After 20 years on the road with Blue Oyster Cult, Jimmy Testagros returns to his hometown to life with his ailing mother. Complications arise when he falls for an old friend, who is now married to his longtime nemesis.
For over 20 years, Jimmy Testagross has lived his childhood dream: being a roadie for his childhood heroes, Blue Oyster Cult. But the band's Arena-Rock glory days are a distant memory. County fairs and club gigs pay the bills. And Jimmy has become a casualty of these leaner times. With no place to go, no job prospects, and no real skills outside of being a roadie, Jimmy needs to regroup. So he returns to his childhood home in Queens, Ny. There, he revisits old relationships: his ailing, widower mom, a high school crush, a former nemesis and, most importantly, his relationship with himself. Jimmy, the middle-aged man-child, has never grown up. He still carries the resentments and frustrations of his youth, and has allowed them to fester and define who and what he is. Confronted with his mother's illness, Jimmy has a choice: let go of the past and take responsibility for both himself and the woman who raised and now needs him. Or continue to live a life of lies and frustration. Written by
Is this movie a musical tribute to roadies who vicariously act out their rock-n-roll fantasies through the live performances of their employers or is it a musical rebuke of all forms of career mediocrity that settle for a greasy hamburger without even looking at the gourmet steak menu? For me, it was both.
Many scenes had the realistic look and feel of a low-budget documentary that exposes the dreary monotony of people talking a lot but saying very little. But other scenes played out more like attention-captivating music videos where the classic-rock song playing in the background was perfectly synchronized with the fleeting frames of film it was linked to in such a way as to reveal more in a few musical measures than even the most eloquently constructed lines of dialog could ever hope to express using the medium of the written-to-spoken word.
Thematic elements of Roadie dealt with connecting to people and places from one's past but despite being portrayed under the center-stage spotlight of honesty, these themes are never totally submerged in a bottomless pool of pessimism where hopelessness and despair become deadly poisons to those who dare to dream and dream to dare. Instead, I found a few rays of sunny optimism shining through the dark clouds of experiential adversity and disappointment as though to subtly suggest that just as wisdom is gained from taking an honest look at the many seeds of mistakes (erroneous judgment) sown in the gardens of the past so can wisdom be applied to improving the blossoming realization of the future by making better (wiser) choices in the decision-sprouting reality of the present moment!
Led Zeppelin said it better than I ever could in a line from the lyrics from their 1971 hit, Stairway to Heaven: "There's still time to change the road you're on."
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