Joy Ride a Psychopathic Drama Movie

“Joy Ride” is a documentary about two experienced comedians, Bobcat Goldthwait and Dana Gould, who toured together in 2019, had a car accident and continued touring. We see them performing together on stage, in long sections that make us appreciate the rhythm of their respective styles, as well as how their long friendship influences their banter on stage. The set-up makes it look like an American response to “The Trip,” the long-running collaboration between comedians Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon, but it’s a lot more shaggy and low-tech. Probably half consists of footage of Goldthwait and Gould on stage, and the rest is driving them from concert to concert on highways in a variety of weather conditions.

Sometimes the stage material is left to itself, engaged, albeit fragmented and arbitrary. Some of this is brilliant, especially Gould’s Routine about the meanness of chimpanzees, but much of the rest might make you wonder if it really was the best material they had. At other times, the Standup Bits go into autobiographical stories from either comic about their passions, upbringing, and hangups. Goldthwait and Gould come from similar backgrounds — they’re both middle-aged white American men from Roman Catholic homes in upstate New York, who might be generously characterized as dysfunctional-which, by their own admission, is a big part of the reason they click.

Biography Wise, Gould seems to have had the worst of it. There are poignant stories about his mother, a local religious fanatic who prays for the television image of the evangelist Oral Roberts, and the script that Gould is making to demonstrate his deep terror and shame about Masturbation is one of those moments that could dissolve a gathering of friends who thought they were sharing warm childhood anecdotes until one of them told a story that made everyone else’s blood cool, and then ended them with a smile and a laugh of aw-Shucks. That being said, Goldthwait’s family situation wasn’t typical either. His father was an amateur artist who sounds like an anonymous 1970s suburban answer to Goldthwait’s hero, Andy Kaufman. The story of his father and a Jack-in-the-Box gives a picture of points worthy of the Joker.

The film is directed by Goldthwait, a 1980s surprise comic or Anti-Comic, who eventually retired from stand-up to become a writer/director. He gives the material the biting humanistic sensibility he found in films like “World’s Greatest Dad.”He talks a little bit about the decision to change careers here, and it’s impossible not to respect his choice when you hear him talk about the fact that he really doesn’t care if other people consider him a success as long as he can make art on his own terms. (He likes to brag that his films make “hundreds of dollars”.”)

It’s a generally sympathetic effort, but it’s not quite like a stand-alone Film with a recognizable shape and point; rather, it’s a more or less judiciously arranged collection of material. This is neither fish nor poultry, categorical: there is not enough Standup to call it a concert movie, and there is not enough street material to call it a road movie, and there is not enough material that deals with the idea of comedy and humor to justify some of the detours it takes in these sections. And some of these detours are heavily misinterpreted, especially Gould’s Routine about the innate silly of the Ku Klux Klan, as evidenced by his ridiculous outfits. It may have worked as a short play, but it goes on for so long that it gets into that dubious Comic zone of matter that is supposed to show that “the best weapon against hatred is ridicule,” which will be new to the Clan’s goals.

Goldthwait is the most spectacular dog in an even longer story during which he was on a commercial flight with an Olympics special team when an engine exploded. The pilot comes to tell the passengers that they are making an emergency landing on an airport runway covered with flame retardant foam, and when the pilot mentions that there is a fire truck at the end, one of the passengers with Down syndrome exclaims with joy: “fire truck!”Goldthwait imitates the man who said it, and then moves on to a Tangent that turns into a stereotype that people with such problems are holy fools who can find joy from a Situation that could scare everyone.

I wouldn’t go so far as to say that it’s worse than a Routine that makes fun of people with Down syndrome directly. But it’s certainly more disappointing, because Goldthwait is a self-questioning comedian who usually thinks more about what he’s saying, if not what he wants to preserve. He continues on this topic and somehow turns things around by talking about the time he was in a society of actors with Down syndrome when he made a statement that stopped them all at the same time, and one of the actors warned Goldthwait never to do it again. I’m not sure Goldthwait recognizes that the actor he quotes in this anecdote tried to teach him a lesson, and that the story he told just before that proves that he didn’t really listen.

This is not a catastrophic misstep. But it hurts a lot (at least for those who know someone with these problems and are used to being one of the last groups with which stand-up comedians agree). We start thinking about the rest of the film and the filmmaker’s career and wondering how many provocations were thoughtful and thought-provoking, and how many were just a more intellectual version of the comic, to see what he could do. Goldthwait makes it clear in this Film, and in various Interviews, that he makes movies and does comedy for himself. He does not lose sleep over whether someone likes his work, so maybe this note does not mean anything to him, but I still offer it here. I met him. He seems to be kind.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.