The Journey Movie Review

OK, here's the setup. Eric Saperston graduates from college, and rather than getting a job, he decides to do the most cliched thing you can do: To buy a VW bus and follow the Grateful Dead around the country.

Erk, scratch that. That's a movie that's been made before -- a lot, and never very well.

Saperston decides then to create a "multimedia speaking tour" that he can take to colleges. I don't know what a multimedia speaking tour is our exactly how this would be displayed at these colleges, but it does involve a video camera and a laptop -- which is purchased by funding from sponsorship money from UPS and Coca-Cola.

The Journey chronicles Saperston's project as it's created -- and recreated, and deconstructed -- from the breakdowns of the bus to the grilled cheese sandwiches Eric sells to make gas money. Eventually Saperston comes up with some interviews -- including ex-Texas governer Ann Richards and the estranged father of one of Saperston's passengers/buddies.

This documentary bounces around from minor celeb to family histrionics to the interpersonal relationships among Saperston and his skeleton crew (hey, the new cameraperson can shoot tape and eat french fries simultaneously!). And eventually -- at long last -- Saperston gets around to telling his story, which is... what? It's that celebrities must know something because their celebrities, right? The insights from folks like Henry Winkler and FBI director Bill Sessions are largely the typical go-get-'em motivational claptrap that I've heard umpteen times before in forced seminars at various jobs of the past in dying companies. And strangely, these interviews take up maybe a quarter of the movie, as Saperston continues to incessantly focus the movie on himself. Saperston turns into youth mentor himself, dispensing aphorisms about caterpillars and butterflies to kids he meets and one particularly memorable sad sack: a guy who decides to quit his job at Kinko's. But frankly, I didn't care about any of this and especially not one bit about Eric's attempt to get his "project" on the big (or small) screen. Is that what "the journey" refers to?

So for a film about helping kids to learn from their elders, what insight does Saperston trying to get an agent and pitching his ideas to Disney have for us? How does Eric firing his incompetent pal teach us what old people know? Perhaps the most telling moment is Saperston's admission in one meeting that he can't see people listening to this stuff for a whole hour, and that it'd be best as a half-hour TV show. The Journey is 90 minutes long.

By the way, have you seen Anthem? Same deal. Of course, I'm a smug bastard who thinks he knows everything... so it's safe to say The Journey is not for me. Channel your inner teenager and maybe you'll get a kick out of it.


Comments

The Journey Rating

" Grim "

Rating: NR, 2001

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