Welcome to the Weekly Movie Thread, your place on the Avocado to discuss films with your fellow commenters. Want to make a recommendation? Looking for recommendations? Want to share your opinions of movies, both new and classic?
When I watched Nomadland, my thought was not toward how we have failed in caring for our elders or how our society is so broken that there are so many people traveling from town to town to take on low paying seasonal jobs. No, my thought was, ”I could totally live in a van.” There is a strange respect to Frances McDormand’s lifestyle. Living on the road, beholden to no rules and no personal attachments, being more one with the land than we cubicle warriors could ever hope to be. She’s a modern day pioneer, that most respected of Wild West professions.
The film is essentially a ”road movie,” which Wikipedia describes as ”a film genre which the main characters leave home on a road trip, typically altering the perspective from their everyday lives.” The genre has been popular in culture since… well, since forever. Ever since Odysseus took the long way home from the Trojan War. Ever since the Monkey King made his journey to the West. Ever since Huck Finn joined Jim down that Big River.
Movies have always had a version of the road movie, though the rhythms feel different in different eras. John Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath feels different from what would come later. (Or shoot, even the Crosby and Hope Road To… pictures.) Jack Kerouac’s On The Road is credited with establishing the template for modern road movies. Per Wikipedia: ”it sketched out the future for the road movie and provided its ‘master narrative’ of exploration, questing, and journeying.”
Alone, our protagonists are often seen as outsiders. Put two people together, and a road movie implies a developing relationship in isolation to the world around them. Sometimes it is romantic. The changing landscape can imply the rapidly changing world around them, one that they observe but can never truly be a part of.
As the great orator Taserface once said, “It’s metaphorical.”
Today’s bonus prompt: what is your favorite road movie?