I don’t know if THE OPEN ROAD counts as an Overlooked Movie, but I’d never heard of it, so I think it does for me, anyway. And it’s a good film, to boot.
As you’d expect from the title, this is a road movie. Justin Timberlake plays a minor-league baseball player in Corpus Christi, Texas, and some of the movie was filmed there, with some very recognizable landmarks like the Nueces Bay bridge in the background, leading me to say, “I’ve been there!” Anyway, the character’s mother (played by Mary Steenburgen) is in bad health and needs an operation, but she won’t consent to it unless her ex-husband is there. That ex-husband, a former star baseball player, has been estranged from the family for years, but Steenburgen prevails on Timberlake to go looking for him and bring him back. The charming, ne’er-do-well ex-husband is played by a perfectly cast Jeff Bridges. Timberlake locates him at a baseball card show in Ohio, and they start driving back to Texas together, accompanied by Timberlake’s former girlfriend (Kate Mara).
That’s your movie, right there. THE OPEN ROAD makes its way leisurely across the country, with the three travelers meeting colorful characters along the way and working out their emotional problems amongst themselves. It’s only mildly funny and mildly dramatic, but somehow it adds up to a pretty good film, carried by fine performances by all three of the leads. Bridges is playing a self-destructive character much like the one he played in CRAZY HEART, but I think his performance in THE OPEN ROAD is even better, and I liked this film better than CRAZY HEART, too.
Don’t beat down the doors to see this one. It’s just a quiet little movie. But it’s well worth putting on your Netflix queue, I think.