Directed by Michael Cuesta
What do you do after you're unceremoniously dumped from your dream job? That's the problem facing Jimmy (Ron Eldard), a Blue Oyster Cult roadie who's just been fired after 20 years with the band. With nowhere to go, he returns to his old Forest Hills neighborhood, to an aging, forgetful mother and a place where everyone either escaped years ago, or abandoned their dreams and settled down. Two such residents are childhood tormentor Randy (Bobby Cannavale) an arrogant, drug-snorting car dealer, and his wife Nikki (Jill Hennessy), who's trying to expand her own modest music career. This is more salt in the wound for the already-hurting Jimmy, who had a fling with Nikki when they were teens (illustrated by some nice home-movie-style flashbacks).
Roadie, which played last year's Tribeca Film Festival, may be clichéd at times (it doesn't help that one character actually yells, "You think you're better than me?") but Cuesta and his co-screenwriter (and brother) Gerald get a lot of details right, from the 70s décor of Jimmy's house to his untouched childhood bedroom, complete with orange crates full of vinyl (older Long Islanders may get misty hearing the Good Rats on the soundtrack). Cannavale is a bit over-the-top as the grown-up bully, but for the most part the actors avoid being caricatures, especially Eldard, who projects the right mix of bravado and vulnerability. Despite all the shouting and posturing on display, the film's effectiveness lies in what's left unsaid, and while Jimmy may seem pathetic to some, his story is one many viewers (particularly those of a certain age, and a certain geographic area) may find all too real.
Opens January 6 at Cinema Village)