(director/writer: Zach Gayne; cinematographer: Zach Gayne; editor: Zach Gayne; music: David Hayman; cast: Zach Gayne (Freddy Parks), Alex Essoe (Grace Genet), Jasmin Kaset (Jaz), Makenzie Green (Kenz), Jeremy O. Harris (Simon), D.C. Paul (Just Melvin), Ayaka Kinugawa (Tomiko), Robbie Bruens (Frank), Rachel Cederberg (Rachel), Joel Cederberg (Joel), Michael Wieck (The Man From Michigan), Victor Reynoso (Coyote); Runtime: 109; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Zach Gayne; APL Film; 2019)

“If you can get through this scattered amateur film, you must be smoking good weed.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

A meandering low-budget documentary-like experimental film (more like a home movie or student project) about a group of unpleasant diverse young adult drifters aimlessly traveling across America’s Southwest. The Toronto-born Zach Gayne (“Homewrecker”) is a one-man do it all filmmaker as writer, director, producer, actor, editor and cinematographer. The dreary characters on the journey have apparently written their own parts, which in most cases is probably not a great idea and that proves so again here. If you can get through this scattered film, you must be smoking good weed.

In the opening story the obnoxious, disheveled Michael Wieck wakes up abandoned in a border town in Mexico with no money or passport, and talks his way into getting a ride across the border to Texas from one of the local coyotes (Victor Reynoso) expecting payment when the gringo meets a friend across the border. Michael aims to make it back to his hometown in Michigan. When he fails to pay the coyote, he gets a beating and then continues going home by hitching and by bus.

The sensitive Frank (Robbie Bruens), a wannabe screenwriter, is a Uber driver who picks up in L.A. the aggressive, self-absorbed rider, Grace (Alex Essoe), outside a strip club. She claims to be an actress researching a role as a stripper and the naive Frank winds up taking her to Las Vegas hoping she’s attracted to him.

The third story is almost bearable. It’s about a loving black 27-year-old queer named Simon ( Jeremy O. Harris), who claims he can accept all beliefs. The wannabe poet from San Francisco, a believer in expressing himself through art, is on a journey researching how to be a poet. Hitchhiking to Salt Lake city for an important poetry bash, he gets a  ride from two flirty spiritual singing white girls (Jasmin Kaset & Makenzie Green) who try unsuccessfully getting him to join their Jesus cult and in fucking them. They mess with his head and his rigid innocence, eventually taking him on an unwanted acid trip where he goes bonkers.

The rest of the stories are weak. They include one about the vain Rachel (Rachel Cederberg) and her giant dog hitching a ride to Roswell, N. M. in search of aliens. She gets a ride there from the inquisitive Joel (Joel Cederberg). In the Just Melvin (D.C. Paul) episode we get to see him in his new town of New Orleans, as he gets stoned to do a night-club comedy routine that bombs.

All the stories inter-cut, and are pointless, upsetting and undeveloped. 

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REVIEWED ON 8/2/2019       GRADE: C