When amateur country plucker Milo, played by Garret Mathany, accidentally runs over a desert rabbit and a chicken (don't worry, they're hilariously fake), he decides his touring days are over. As if vehicular poultrycide isn't bad enough, he comes home to learn that his girlfriend has dumped him, and suddenly he realizes that his entire family was, is, and always shall be doomed to failure. Offset by his absurdly optimistic brother Johnny Jake, played by Johnny Dowers, what follows is a bizarre and very entertaining road movie with some of the oddest characters since Peewee's Big Adventure.
And I'll let you in on a little secret. Among the bizarre characters are the great Billy Gibbons (guitarist for ZZ Top, if you don't recognize his face you're sure to recognize his beard & "cheap sunglasses") and Mr. Footloose himself Kenny Loggins who appears as a weird hallucination in Milo's delusional fantasies.
As Milo and his brother Johnny Jake travel across the country in their Winnebago playing lame gigs to earn gas money, they pick up the oddest passengers and stumble into the oddest situations which I won't even try to explain.
The story is a lot of fun, and believe it or not there's a nice message to it which materializes at the end when Johnny Jake delivers his big monologue. I'm a big fan of underdog stories especially when they present an interesting new spin, and "Pickin & Grinnin" definitely does that. The music is even pretty good, even if you're not a fan of country/folk. The actors wrote and played the music themselves, and there's some mean mandolin playing by Two-Pint (played by David E. Lane).
If you like funny road movies and comedies about musicians, be sure to check out this flick. Also worth checking out are "Thunderstruck" (2004) about a bunch of aging AC/DC fans who attempt to travel across Australia to bury their buddy next to Bon Scott, and "Grand Theft Parsons" (2003) the supposedly true and definitely funny story about two guys who steal the body of singer Gram Parsons and drive him all through the desert.
And it goes without saying that you must see the Christopher Guest classics: "This Is Spinal Tap" (funniest heavy metal movie ever) and "A Mighty Wind" (funniest folk music movie ever).
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