Sunday, 21 April 2013

Interstate 60: Episodes Of The Road (2002)

Written and directed by Bob Gale, Interstate 60: Episodes Of The Road is a highly entertaining blend of Eerie Indiana, Big Fish and, well, Road Trip. It feels slightly disjointed, but the title gives a clue to that (although it's often just called Interstate 60 on the marketing and packaging nowadays - I just listed the full title as it is on IMDb).

Gary Oldman is a red-haired trickster by the name of O. W. Grant, a man who spends his time smoking his monkey-head pipe and granting wishes, but he grants wishes in very twisted and unexpected ways. He's like a PG version of the djinn from the Wishmaster movies. James Marsden plays a young man named Neal Oliver, wishing for some answers in his life just as O. W. Grant is within earshot. Interested, Grant decides to arrange a little road trip for Neal. He must deliver a package on a journey that will take him along Interstate 60. Of course, there isn't an Interstate 60. At least, that's what Neal thinks until he's shown a different view of things. He continues along the road in his car, meeting various characters and getting into one or two strange situations along the way.

I enjoyed this movie from the very beginning, the first few scenes features a great moment with Gary Oldman and Michael J. Fox that sums up the devious playfulness of O. W. Grant, but as it continued I started to love it. It manages to be funny and quirky in a way that doesn't scream in viewers faces about how funny and quirky it's being. People may disagree with me on that, but I think that the way in which everything was added on, one character at a time, helped move the film from normality to outright whackiness. As a viewer, I felt very much like that metaphorical frog sitting in water that I didn't notice was being constantly increased ever so slightly towards boiling point.

Despite, compared to some, not really having THAT much in his filmography, Gale does a solid job with the direction of the film. That's probably thanks to the fact that he's filming his own script and writing has been his forte for the past five decades. There's nothing too spectacular on display, but nothing too clumsy either.

Marsden is his usual pleasant self in the role, Oldman has more fun than usual, Christopher Lloyd adds another eccentric character to his list of eccentric characters, Chris Cooper is fantastic as a man who cannot stand anyone lying to him, Amy Smart performs better than usual and Kurt Russell has fun in a small role, playing the police captain of a small town that has legalised a highly addictive drug and allows anyone to party as hard as they like in return for various civic duties.

If you don't like quirky, rather lightweight films then avoid this one like the plague. But if you enjoyed any of the titles I mentioned in the first paragraph then you may want to watch this at least once and see if you enjoy it as much as I did. It goes a bit too far into the ludicrous for a few minutes (involving a lawyer and a big bunch of other lawyers), but it still charms and entertains far more than hundreds of other better-known titles that you could pick from the last decade.


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