German writer-director Michael Schorr apparently knows a niche genre with financial potential when he sees one. The first hit film that this title is probably patterned on is Jack Nicholson's About Schmidt, a movie about an aging man's life being turned around by loss. But before we go thinking of Schmidt as the absolute model for Schultze, consider Schmidt's predecessor, Richard Farnsworth's The Straight Story, a 1999 surprise hit that has been sending formulaic clones like this one (and Schmidt!) into theatrical orbit ever since. Fortunately, reappearances aren't regular.
In Straight, Farnsworth made his slow journey on a souped-up tractor along the highways and road stops of America aiming to visit an old buddy once more before he died. Not much of a motivational factor but it's the journey that counts. In Schmidt, Nicholson's travels consist of taking off in his trailer home for a visit with his daughter in another state on the occasion of her wedding.
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