When Slade Sohmer moved on from running this site in 2008, I reluctantly took the reins having no prior experience in editing or leading a team of contributors. Two days after taking over I was contacted by one of my favorite writers, Randy Ray, who wanted to pen a column about movies for HT. I was so honored and felt that if Randy was interested in writing for us, we must have something special here. Now, four years later, Randy, who quickly became a friend, has filed his last Hidden Flick column. We can’t thank him enough for all his hard work and for believing in Hidden Track. – SB
We find ourselves at the end of our little journey. After five seasons, five special editions, and 80 columns in pursuit of hidden cinematic gems, we close the door on Hidden Flick with a final look at a film that either has some sort of secret truth or weary wisdom. Now, I use the word weary because, in many respects, the films canvassed in this ‘little column that could’ seemed to be about souls that were either at the proverbial crossroads, or burned out.
Burned out. One would hesitate to use that phrase about oneself. However, it is a clear indication of the interest level in life when most of the films discussed seek questions, instead of answers. Because it is the questions that keep us moving forward; whereby, the answers, oftentimes given for some need for clarity, are occasionally not only incorrect, but misleading, as well.
In Michael Cuesta’s 2011 film, Roadie, the main character returns home as a worn-down caricature of himself, desperately trying to maintain his hold on the bottom rung of stardom. He was a roadie for Blue Öyster Cult for 26 years, and now, even that fleeting chance at something bigger, something larger than himself, something truly ROCKING, has died out.
Indeed, played by Ron Eldard with quiet grace and formidable self-loathing, the film portrays a world that no longer seems to exist within a very outdated atmosphere. Eldard’s character returns home to find a mother, living alone after losing his father, her husband, and she is slowly losing her grip on short term memory. However, she has a strong grasp of parenting, and doesn’t provide any easy answers, or quick motherly love, to sooth the soul of our anti-hero.
It is that performance, played by the great Lois Smith, with a charming lack of sentimentality that cements the film into an area almost always overlooked—sometimes, you can go home again, but the ones you find may not only have changed, but they have changed more than you should have. And that is the key to this film—change of heart; change of perception; change of truth; change of mind; change of attitude.
Further bolstering the cast are Jill Hennessey as an old would-be high school flame, and Bobby Cannavale, a nemesis of Eldard’s back in high school, who has barely matured himself. What they bring to the film is an aura of deep misunderstanding of what it is to be a couple, while Eldard stands on the sidelines of their marriage, thinking of Hennessey as the light at the end of his tunnel, without realizing that she, perhaps, is just as misguided in her actions as he.
In the end, the film, like this column, presented a way out of the trap of the burned-out/dead-end/shapeless path that can appear up ahead, until one looks at the light in a different way. I was fortunate to write for Scotty Bernstein for several years, amassing these 80 columns in a very enjoyable fashion, without ever realizing that the work was the hidden reward. Sometimes, one seeks answers, asks questions, and ponders secret avenues, and the reality is that is the answer—to get your hands dirty in the muck of life IS life. ‘Tis what it is.