In modern contemporary cinema, more specifically american cinema, there’s one specific sub-genre of film that somehow pop’s up once in awhile, either for better or for worse. This is of course the common road trip flick. We’ve all seen at least one. Two or more people in an insulated vehicle, talking and meandering with each other with a previously existing goal that changes before the resolution, so that the film can make more drama and fake/stilted character development. In some ways, it’s very similar to the buddy cop genre, with an exception of the amount of characters which can be in a scenario. What gripes me the most about this sub-genre, is the amount of Sundance wannabe’s who come out of film school, nearly in debt, trying to make a half baked road trip flick that would just end up lost in translation after it’s initial release. One of the few lucky bastards who somehow made it out of the inferno was Hannah Fidell, and her latest flick The Long Dumb Road.
Just like what the title suggests, The Long Dumb Road is a overly dragged idiotic think piece that neither gives proper resolution or development to any of its characters. It attempts to impersonate itself as a film of higher being, pretending that it’s over usages of pop culture references substitutes the lack of plot and character development. Because of this, the film never feels like it goes anywhere. It’s more of collection of vignettes starring two of the most predictable and obnoxious characters put on film in 2018, doing the most nonsensical and irrational actions that don’t correlate with their pre-existing arks. It’s essentially begging to be the next “Dude Bro” film without having any recollection of how grown adult males act like.
To make a great road trip film, you need empathetic characters, heart, and a justifiable reason for the film’s existence. My personal favorite film from this sub-genre is easily Little Miss Sunshine, a poignant look at family dysfunctional and the effects of capitalism from the point of view of an ordinary American mid-income family. The Long Dumb Road attempts to create a few interesting points on education and the all too common theme of living life to the fullest, but the film fails due to its inability to start a rising action and end in a climax. It’s derivative, pointless entertainment. If you have nothing new to say, why say it at all?
Although I may seem harsh, The Long Dumb Road is a perfect example of what not to do when playing around with a sub-genre. It’s attempts at revitalizing and submerging tropes from previous films of the genre, but the film fell flat on its face doing so, due to the lack of self awareness from Fidell and Co. The Long Dumb Road may have its moments of witty humor and amusing performances, but at the end of the day, there’s no reason to support films like these when you have other films from the genre which contain a similar plot which are much better in terms of quality and conception.
The Long Dumb Road will hit cinemas and VOD on November 16th