on December 11, 2003
Highway (James Cox, 2002)
There are any number of reasons to watch James Cox's first feature film, Highway (not least of which because Cox directed one of 2003's most talked-about and controversial films, Wonderland). It's hard to say the film itself is one of them, oddly enough.
It centers around two stoned-out buddies, Pilot (the always wonderful Jake Gyllenhaal) and Jack (Jared Leto, looking for all the world like Charlie Sheen in Repo Man here). Jack, the womanizer, has found himself in bed with the wrong woman, the trophy wife of a mob boss, and needs to get out of Las Vegas. He and Pilot head for Seattle after one of the most surreal drug buys in all of film (the dealer played by Jeremy Piven, recently seen in Black Hawk Down and Very Bad Things, deserves a film all to himself). Along the way, they find themselves repeatedly entangled with a homeless runaway (Selma Blair) and an old hippie trying to get to Seattle for the Kurt Cobain vigil (John C. McGinley). The stage is set, and the movie makes its Easy Rider-esque way through the West.
The main reason to see this movie is that Jake Gyllenhaal and Jared Leto are fantastic actors. Blair (soon to be in the much-hyped Hellboy) and McGinley make great foils for the two. I'd be hard-pressed to call this a comedy, but it does have its share of uncomfortably funny lines. It ends up, however, being (as odd as this sounds) a lighthearted tale about the myriad ways in which one's dreams can be shattered.
Did I like it? I still haven't figured that out. Would I recommend it? Without hesitation. *** ½