Archives for posts with tag: road movies

“Coupe de Ville” was a mediocre snowflake in the avalanche of period, coming-of-age movies released around 1990. Like the others, it looks back wistfully at the late 1950s-early 1960s and tries to impart some kind of simplistic, baby-boomer value lesson. The lesson here seems to be that warts and all, it’s still important to stay connected to one’s family. My biggest takeaway from this road movie was the family that screams together stays together. Geez! The yelling!! Enough already!!! I thought uptight Daniel Stern (playing the oldest of three stereotypical, bickering brothers) was going to drop dead at any minute.

Editor’s note: This is part of a series of posts that highlight storytelling techniques repeatedly recycled in film. I’ll post a link to these within some of my reviews in order to save words and keep from driving myself crazy writing the same thing over and over.

Two people (sometimes more, usually two) with very different personalities must travel a long distance. Hijinks ensue, putting the two at odds and exposing the true character in each. Travel trouble typically builds to a boiling point, which may or may not be the climax. There is an epiphany, a reconciliation and one (or both) learn a little something about themselves (aww). If we haven’t had a climax yet, we start steaming toward it. If post-climax, there’s often a twist in the denouement (ouch!). The less sappy, the better the film, but this plot structure typically leans toward the sappy.

A mismatched pair of protagonists has to travel a long distance for an important reason. Friction abounds. Hijinks ensue. There’s an epiphany along the way. We’re not so different after all. It’s the plot for something like 852 different movies. “Soul Men” (2008) is one of those movies. Thankfully, Samuel L. Jackson and Bernie Mac are the protagonists and the backstory is interesting (estranged former Motown artists reunite) so the trip is relatively enjoyable. But like a lot of these movies, there’s hijink overkill and you get to the point where you’re like, “Geez, can they just get there already?”