Sunday, April 30, 2006
RV: the new Robin Williams movie
Ever since we heard about a group of RVers going to see a special showing of RV at the Pomona FMCA show, we've been anxious to see it ourselves. It was released this past Friday, and we saw it Friday night. We went to our local drive-in theatre ... oh boy! my favorite! If you have the option to see it at a Drive-in, I highly recommend it. The quality of the movie is significantly improved by adding a bottle of wine! And, your dog can join you. Odie loves Drive-In movies. The first time he saw a monster face outside our windshield, he barked ferociously. But, now he just curls up in the back seat. I'll start with the conclusion: we can't recommend it, even tho we enjoyed it. I don't understand how such a mega-comic-talent as Robin Williams can do stuff that is so stupid. It *could* have been so good, but it wasn't. For example, in the 1954 Lucy & Desi movie, The Long Long Trailer (a really good comedy about RV life), Desi is in a position where he has to back the trailer into a driveway. He is being very careful. You can feel his worry and his sweat having to make this difficult maneuver. Lucy is trying, sweetly but ineptly, to guide him. Even doing his very best, he knocks over the mailbox, takes down a some rose bushes, and, I think he breaks part of the front door. It's *funny* because he's trying so hard, and he messes up so bad. If you've ever had to drive an RV, you relate, and you laugh. By contrast, when Robin Williams first drives this huge bus of an RV, he acts like it's a Corvette. He punches the gas, makes a 3-point turn totally oblivious to the trees and concrete posts that he is hitting and knocking down on the way. It's not funny, it's just stupid. In Long, Long Trailer there's a scene where they are driving in the mountains. The drop off is very scary and you can see their white knuckles and fearful expressions. They have extreme trouble getting up the grade and the camera focuses on Lucy's guilt-ridden face because she knows how many rocks she has collected along the way and stored in the trailer even tho Desi told her not to. For all of us who have struggled with our RV's Gross Vehicle Weight Ratings, we relate, and it's a riot. In RV, Robin Williams also finds himself driving on a rough mountain road. The RV ends up balanced on a rock and he runs from the back of the bus to the front in an attempt to tip the balance into moving forward. He finally climbs out to the front bumper and holds on to the windshield wipers. At that point, the bus does start going forward, charging downhill to what should be certain death for Williams. But no, he is thrown to the ground, the RV rolls over him and comes to a rest right in the parking space he left earlier that morning. He gets up, brushes himself off, and pretends that nothing ever happened. If you see him as Wile E Coyote in a Roadrunner cartoon - you may enjoy that sequence - but not as anything approaching a real RV experience. So, why did we enjoy it? Because of Jeff Daniels' character and his family, the Gornickes. They are full-time RVers. They even home-school their kids on the road. They live in a beautiful custom bus conversion. They are originally portrayed as hillbilly-like simpletons who are overly friendly. Robin Williams' family spends most of the movie trying to get away from them. But, the Gornickes develop thru the movie. You learn that they are educated and intelligent, they just seem simple because they enjoy themselves so much! They make a living selling musical horns. Their horn plays the theme song to Star Trek! ... I want one! ... What is portrayed as 'overly-friendly' is actually overly-helpful. The Gornickes are everything that is wonderful about the RV lifestyle and it's fun to watch them. I read an article in a recent RV magazine, all about Jeff Daniels. He is an RVer. In fact, he drove his RV to the location for filming this movie. He describes driving the RV as meditation ... 'vehicular meditation' ... isn't that great? By the end of the movie, even Williams' teenagers, who *hated* the idea of an RV vacation, warm up to the family experience. With all the stupid problems they encounter, the RV trip does bring the family closer together in spite of them. It ends, not with arriving back home, but with the kids asking, "Can we keep going? Can we visit Yellowstone?"