Roadie | Eastern North Carolina Now

Hanging on by a Thread

   For some mysterious purpose, some broken men may only find themselves when hanging on by a thread. And then again, sometimes they never find themselves, and know well a wasted life. This may have been the end result for Jimmy and then possibly, he grasps a grip on some semblance of meaningful life. So far, in Jimmy's 26 years of being a roadie, that had not been the case.

   One would think that being a roadie for the Long Island legendary ensemble, Blue Oyster Cult, would have been enough for just about any committed Rock'n'Roll fan; however, for Jimmy, played by veteran character actor Ron Eldard, it was beginning to not be enough, especially after the band fired him, and left him to fend for himself somewhere along the back roads of Michigan. With few practical prospects, Jimmy made his way back home to Queens, New York, and consequently, that is when his unraveled life was left with just one thin thread. And Jimmy's tenuous grasp was slipping fast.

   While stuck in Michigan, and then as Jimmy worked his way back across the northern tier back home to Queens, the film used the imagery of a series of near debilitating frustrated cell phone calls to a faceless individual, named Bobby, to express his consternation with his new found worsening situation. This device worked well to convey Jimmy's plight - left with no place to go except his boyhood home, where an aging mother struggled with the onset of dementia.

   Change was in every nook and cranny of Jimmy's life, and not in a good way. His mother, whom he had not seen in years, was slipping away just as Jimmy appeared to be, but with the dignity of the strength of character - a trait, by comparison, he was significantly short of.
Jimmy, with old neighborhood nemesis, Randy, played by Bobby Cannavale: Above.

   Ron Eldard fleshes out Jimmy as if he knows the man well. His interaction with his mother, played by venerable actress Lois Smith is the best part of the film. Even as Jimmy struggles with his personal morass, his diminished mother can still make some sense of his situation.

   He was not so successful with his re-immersion into the neighborhood of Queens. Randy, now grown into a much more successful peer - even married Jimmy's old girlfriend Nikki, played by Jill Hennessey - is still a jerk, and keeps a robust animosity for the downtrodden Jimmy. It really is a "hard-knock life" for the unemployed roadie.

   Asheville, North Carolina's native son Thomas Wolfe once wrote "You Can't Go Home Again." Maybe you can't, but for the road-worn Jimmy, it was his only option.

   Rated R. Released in theaters January 6, 2011. 95 minutes of run time.

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