A terrific road movie that deserved a wider audience. John Doe (of X) is Joe, a plant worker who finds himself on a journey to Jackpot, Nevada, where he aims to scatter the ashes of a casual buddy electrocuted by a video game. Joining him for the ride is Sam (Beastie Boy Adam “Ad Rock” Horovitz), a nutcase who looks for his long-lost parents in every Motel 9 he comes across. As these guys tour the desert on their motorcycles, writer/director Abbe Wool (also cowriter of Sid & Nancy) presents the expanse of the country as a strange but unthreatening landscape of the mind, where such oddballs as Timothy Leary, Arlo Guthrie, a dope-smoking David Carradine, and John Cusack (as Caspar the dine-and-dasher) turn up.
Doe and Horovitz give killer performances, putting the kibosh on the old myth that musicians suck as actors. Wool has said she doesn’t want the movie compared with Easy Rider, but it’s fair to point out that it speaks to its generation (X) in about the same way that Easy Rider spoke to hippies. Anyone who ever wanted to chuck everything and take off will relate to it, but the film appeals specifically to those who have settled for less, who don’t expect much in particular out of life except a few good moments, and who don’t pass judgment on loonies. Roadside Prophets at its best is a glowing (but never didactic) ode to nonconformity. Great soundtrack by Pray for Rain, the Pogues, Beastie Boys, and many others.