Directed by Abbe Wool
New Line Home Video
95 Minutes, $19.99
by Tammy Vrieze
Against the backdrop of the Nevada desert two riders search for their own Eldorado. Rockers John Doe of X and Beastie Boy Adam Horovitz journey toward a mythical utopia to grant a dead stranger’s last wish in the movie Roadside Prophets, a demented 90s version of Easy Rider that loosely follows the story of Leonard Bernstein’s Candide.
John Doe is cool, withdrawn, and one of the mellowest characters ever on the big screen without narcotic influence. He rides a 1957 Harley Panhead that he spent thirteen years piecing together. Spastic Adam rolls on his clapped out 1968 Triumph Bonneville obsessed with the comforts of every Motel 9. Together they hit the road with the ashes of the deceased carried in half of a Harley Fat Bob gas tank. Along the way their friendship develops and their priorities change with the philosophical aid of the bizarre misfits they encounter on their twisted excursion.
Timothy Leary warns against transcendental reality. Arlo Guthrie speaks of the good old days. John Cusack with his boorish table manners reigns as the king of the “dine-and-dash.” And David Carradine strums out folk songs and generously shares his bong.
So what do I think? Roadside Prophets is a fun film to watch. It lacks depth and substance as does every good biker movie, and its sole purpose is to entertain. The film goes beyond B film status due to its plot, higher budget, and the cameo appearances, which add a bit of class. The sound track includes music from the Pogues, Exene Cervenka, Pray For Rain, and, of course, John Doe and the Beastie Boys. As Timothy Leary warns in this film, “Speed kills.”