneliest Road in America

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The Loneliest Road in America is an independent movie that uses the guise of a buddy road trip to mask social commentary. Contrary to what you see on screen, this isn’t about three friends on a trip to Los Angeles, at least that’s not just it. The three main characters all represent different conflicts between communities and corporations. I say this to you because unless I tell you this now, you are not going to get that out of this movie. Until I read the plot synopsis, I didn’t even get that out of this movie. Without this information, The Loneliest Road in America just becomes a low budget movie about annoying characters where nothing of any interest really happens.

Colin Michael Day stars as Jamie, a college graduate who has gone on to the prosperous life of bartending after college (note the sarcasm). He's stuck with a dead end job and a really over-the-top suffocating relationship with girlfriend Amanda (Jennifer Devereaux). Sick of it, he and his college best friend Matt (Chris Hayes) go on a road trip to Los Angeles, to find a new job and to meet up with another old college buddy named Gerard (Isaiah Musik-Ayala).

While Jamie has been floundering, Matt has been living the dream, making money and never quite outgrowing his frat boy persona. On the way, Matt picks up Ashley (Abby Leigh), an acquaintance from college (get it — they all went to college together), and Jamie and Ashley begin to fall for one another as they drive along a stretch of highway known as “The Loneliest Road in America” in Nevada. This highway is filled with ghost towns and abandoned buildings, which were once prosperous during the mining boom, but once corporations began to move their interests into Canada and other countries, the towns became decrepit and all but forgotten. As they visit each town, they (and the viewer) get a glimpse into the evils of corporate greed and the effects of exploitation.

I can respect the ideas presented, but the simple truth is that The Loneliest Road in America is illogical, boring, and filled with acting that can best be described as “grating.” The characters are all unlikable and act in irrational ways, especially the character of Matt. He is the most stereotypical douchebag frat boy to have ever been put in a film, and just listening to him almost made me turn off the movie on principle. Everything he says is stupid, and his dialogue is horrible. Chris Hayes plays him completely over the top, but overly so that it’s annoying. Jamie, the main character, is your typical indie brooding schlub who is disenchanted with life. He used to be like Matt, but grew up after college in the sense that he’s not just a drunkard with gelled hair. He spends his time being annoyed at Matt and annoyed at his situation with his girlfriend Amanda and other non-interesting things. Amanda… oh, let’s get to her. She represents the World War II ideal of life, where you get married, have kids, start a family, etc (again, you will NOT get this out of watching the film unless it’s told to you right now).

All Jennifer Devereaux gets to do with the role is leave messages, get irrationally angry over nothing whatsoever, and be the annoying girlfriend every guy fears. Her character is highly unnecessary. The one that acts most irrationally, however, would be Ashley. She is talked into the journey, even though Matt just verbally abuses her and she used to think Jamie was a creep in college. I know girls can make dumb decisions, but going on a road trip with two guys you can’t stand… that’s a logic thing, people. Then, she falls for Jamie even though he has done nothing but sulk and be moody. She’s there to represent some other sort of corporate/community life, but to be honest, it really doesn’t matter, it won’t help you enjoy the movie any more.

All three of these leads act like they have just been plucked out of a community theater production and thrown on the screen. The only one who feels natural is Chris Hayes, but if he is anything like that in real life, he should probably invest in a cup. Everyone delivers their lines so awkwardly and so artificially that it doesn’t allow you to connect with the characters, even though I don’t know if you’re supposed to since they are essentially physical representations of ideas.

The Loneliest Road in America has one or two positive things going for it. First, the scenery is wonderful and it is shot well. Although it’s a low budget affair, the film does well what little it has, choosing to just shoot in the small towns and the outside scenery of the Nevada desert. Some of the shots are beautiful, and DP Tony McGrath needs to be commended for making the movie look great. Also, the best part of the whole movie is a man by the name of Dynamite Bob (I don’t think he’s named in the movie, but he’s the super perverted one and you’ll know what I mean if you see it). Apparently he was a local they just hired in one of the towns they shot in, and his three lines are the funniest lines of the whole movie. It’s sad, but he’s the best actor in the whole thing, and he’s not even acting!

All in all, The Loneliest Road in America is not worth the watch. It tries to say something, but the message is lost with a dumb plot and some of the worst acting and dialogue I have ever heard in a movie. This isn't something I would ever watch again.

You may feel differently though, so please check out the official website.

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About Jonathan Sullivan

  • I didn’t see the whole movie because my husband & I walked out after about half an hour. What struck me most is that the characters exist in a bubble of privilege in which they do not interact with their surroundings – the whole point of a road trip is to interact with your surroundings! I longed for them to have serious car trouble in the middle of nowhere so they’d have to deal with actual people – maybe eventually that happens, but by then we were out of there. If in half an hour a movie can’t produce a character one wants to spend time with, nor a story arc with some dynamism, it’s a failure which deserves no more of our attention.
    The pervasive misogyny (not just characters but probably the filmmaker) was not just offensive but depressing.

  • My apologies on that, I forgot the o when I was typing the URL. Also, I didn’t catch Lewis’ name and he uttered a line someone mentioned Dynamite Bob uttering when they were scouting (in the press stuff) so I put two and two together.

    I do apologize on those two fronts.

  • Jorah Wexler

    Dynamite Bob has no speaking lines. He sits at the end of the bar out of focus. The character that you are talking about is Lewis and he is played by Craig Rose. So please give him the credit that he deserves, especially if you like his performance during the bar scene. Also, the URL to the website doesn’t work. You have it listed down as http://www.loneliestoradinamerica.com when it is really http://www.loneliestroadinamerica.com.