Roadie [Blu-Ray] Alan Rudolph

Roadie [Blu-Ray] Alan Rudolph
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The story of how a Texas beer truck driver becomes the world's greatest stagehand, Roadie is like a seedier cousin of The Blues Brothers, even going so far as to provide a cameo by a couple of Jake and Elwood lookalikes, in a nod to the John Landis comedy that opened just a week later in the summer of 1980. Despite suffering from a scattershot approach that couldn't help but render the film wildly uneven, it has a persistent goofy charm and chaotic nature that keep things from ever sliding too far into the mundane. This is helped by the fact that the titular hayseed, Travis Redfish, is ably embodied by Meatloaf, in a performance that derives much of its humour from the character's naïve, but good-natured outlook. As he's been taught by his father (Art Carney), an eccentric old coot who lives a sedentary lifestyle in front of a wall of TVs, "everything works, if you let it." It's no surprise, then, that when he finds himself lugging Hank Williams Jr.'s equipment to help out a pretty girl with the equally ridiculous name of Lola Bouilliabase (Kaki Hunter), he takes the opportunity and runs with it. Traveling to places like Los Angeles and NYC while working for music industry bigwig Mohammed Johnson (Don Cornelius), he's soon using his technical expertise to set up at concerts for big-name acts like Blondie while begrudgingly trying to help aspiring groupie Lola fulfill her dream of sleeping with Alice Cooper. The musicians provide some of the film's best moments, with Blondie and her band tearing through an energetic cover of Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire" before gleefully destroying an elegant ballroom. Cooper, showing the same self-awareness that would later serve him well when informing audiences about Milwaukee in Wayne's World, takes great pleasure in skewering the gap between his devilish on-stage persona and gawky real-life appearance. There are quite a few tangents in the episodic story that are less than enthralling though, including a sequence involving some confusion between cocaine and laundry detergent, and the insistence on periodically checking in on Travis's family back home. A commentary track with the "real life" Travis Redfish, one James "Big Boy" Medlin, and his screenplay co-writer, Michael Ventura, is largely unremarkable. Besides touching upon the print origins of the Travis character and what it was like working with the various musicians, the commentary only comes to life when Ventura details some of the contentious relations between himself, director Alan Rudolph and producer Zalman King. (Shout! Factory)