Riding the Bullet (2005)
Director: Mick Garris
In the â€śdrugs are our friends 60â€™sâ€ť, a young duder (Jackson) with a death fixation, raises his fat thumb in the name of hitching a ride to go see his sick mommy at a far away hospital. His journey winds up being quite the ghoulish bad-trip. Far out man!
The dead travel fast!
"Riding the Bullet" is kool dude Mick Garris's fourth Stephen King cinematic
adaptation (and there's a fifth one on the way named
). The lad has studied at "King Universityâ€ť and in my
useless opinion, graduated with honors when he brilliantly tackled the â€śimpossibleâ€ť with
his take on "The Stand". That weighty experience thankfully shined through in his latest King
book to screen fiesta!
This speed-ball wore its title well where it swiftly and aggressively took me for a mucho engaging
fear ride! Mick Garrisâ€™s novel approach to the material was the skeleton-key in
terms of this flick being such a freaking hoot! I couldnâ€™t get enough of the
manner in which he explored his lead character's personal history and though pattern! We grippingly jumped from the present, to the past to the future while being assaulted by hefty servings of genre spices
throughout. The latter device cleverly acted as physical manifestations of the leadâ€™s
inner monologues and made way for all kinds of fun horrific stuff to go down! Iâ€™m talking, a straight shooting doppelganger, psychotic truckers, tortured ghosts,
the Grim Reaper, a nutty â€śSometime They Come Backâ€ť reject (played by David Arquette) Cujoâ€™s younger brother, Christineâ€™s Plymouth sister,
trippy hallucinations galore and more! This party mix bowl was filled to he brim
no doubt and thankfully the bitter goodies were "Garrissed" my way with a zippy
pace and at times potent tension glued to them.
Furthermore, I must commend Garris for changing the time frame of the story. Where
King's E-Book set its shenanigans in the present, the film slapped them in the 60â€™s, a definitely more colorful and purposed era. The old school time
period resulted in a compelling aura sticking to the shady circumstances, countless slick 60 ditties booming out and actually
added credibility to the act of hitchhiking. I mean who hitches a ride today unless they want their severed
testicules resting on the back seat next to a plastic "Dunkin Donuts" cup? In the 60â€™sâ€¦hitchhiking was all good. Stack on top of all that loving, effectively tight editing
a bang-on show by star Jonathan Jackson, groovy nods to King's past work, polished visuals, delicious dread filled ambiance (those
night time, desolate road scenes, were striking to say the least) and an overall wicked sense of humor and you get a macabre joyride worthy of Route 666,
the highway of the beast!
On the â€śsugar in the engineâ€ť side of the carburator, although I respected the â€śhere it is, take it or leave itâ€ť attitude, I wouldâ€™ve appreciated a â€śclearerâ€ť and firmer rationalization as to the â€śwhyâ€ť behind the
constant madness. Then there were the main emotional themes at hand which were
occasionally drowned out by all the razzle-dazzle. The flick had something deep and poignant to say
and I wanted to hear it louder. Lastly; the affair did lose a bit of its zest
during the last block with the â€śtrip outâ€ť card starting to wear thin. But all in all, this bullet wound up being an earnest buck and half of high rolling,
genre amusement. It aimed at my head, pulled the trigger and hit the bullâ€™s-eye. Thank you for putting me out of my misery! Get itâ€¦"Misery"â€¦HEY-HO!
This uncut version had its gooey moments, I'm yapping; a slit wrist, a revealed bloodied brain, a chewed off throat a self inflicted gun shot wound and more! Props to Howard Berger, Greg Nicotero and company for their fine work!
After seeing Jonathan Jackson (Alan) in Skeleton in the Closet, I was convinced that he was the most underrated young actor of our time. He carried the flick like a champ here too! The man oozes of talent and charisma. By rule of Index, Iâ€™m not a huge David Arquette (George) fan but apart from a couple of â€śon the brink of over actingâ€ť moments, he worked here. Barbara Hershey (Jean) brought some meat to what was an â€śon paperâ€ť fairly slim role. Erika Christensen (Jessica) did good as the â€śgirlfriendâ€ť.
T & A
We get a very impressive pair of knockers early on. Nice action! Thanks Mick! Nudity in the name of foreign sales is my best friend, along with that talking cat that lives in my closet.
Mick went all out on this one; putting out a hypnotic morbid mood, managing to generate potent suspense while giving the whole a good dose of gloss & adrenaline via effective uses of flash/quick cuts. Baby looked good!
Since the flick was set in the 60's, we were blessed with gnarly ditties from that era with "Time Has Come Today" being my favorite of the lot.
Riding the Bullet was parallel to tripping out in a "house of horrors". It started out fast and furious, mostly kept to that swell energy throughout while bombarding me with a slew of chilling images and scenarios. Sure it got a tiny bit redundant down the road, the themes somewhat got over-shadowed by all the â€śhooaâ€ť and more weight behind the lunacy wouldâ€™ve been slickâ€¦ but all in all this bullet hit home. In the mood for a trouble-free dose of genre joo-joo? See this highly entertaining, inventive, Stephen King vibe heavy and effortless watch and call it a buck and a half well spent.
The flick was shot in Vancouver, BC, Canada.
The car in King's short story was a Mustang; the car in the film was a 1960 Plymouth.
Mick's lovely wife Cynthia Garris has a small role as a nurse in the film.
The role of the art teacher was supposed to be Stephen Kingâ€™s cameo in the film. He had to pass where he was sick when the shoot took place. Director George Romero was to be his replacement but scheduling conflicts nipped that in the bud. So Matt Frewer got the role.
MY MORE RECENT MICK G INTERVIEW
MY OLD JONATHAN JACKSON INTERVIEW
OFFICIAL "RTB" SITE HERE