The Scoop: R 2002, directed by Bob Gale and starring James Marsden, Gary Oldman, Chris Cooper, and Christopher Lloyd
Tagline: All your answers will be questioned.
Summary Capsule: A young man at a crossroads in his life meets a mysterious stranger and must deliver a package by using a nonexistent interstate.
Eunice’s Rating: When the gods wish to punish us, they answer our prayers.
Eunice’s Review: You know, I really thought Interstate 60 had already been reviewed. Then while putting together some retro reviews I realized I was wrong. It is now time to rectify the situation!
Neal has just turned twenty-two and needs to figure out the rest of his life. He’s an artist at heart, but his father is pressuring him to go to law school. He has a psychoanalyzing girlfriend, but knows that his true love is the, literal, girl of his dreams. Having gotten his final rejection for an art scholarship, he’s on the brink of excepting the fate everyone else has laid out for him and his dreams dying out.
Then after a series of “coincidences” introduces him to a couple of strange characters, he’s offered a job: Take a mysterious package, that he’s not allowed to lose, open, or figure out what’s inside, to a mysterious recipient by taking a road that doesn’t exist – Interstate 60. He’s encouraged to take his time on the way and create some “stories of the road,” but is warned that there is a killer out there. He ends up signing a contract. In blood.
Interstate 60 is an odd little movie. For me, and it may not be the same for everyone, it’s like if you took Neal Gaiman’s American Gods, mixed it with John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, sprinkled it with some Twilight Zone, and turned it into an upbeat movie, this is what you’d get.
It opens with someone saying that America has no mythology. The argument is made that it isn’t that we don’t have a mythology, but we’re so young we can’t see that we do. Every superstition, old wives tale, piece of folk lore, urban legend is our mythology. Also, according to the movie, we’re conditioned as we get older to not see.
Neal still has the ability to “see” which is why he is chosen to deliver the spooky Mr. Ray’s package. On the way he picks up a hitchhiker, O.W. Grant. The O.W. stands for One Wish. He’s a half leprechaun, half Cheyenne immortal who has the ability to grant a person one wish. Only, like most wish granters, his wishes tend to come back on the wishers. See, most people make wishes grounded in frivolous or negative things. He’s a “joker in Life’s deck.”
Well, Neal’s birthday wish is an Answer. An Answer to his life to be exact. O.W. happens to like Neal’s wish and takes a shine to him. He gives him an omniscient Magic 8 Ball and the advice that “there are no coincidences” and “every event is inevitable.” He’s directed through his trip by signs with his dream girl, signs that no one else but fellow romantics and dreamers can see.
And he needs that direction. Along the way he meets, is tempted by, and made wiser by the people and towns he comes across. They’re all looking for something, the truth, euphoria, the perfect [sexual encounter], it’s why Interstate 60 exists. But like O.W.’s wishes their intent determines their outcome. Sometimes Neal missteps, but deep down he’s an honest and hopeful guy.
Neal’s trip is kinda of a road trip through the Deadly Sins with satire. Instead of getting preachy, I-60 tempers its fantastical morality tale with humor. And lots of cursing. This movie is terribly clever and jam packed with an amazing cast and everyone is top notch. Nobody is in it for very long, but they all make the most of the screen time they’re given. Gary Oldman, Kurt Russell, Ann-Margret, and Chris Cooper are decidedly my favorites.
While you can watch it on your own just fine, if you have a group of friends who like to pick apart movies, this is a good one to see what everyone gets out of it and what they think it means.
And if you don’t want to get all deep and heavy in your movie thinking, then approach it as a moving that opens with Michael J. Fox swearing a blue streak, and has a romantic fart joke.
- The red ace of spades – Ahh!
- O.W.’s aliases
- The simpatico test
- James Marsden with a X-Men comic – funny.
- There is, however, a U.S. 60
Neal: There’s this theory: Given an infinite universe and infinite time, all things will happen. That means that every event is inevitable, including those that are impossible. And it’s as good an explanation for all this as anything else.
Tolbert: Now, midgets are notorious skirt chasers.
Kirby: Everything in life is high school, they just change the names!
Ray: The journey of life always includes the possibility of death.
O.W. Grant: Well what do you want kid? I just gave you not one explanation, but six!
O.W. Grant: As I say, messing with people’s heads can be a lot of fun. You should try it.
Mr. Cody: Say what you mean, mean what you say.
Neal: You make Mike Tyson sound like a college graduate.
Neal: On this highway, the past and the future, the what ifs and the maybes, get jumbled up.
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