'Roadie' Shockya.com Movie Review, Written by: Karen Benardello
Director: Michael Cuesta (‘L.I.E.’)
Starring: Ron Eldard (‘Super 8′), Bobby Cannavale, Jill Hennessy and Lois Smith (‘True Blood’)
Rarely does a screenwriter-director have the courage to create an authentic main character who longs for, and struggles to let go of, the past. But Michael Cuesta, who penned the new drama ‘Roadie’ with his brother Gerald, and served as the film’s director, created a believable protagonist in Jimmy Testagross, who’s afraid to admit his professional failures and be himself. ‘Roadie’ is the ultimate testament to people who want to do what makes them happy, but succumb to the pressure of pleasing their families and friends.
‘Roadie’ chronicles the immediate 24 hours after Jimmy (played by Ron Eldard) is fired from being the roadie for his childhood heroes, Blue Oyster Cult. Since he spent the past 20 years touring with the band, he has no where to go, with no other job prospects. So he returns to his childhood home in Forest Hills, New York, to visit his mother (portrayed by Lois Smith). Afraid to admit that he lost his job, and not wanting anyone thinking he’s a failure, Jimmy tells his mother and his neighbors that he’s actually Blue Oyster Cult’s manager, and has written several songs for them.
While deciding to look around the old neighborhood, he visits a local bar and crosses paths with his old high school nemesis, Randy Stevens (played by Bobby Cannavale), who he hasn’t seen since they graduated. Jimmy discovers that Randy is married to his high school girlfriend, Nikki (portrayed by Jill Hennessy). The three spend the night reconnecting over their high school memories and love of music. Jimmy comes to realize there’s more to life than living in the past, and only being concerned with what other people think of him.
While Cuesta didn’t include much of an external conflict between Jimmy and the rest of the characters, he created a true-to-life protagonist trying to deal with the struggles of everyday life. Jimmy lives in the past, as he longs to recreate his glory days of high school and when he was an appreciated member of Blue Oyster Cult’s crew. While touring with the band was what made him happy, to some degree he feels his profession isn’t admirable enough to the outside world. He believes the only way people will accept him is if they think he was the only in control of the band’s tour, and is a real leader to the group.
Even though Jimmy strives to better himself in his career to make himself happier and to garner more respect from everyone he knew from his childhood, Eldard effectively portrayed him as being afraid to try to achieve his dream. Jimmy’s perfectly willing to blame his father for smashing his dreams of becoming a musician when he was a child. As the actor has said, before Jimmy’s father died, he made the mistake of smashing his son’s guitar, which led Jimmy to leave their family home and never return.
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